Tag Archives: Rubondo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinnertime (for the Birds)

A submission to this weeks photo challenge Dinnertime. With a little artistic license as these photos were taken at Breakfast – but the African Pied Kingfisher certainly enjoyed his fish ‘dinner’.

Taken at Mwanza Docks –  on route to Rubondo Island February 2015.

A second Dinnertime a few months later at Wag Hill Lodge near Mwanza – this time a Swap Fly Catcher eating a Dragonfly for ‘dinner’.



Rubondo Retrospective: Game Drive/Long Drive

Another early start for our third and last day on Rubondo as we embarked on a morning game drive. A chance first to catch the sunrise.

We had arranged for two vehicles to drive us around the island. We were in search of the exotic (Chimps, Elephant, Giraffe) all resident on the island.

Our first encounters were fleeting glimpses of waterbuck, roadside monkeys, the odd bird and loads of butterflies (elusive to photo as ever!). Then we came across a hippo grazing on land, not the first hippo we had seen but the closes we had been to one on dry land. Here it was, surrounded by swooping swallows, quite unperturbed by our presence.


Leaving the hippo we headed along overgrown roads in search of elephants, we got close and could hear them trumpeting close by, but never saw them, sadly.


We stopped by the coast and photographed the bird life before heading off in search of giraffe, all we saw was more bushbuck. At a small settlement we stopped once more and observed some tame bushbuck and marabou storks. The giraffes were up in the hills and were not going to be coming down.

As we approached the end of our drive we had seen hippos, monkeys, waterbuck, butterflies and birds but little else not even a Sitatunga. So a final diversion via the airport to glimpse the elusive antelope then home.

On arrival it was time to pack up and head out. We had had an enjoyable time on the island.

The boat trip was only an hour coming back and then we were on the road, passing pineapple plantations and bikes loaded with the fruits. On route we learned that the Busisi Ferry was now running, allowing us to drive tarmac from Geita to Mwanza. This shortened our journey time considerably. At the ferry port we passengers disembarked and our drivers waited with the cars. The way things work is that buses and lorries take priority over cars, such that our driver ( a colleague) had to wait back and catch the next ferry. Luckily the wait was not too long and we were soon back on the road to Mwanza, the end of a great three days away.

Six Months in Tanzania

Six months have come and in our new Tanzanian home. We landed in Mwanza on 22nd August and so our first full day here was the 23rd. Half a year on I share some of the pictures which have been part of our time here. For those on Facebook I have shared something similar but some different pics here.


Getting our bearings and making new friends.

September – Start of term, Nature, Malaika Beach

October – Travelling beyond Mwanza (Camping and Serengeti)

November – Birthdays, Fairs, Wag Hill and The Rains

December – Zanzibar and Christmas

January – More birthdays

February- Rubondo

Rubondo: Bird Island

In addition to the Hippos and Crocodiles there is a wealth of birdlife on Rubondo.  Here are some of the ones we saw and were able to photograph.

We had hoped to do a boat safari which sadly was cancelled due to the swell, otherwise we might have seen more.

Rubondo: Crocodile Island

Having just returned from Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria the second of a couple of short posts. A longer written account will follow in the coming days.

The waters of Rubondo are home to crocodiles as well as hippos. On our second day we saw some enormous crocs on our Walking Safari.Rubondo 20 Feb (179) Rubondo 20 Feb (194)-1

Then in the evening after our meal we spotted a croc in the lake it’s two eyes reflecting back the torch light. It drew closer as we watched and by means of a fish head left over from a meal we encouraged it ashore. We managed to get some great shots of the enormous reptile which just sat there for over half an hour.Rubondo 20 Feb (336)-38

Rubondo 20 Feb (348)-45

Rubondo: Hippo Island

Having just returned from Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria the first of a couple of short posts. A longer written account will follow in the coming days.

Our location on Rubondo was the Lakeside Bandas from which we could here and see Hippos out in the waters. As dusk approached they ventured nearer and nearer the shoreline and after dark came on land to graze.

Rubondo 19 Feb (315)-10 We were lucky enough to see them with the aid of torchlight.
Rubondo 19 Feb (331)-1

Our second day’s walking safari gave us a second glimpse of this amazing beast and a nearby waterbuck.

Rubondo 20 Feb (205)

Today’s game drive allowed us one last viewing of the beast.

Rubondo 21 Feb (76)Rubondo really is a Hippo Island.


Hippo and Crocs on Rubondo

No real signal here so text only. Fabulous to see Hippos just off shore at Rubondo and to see them come to shore after dark to feed on the grass just outside our Bandas and then last night an enormous Croc on the beach.

Cutting Off Their Nose To Spite Their Face

Tomorrow we go to Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria – we’ve been looking forward to it for some time. Together with some fellow expats we have booked two nights, we hope to do a walking safari and a boat trip among other things. The literature quotes rates for East Africans, non-East Africans and Expatriates. We fall into the latter category which should mean prices are half those of non-East Africans (US and Europe etc).
Imagine our surprise, when it became clear that the expatriate rate no longer applies, other than for Park Entry. We had assumed that there had been a mistake in correspondence, since printed leaflets quote the old prices. Then a phone call revealed the truth. Suddenly the cost has virtually doubled. This as you can imagine is not good. The reason is apparently a Government directive.


We will still go and hope to make the best of our time – it is apparently a lovely place and we are still looking forward to it. We will try to do all the things we want to, but we may have to curtail some planned activities.

In a time when tourism is on the decline here – due to unwarranted fears over Ebola and Terrorism, the expatriate community can provide much needed income. However, we are not made of money.

As far as I can see it the authorities here are potentially pricing themselves out of the range of locally paid expats like ourselves. We who are paid in TzS are not going to be able to afford to do such things with any regularity at these prices. Short term gain will quickly turn to disaster.

Sometimes it feels like, that for some people, Wazungu (white people) are not really wanted here, certainly the Government wants to get as much money as possible from us. Yet on our modest incomes (which are well above the pay of local Tanzanians) we already contribute to the local economy, whether directly or indirectly, through our purchasing power. I have said before, I don’t mind paying more (I earn more and that’s fair), but there is a limit. Pricing us out of the market, in tourism will not be good for anyone, least of all the Tourism Industry!

A year ago this was what we were posting