Saanane National Park

Saanane National Park is one of two Tanzanian National Parks located on an island in Lake Victoria (the other being Saanane Island National Park). The island attracts a small number of visitors each year. Rubondo Island is located in the south-western corner of Lake Victoria, Tanzania about 150 km (93 mi) west of Mwanza. The main island, Rubondo is 237 km2 in size. The island protects another 11 islets, none much larger than 2 km2. The highest point on Rubondo Island is the Masa Hills in the far south, at an elevation of 1,486m (350m above the level of the lake). The main island measures 28 km from north to south and is 3–10 km wide. Rubondo Island is located on a rift inside Lake Victoria. Rubondo essentially consists of a partially submerged rift of four volcanically formed hills, linked by three flatter isthmuses. The island has no rivers and the soil is volcanic.

In 2012-2014 a research group from University College London undertook a study of the Rubondo chimpanzees. Since 2015 Tanzania national park managers have been running a habituation project. The process of transporting the chimpanzee to the island is covered in a wonderful book by professor Grzimek. The habituation process, which is overseen by TANAPA park managers, is proving to be successful. Guests are more frequently having the opportunity to spend time with the chimpanzees while staying at the island’s accommodation. Common native fauna include the monkeys, sitatunga, hippopotamus, genet and bushbuck.

How to arrive Saanane National Park

Rubondo Island can be reached by park boat from two different locations. One option is the boat from Kasenda, a small village near Muganza in Chato District. The other option is the boat from Nkome in Geita District. By airplane, Rubondo Airstrip can be reached with Auric Air or Coastal Aviation.

Best time to visit Saanane Island:
June-August: Boat & Trekking Safaris
December-February: Bird Watching

Tanzania Horizon Safaris – Saanane National Park