Rubondo Island Camp is owned and operated by Asilia Africa. Committed to providing the finest wilderness experiences on the continent, Asilia runs 21 superb properties across Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. This camp has been named one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World! The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, all activities, fishing permits, transfers between the camp and the local airstrip, and a laundry service. The camp is closed from 1st April to 31st May every year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The camp can be accessed via flight from Arusha or the Serengeti to Rubondo Island, followed by brief road transfer. It’s situated approximately 60 metres from the shores of Lake Victoria and surrounded by tall fig trees.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Guest accommodation consists of eight cottages, including a family room and a suite for honeymooners. Constructed by hand using local materials, all cottages merge effortlessly with the lakeside woodlands. Each has a spacious veranda, where you can relax and enjoy beautiful lake views! Gauze doors lead into the main bedroom area. Here you’ll find a double bed or twin beds, bedside tables and lighting, a writing desk and chair, and a small seating area. The en-suite washroom is accessed through a timber door behind the bed, and it contains a flush toilet, twin washbasins within a vanity unit, a walk-in shower, and plenty of storage space. The family cottage has an additional bedroom, and the honeymoon suite benefits from a double outdoor shower.
The communal lodge at Rubondo Island Camp is also made out of local materials. Almost entirely open sided, with just mosquito netting between travellers and the open air, it’s a pleasant place for resting between activities and enjoying some delicious meals. The lounge features plenty of comfortable seating around coffee tables, as well as floor lamps, rugs, and a few books and games. The camp’s bar is set up in a corner, positioned to ensure amazing views! In the dining area, smart timber tables are flanked by well-cushioned wooden chairs. Throughout the lodge there are a lot of plants, contributing to the al fresco feeling. There’s a deck too, which is perfect for outdoor dining. The chef specialises in home-style cooking, rustling up all sorts of breads, biscuits, cakes, and sorbets. Lunch is provided buffet style, and dinners are served on the shores of the lake – usually after drinks around a convivial campfire! There’s also a swimming pool, with a few deckchairs alongside.
The camp offers an exciting variety of activities! Presently (June 2018), travellers are invited to join Rubondo Island’s chimpanzee habituation team as they slowly introduce the chimps to humans and observe them in their natural habitat. If you are interested in this experience, please get in touch with a member of the YZ team. There’s a minimum age requirement of 15 years, and your overall fitness level must be pretty good as sometimes there’s a lot of walking involved! The island covers 250 square kilometres, so chimp encounters cannot be guaranteed. However, the verdant equatorial forest is home to a number of other species, such as elephant, bushbuck, sitatunga, spot-necked otter, Nile crocodile, an astonishing assortment of butterflies, and over 300 types of bird.
You can choose whether to head out for a one-hour stroll or a full-day or even multi-day hike – the latter two options include staying in the camp’s well-equipped treehouse or setting up a fly camp on the beach. Forest drives are also available, while boat trips offer opportunities to see a lot of aquatic life! Catch-and-release fishing is possible from a boat, or from the lakeshore, or from camp, and you might just encounter the enormous Nile perch. Birding is fantastic, particularly from December to March when migratory species visit the island. And among activities especially for children are identifying animal tracks, learning about bush skills and local cultures, and enjoying nature walks in the company of friendly and knowledgeable guides.