Rubondo Island National Park
Dip your toes into the cool waters of Africa's largest lake, while visiting the lush shores of Rubondo Island National Park. The park, on the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, is comprised of the larger, Rubondo Island and an additional 11 small islets. The park's varied terrain and vegetation are home to a diverse collection of species, both native to the area, and naturalized through various preservation projects. Boating, fishing, swimming, bird watching and trekking are just some of the activities waiting for visitors to this magical aquatic destination.
Covering roughly half the park, Rubondo Island is a densely forested mix of evergreen and semi-deciduous trees. It has two distinct shorelines: the east shore, a mix of rocks and sandy beaches, and the west shore, with its papyrus swamps and date palms.
Named after Queen Victoria by British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858, Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the source of the great Nile River.
Between 1966 and 1969, 17 chimpanzees that had formerly lived in the captivity of European zoos were released onto Rubondo Island. Despite having no pre-release training in life in the wild, the chimpanzee population on the island has since grown to an estimated 40, and the primates have naturalized to the lifestyle of wild chimpanzees.
Giraffes, African grey parrots, elephants, and black and white colobus monkeys were also introduced into the park. Crocodiles and hippopotami make the lake and swampy areas home. The park is also known for its birds, both migratory and native, including the African fish eagles.
- established as a game reserve in 1965 and a national park in 1977
- size: The park is 456 sq km (176 sq mi).
Rubondo Island itself is 237 sq km (97 sq mi).
- location: On the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, in western Tanzania, 150km (93 mi) west of Mwanza City.
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