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Tucked in the southwestern corner of Lake Victoria lies a secluded destination for intrepid travelers, Rubondo Island. This remote island is a refuge for families of chimpanzees that are slowly becoming habituated to human presence. Surrounded by the waters of Lake Victoria, this secluded island is an important ecosystem for over 300 bird species, herds of elephants and giraffes, and pods of hippos.

A great alternative for travelers looking for a unique getaway, the island is easily accessible from the Serengeti. Rubondo Island has something for everyone. You can actively explore its forests and waters or enjoy rest and relaxation on this peaceful island.


Lake Victoria experiences two rainy seasons. The heavy rainy season lasts from March to May, and the mild rainy season lasts from November to December. The island’s mild climate remains comfortably warm throughout the year. The November rains occur at the end of a prolonged dry season and bring intermittent mild showers and clear skies. The short dry season from January to February is marked by good weather with a slight chance of showers. This precedes the long rains from March to May. This island closes from April to May, during the heavy rains. From June to September the region moves into the dry winter season with slightly cooler temperatures.

HIGH (F°) 84° 84° 86° 84° 84° 86° 86° 86° 86° 86° 84° 84°
LOW (F°) 66° 66° 66° 66° 66° 62° 60° 62° 64° 66° 66° 66°
RAINFALL (mm) 93 111 135 173 80 13 11 19 28 78 162 145

Rubondo Island begs its visitors to stop and enjoy nature’s little details. Night brings about a chorus of frog calls, wild orchids bloom from November to May, and tall papyrus plants reveal the island’s secretive water-adapted antelopes, sitatunga. Wildlife drives through this protected national park offer sightings of genets, otters, elephants, and hippos. This island is known for its population of chimpanzees, and educational walks take you through their habitat. Looking up into the tree canopy brings sightings of black-and-white colubus monkeys and African grey parrots.

  • Set out on foot and explore the habitat of wild chimpanzees. Follow in their footsteps and learn about their daily routines and group dynamics. Sightings cannot be guaranteed, but spending time learning about this endangered species in their own habitat is an enriching experience.

  • Go on a catch-and-release fishing expedition! Rubondo Island offers the opportunity to try to catch one of Africa’s largest fresh water species, the Nile perch, which can weigh up to 220 pounds!

  • From December to February enjoy Lake Victoria’s prime birding season in Rubondo Island National Park. Capture photos and learn about the island’s 300 endemic and migratory bird species.

  • Take a guided canoe trip around Rubondo Island and take in the peace and tranquility of the lake waters.