Stretching across part of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island, and 11 small islets, Rubondo Island National Park is the largest island national park in Africa. Subtropical forest covers 80 percent of Rubondo Island, and papyrus swamps, savanna, sandy beaches, and open woodland can also be found here. This diverse geography makes an ideal habitat for a wide range of creatures—and apart from the lodge staff and guests, wildlife remain the only residents here.
Virtually untouched for centuries, Rubondo Island is a thriving wilderness that harbors a variety of endemic species such as the sitatunga (a swamp-dwelling antelope), as well as bushbucks, vervet monkeys, genets, spotted-necked otters, hippos, and crocodiles. They share the island with a number of species that were introduced here decades ago: elephants, giraffes, African gray parrots, black-and-white colobus monkeys, suni, and chimpanzees.
If you are not a birder upon arrival here, odds are you will be one once you leave. Rubondo hosts more than 200 endemic and migratory bird species, including African fish eagles and a variety of water birds. Within the lush forest orchids bloom from November to March, drawing a colorful array of butterflies, and frogs of all kinds create a wild symphony at dusk and dawn.
The protected waters around the island are breeding grounds for tilapia and, most notably, the robust Nile perch, one of the largest freshwater fish species, which can grow up to six feet and weigh several hundred pounds.
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