RUBONDO NATIONAL PARK

Rubondo Island National park is Tanzania’s only park on Lake Victoria. The island attracts a small number of visitors each year, mainly game fishermen and bird enthusiasts. Rubondo Island is located in the south-western corner of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. Rubondo Island is about 150 km (93 mi) west of Mwanza. The main island, Rubondo (2o 18’ S, 31o 50’ E) is 237 km2 in size. The island protects another 11 islets, none much larger than 2 km2.These 10 islands form the Rubondo Island National Park covering an area of 456.8 km2 (176.4 sq mi). Lake Victoria is 1,134 metres above sea level. The highest point on Rubondo 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 on a rift in the lake. 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.The habitat is mixed evergreen and semideciduous forest, which covers about 80% of the island’s surface area with common species including Croton sylvaticus, Drypetes gerrardii, and Lecaniodiscus fraxinifolius, and often with a dense understory of lianas, or woody vines. The forest is interspersed with patches of open grassland and, all but restricted to the Lukaya area, acacia woodland. The eastern lakeshore is characterised by rocky areas and sandy beaches whilst the western shore supports extensive papyrus swamps, lined with date palms.

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