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Birding on Rubondo Island National Park, Tanzania


Lying in the southwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the whole of Rubondo Island is given over to conservation. It is Africa’s largest island national park (26 kilometres long and varying from 3 to 10 kilometres wide). Over three-quarters of its 25 000 hectares are blanketed in untouched equatorial forest – an unusual protected habitat for Africa’s wildlife.


It’s a rare privilege to set foot on Rubondo. Bar a handful of park wardens, wildlife researchers and camp staff, the island is uninhabited by humans and has been set aside as a refuge for threatened chimpanzees, families of elephant and the shy sitatunga antelope. The surrounding waters of Lake Victoria are a crucial breeding ground for tilapia and the enormous Nile perch. This unique corner of Africa is a sanctuary to be enjoyed by only a handful of fortunate – and intrepid – travellers.


The camp – the only lodgings on this verdant island – immerses you in this lush and unspoilt ecosystem. From its lakefront location to the eco-friendly design of the eight fabulous cottages, the camp offers unrivalled access to this one-of-a-kind destination, where elephant roams wild, colourful birds and butterflies flit through the pristine indigenous rainforest and the waters teem with hippo, crocodile and the iconic Nile perch.


Birding Itinerary


East Africa’s birdlife is quite simply stunning and very plentiful. This itinerary will take you through vibrant swamps and mighty rivers to discover the water birds before moving to the higher altitude of the Upper Rift Valley and then to the rolling grasslands of the Serengeti. Explore the lakeshore of Rubondo Island, an ornithologist’s dream, before ending in Ruaha to view both northern and southern species in the same area.

Itinerary offers:



  • View the pelicans and pink-hued flamingo of Lake Manyara

  • From November to March spot the rare Eleonora’s falcon in Ruaha

  • Tick off both water and forest dwelling species at Rubondo Island


Days 1 & 2: Rivertrees Country Inn, Arusha

Once an old coffee estate, Rivertrees is now a charming country inn nestled in abundant foliage with the Usa River flowing by. Set in the foothills of Mt Meru, conveniently close to Kilimanjaro International Airport and a short drive to Arusha, its location proffers a wealth of natural wonders to explore. 

Activities: Game drives; Canoeing; Mountain biking; Cultural & community visits.












Days 3 & 4: Oliver’s Camp, Tarangire National Park

Discover Tarangire, a park with over 500 recorded species of birdlife. With varied habitats ranging from vibrant swamps to rolling grasslands and acacia woodlands there is a bird diversity to match, and ashy starlings and yellow-collared lovebirds, endemic to Tanzania, can both be found here.

Activities: Game drives; walking safaris; Fly camping


Day 5: Serena Manyara, Lake Manyara National Park

Stop off at Lake Manyara, a water-birdlover’s paradise that’s home to herons, egrets, storks and spoonbills. And of course the elegant pink flamingo that congregate around the shores of the shallow, alkaline lake of the same name, alongside huge populations of pelicans.

Activities: Game drives; Boating; Cultural & community visits


Day 6: Plantation Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

With easy access to the world-famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Plantation Lodge is a wonderful base from which to discover the birds of the Upper Rift Valley. The tropical gardens around the lodge also attract colourful birds and butterflies for some viewing closer to home.

Activities: Game drives; Cultural & community visits


Days 7 – 8: Dunia Camp, Central Serengeti

Explore the heart of the Serengeti from Dunia, a tranquil tented camp with expansive views of the pristine wilderness. With a varied habitat of grasslands dotted with acacia groves and the vast granite protrusions, the Moru Kopjes, the resident birdlife is superb and sightings spectacular.

Activities: Game drives; Balloon safaris; The Great Migration (May/June and November/December)


Days 9 – 11: Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island, Lake Victoria

Explore Africa’s largest island National Park, Rubondo, and the phenomenal birdlife hiding in the equatorial forest and lakeshore papyrus. Over 400 endemic and migratory species have been recorded on its shores, and darters, cormorants, egrets and pied kingfisher are common.

Activities: Game drives; Forest walks & hikes; Canoeing & boating; Fishing


Day 12: Onsea House, Arusha

Just outside Arusha on the drive from Kilimanjaro Airport is Onsea House. Owner-managed and run, the house has an intimate and friendly feel. Add to this the superb staff and a reputation for culinary excellence and Onsea House is a wonderful place to spend your first night in Tanzania.


Days 13 – 14: Kwihala Camp, Ruaha National Park

The last stop is the iconic Ruaha, a park with 580 species of recorded birds and an interesting mix of northern and southern species. Of note are the substantial populations of black-collared lovebirds and ashy starlings as well as a number of water birds on the banks of the great Ruaha River.

Activities: Game drives; walking safaris


Cost: From US$ 11 042.00per person sharing


Please click here to contact one of our consultants to assist you

with a comprehensive itinerary including flights and transfers

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