Recently taken over by the upmarket Asilia group, Rubondo Island Camp, which is the only upmarket place to stay on Rubondo island, sits in a pretty forested bay and offers eight high class, half-brick, half-canvas cottages of pastel tones and quality furnishings. Everything about a stay here is deliciously relaxed. There’s no hurry to get up in the mornings, meals are long and leisurely, there’s ample time to snooze under a tree and easy conversation with the managers and staff.
Food is a big part of a stay here. Many safari lodges let themselves down by endlessly serving stodgy, old-fashioned English-style meat and two veg, but here the emphasis is more on lighter, flavoursome and healthier Mediterranean food.
Carpeted in a mix of tropical forest and open grasslands and fringed by swamps, Rubondo island, which sits in Tanzanian waters in the remote southwest of Lake Victoria, is all about fascinating guided forest walks in search of the island’s ever-elusive chimpanzee populations (habituation is undergoing), peering through binoculars at the 300-odd resident and migratory bird species, paddling kayaks in and out of jungle-fringed bays, and casting a line for some of the lakes famously large Nile perch.
Standing in total contrast to the lodges and safari experiences of the not so distant Serengeti, Rubondo Island is an ideal add-on (charter flights are available to the island or you can come overland) to a more classic safari through Tanzania’s famous northern parks. And if you’re holidaying with children, the freedom your little ones will have to run around here without too much fear of what might be lurking behind the bushes might just make Rubondo Island the highlight of their safari.