Rubondo Island might just be the most unique destination in Africa for those seeking exceptional adventure experiences in the wilderness. This 25 000 hectare paradise in the south-western corner of the expansive Lake Victoria is the largest island national park on the continent and is all but untouched by man. Elephants roam wild, families of chimpanzees cascade through the boughs of pristine indigenous forest, and the waters teem with the iconic Nile Perch. If you’re a seasoned adventure traveller or safari goer who has seen it all, just wait until you lay eyes on Rubondo Island Camp with its unrivalled access to this one-of-a-kind destination. This small and exclusive camp offers forest walks, game-watching, birding excursions, canoe trips, trekking through wild chimpanzee territory, catch-and-release fishing and a host of other eco-sensitive activities. This property was named one of National Geographic’s Most Unique Lodges in the World.
This small and exclusive camp of just eight luxury cottages – all built by hand, using traditional skills and local materials to ensure a light footprint on the island’s delicate eco-system – offers unrivalled access to this one-of-a-kind destination, with forest walks, game-watching, birding excursions, canoe trips, trekking through wild chimpanzee territory, catch-and-release fishing and a host of other eco-sensitive activities. The luxury cottages are powered by generator, and are spaced 10 to 20 metres apart to ensure tranquil seclusion for each guest. Moonlight plays on the waters of the Lake as you drift off to sleep. Get some rest; the eagles will be rousing you soon enough.
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As birds sing their roosting lullabies, guests gather in the stylish dining area for a taste of Africa and to swop tales from the day. With Henk, the camp’s manager and professional sports fisher by your side, you also have the option to go fishing on Lake Victoria; the fish you catch can be deliciously prepared to perfection by the camp’s chef.
Daily boat excursions and game drives in open vehicles are conducted by Asilia’s expert wilderness guides.
Explore the habitat of Rubondo’s wild chimpanzees on foot and learn about these remarkable primates. Although the island’s chimps are slowly habituating to humans, sightings unfortunately cannot be guaranteed. As these are wild chimps the emphasis of this experience is more on learning about chimps and the habituation process. The camp does have a small chimp research library that contains photos of the chimps and details of the habituation process. Members of the research team are often in camp and are likely to join guests for drinks or dinner.
Rubondo Island National Park is a twitchers paradise with over 300 endemic and migratory species. December to February is best for spotting migratory birds. This fully protected Island National Park provides exceptional habitat variety ensuring there is always something new to experience or record; open grasslands on rocky ridges, giant old forest tree stands, dense woodland thickets, expanses of lakeshore papyrus and small breeding islands all help with the species count. Add in that large-lake evening light, the aqua acoustics and the drama of the skies and you have a sensuous recipe for any nature lover or photographer.
Guided walks through the forest are tailored to each guest, and can stretch from an hour to half a day.
Rubondo Island offers some of the best fishing in East Africa and is renowned worldwide amongst anglers who travel here for the opportunity to hook into one of Africa’s biggest and most sought after fresh water species – the Nile Perch, which can weight in excess of 100kg’s. Tilapia are an entertaining target for recreational fishermen Catch-and-release fishing from Rubondo Island Camp can be done off the beach and rocks, or by boat. The camp has two fishing boats which can be shared or privately hired.
Guided canoe trips (self-paddle or assisted) allow you to explore quiet corners of the island and soak up the tranquillity of Rubondo.
Experience the traditional dhows of East Africa. Go for an early morning sail to adjacent islands or to a remote beach picnic spot. Sundowner cruises are also available.
After a day of adventure, take some time to relax by the outdoor swimming pool overlooking Lake Victoria.