Reviews of Rubondo Island Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
6 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Rubondo Island Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
The accommodation and personalised attention made this a very special place. Enjoyed the fire by the beach and of course excellent food.
The highlight was the trip to see the chimps. Unfortunately I only saw one but heard their chattering. But it was the wonderful Rangers who went out of their way to try and locate the chimps for me. I enjoyed the picnic lunch and the chat with you all that lasted about 2 hours in the bush. And for ensuring I came out in one piece!! ( being in my 70's)" See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania; 1n in Kenya
"An Island Paradise"
Our host, Daniel, made sure we had a special stay. He surprised us several times with unexpected sundowners and meals at secluded parts of the island. Staff was very friendly and helpful, and meals were excellent. No one makes a campfire like Daniel!
We spent some time tracking chimpanzees in the dense forest, and after some effort, were rewarded with good sightings, although the chimps were elusive. Sightings of the hard to find elsewhere sitatunga were common. A boat safari was especially nice and we saw numerous birds and crocodiles on the shore and small islands around Rubondo.
For those who enjoy fishing, trolling for large Nile perch was available, and we caught several in just a couple of hours.
Rubondo Island Camp is a great place to wrap up a safari trip. Very relaxing and laid back. Very quiet and private" See all these reviews: 18n in Tanzania
Rooms here are spacious and simply furnished. You have everything you need but it is a little minimalist. Jane was not convinced about storing clothes in the bathroom. Beds are comfy, showers hot and towels fluffy. The tin roofs are now thatch so no need to worry about rain noise! There is also a new tree-house where guests can spend a night. This looked lovely but would have been a bit risky as the rains were starting.
The main area is lovely, with plenty of space and comfy chairs to sit in. Loved the light shades made from old wine bottles. Lucas and Ester provided bar and waiting services and were excellent. Afternoon drinks appeared at the pool as if by magic!
Your guide shares dinner with you on your first evening and we found Habibu very good company. The next night we were served drinks on the beach and then dinner by the pool. The food at all meals was excellent (particularly the Nile perch which Martin had caught on our morning boat trip!!). We were surprised and impressed when, having discovered neither of us likes nuts after they were offered as canapes, alternative nibbles appeared a few minutes later.
The birding here is excellent and we saw lots both on the water and on an afternoon drive/walk. At this time of year forest walks were not being stressed but it is clear both the chimps and elephants can be very hard to see. Contrary to what we had read there are still giraffe on the island but it is a full day trip to get to the area where they live. We concentrated our activities on boat trips, where, as well as catching the aforementioned fish (at 15kg, bigger than the one caught by Robson Green on his TV programme) we saw lots of birds, crocs and even a few hippos.
The rains were just starting and the staff were, justifiably, wary of the weather; our first trip was delayed until a storm had passed and on our second day (post fish!) we got caught in a storm which blew up out of nowhere. The trip back to camp was rough and somewhat scary but our skipper knew exactly what he was doing and we arrived back safely, though very wet! Cue hot showers all round! It’s a good thing neither of us suffers from seasickness!" See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania; 1n in Kenya
"Rubondo Island - a camp with a difference."
The owners (Asilia) have obviously made a major investment here. The cabins and public areas are all new and excellent, and the location on a small sandy bay facing the sunrise is also great.
However, this is not a safari camp. There is wildlife on the island, but you are most likely to see bushbuck and sitatunga, and some birds. There is also walking, and some good fun fishing to be had for Nile perch. The history of the Park is unusual - Google it to find out more.
We think it made a good final stop for the holiday, for two or maybe three days. Given a choice between Rubondo and Zanzibar I would choose Rubondo every time." See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
"Unique Rubondo Island"
Every aspect of our stay was wonderful, despite a couple of days being rain-affected. We felt exceptionally well looked after, and the food and service were marvellous. The level of personalised care was really special, responding to our interests and wishes with real attention to detail.
Asilia seems to present Rubondo as an experience best suited to the end of an extended trip, an alternative to a couple of days on a Zanzibar beach to recover from a relentless safari timetable. I question whether this does Rubondo justice. For example, on one of our walks we had a vivid forest elephant encounter, spending an hour in close proximity to a single male, unable to see him but tracking him, hearing his growling and crashing, finding increasingly fresh dung, and all the while being very quiet and very careful not to come upon him suddenly. When we eventually saw him in a clearing from a platform, just for a couple of minutes, it felt a real achievement. If this had been after seeing lots of elephants in the Serengeti, it might have felt less special - as it was, it was the supreme elephant experience of our trip. We chose to start our holiday with Rubondo, and we feel strongly that it was the right decision, partly because we arrived in Tanzania from a very stressful week, and were pleased to start with a more unwinding kind of holiday, and partly because Rubondo wildlife is a subtler and less full-on experience than the Serengeti, and could unfairly feel second-best in second place.
I knew in advance that I personally would enjoy Rubondo because of being interested in its exceptional birdlife, but my love of our time there was very definitely shared by my less bird-enthusiastic family. We all felt strongly that we had a uniquely enriching experience in which we were allowed to get a feeling for a fascinating wildlife stronghold in an unusually close, unintrusive and profound way. Rubondo will stay with us for a very long time." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
In terms of the activities and facilities, it's a bit difficult to comment because we went before the camp was officially open and it wasn't completely finished (we did know this beforehand), so the swimming pool and reception area were still incomplete. However, the lounge and bar/dining area had stunning views across Lake Victoria and were extremely relaxing, the food was superb and the rooms well-equipped and beautifully located.
Some of the roads were also inaccessible (meaning we couldn't get to the area where the giraffes frequent) but were being repaired in time for the opening in June. Our grades therefore relate to the activities and facilities which were up and running at the time of our stay." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
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