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Rubondo Island: Your Guide
Author: Anton Crone
Date: 30 Sep 2013
Rubondo Island: Your GuideThe second time I met Habibu was on a guiding course in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. The course was for Asilia Africa’s new guides and there were many experienced guides there like Habibu, knowledgable folk who had studied nature for much of their lives and a few guides who were quite fresh. As a travel writer and occasional guest of game parks, what I enjoyed most about the course was the focus on enhancing the guest experience, interpreting the sights, sounds and scents of the wild so that guests are left, not only with an indelible appreciation of the wild, but a thorough understanding of it. It was a collaborative exercise and while the youngsters had many questions to ask, there were always answers, things the older guides didn’t need to look up in a book but expounded on from memory; anecdotes and analogies that were expressions of love for nature. Habibu  is one of these guides. We would often stop at the sight of the smallest creature to learn more about it, something most tourists pass up in favour of seeing the big five. I used to be this type, but that completely changed when I first met Habibu.

As a travel writer and occasional guest of game parks, what I enjoyed most about the course was the focus on enhancing the guest experience, interpreting the sights, sounds and scents of the wild so that guests are left, not only with an indelible appreciation of the wild, but a thorough understanding of it. It was a collaborative exercise and while the youngsters had many questions to ask, there were always answers, things the older guides didn’t need to look up in a book but expounded on from memory; anecdotes and analogies that were expressions of love for nature. Habibu is one of these guides. We would often stop at the sight of the smallest creature to learn more about it, something most tourists pass up in favour of seeing the big five. I used to be this type, but that completely changed when I first met Habibu.

Four months previously I was a guest on Rubondo Island and Habibu took me on a drive through the forest. I scanned the dense foliage for signs of elephant and chimpanzee, but butterflies were always getting in the way. Habibu started calling out their names: African Monarchs, Blue spotted Emperors, Swallowtails, Swordtails and more; wonderful names as colourful as their wings. We stopped at tiny puddles along the tracks where hundreds of butterflies were gathered to drink and Habibu enhanced the scenes with tales of butterfly wars: Battling Gliders chasing African Vagrants from the puddles and Sword Tails descending to take their place. Soon we were studying frogs in the same puddles, inundated with little eggs. On the bark of trees, the camouflaged moths and stick insects that Habibu pointed out astounded me. My world had become minute and with Habibu’s guidance I understood the immensity of this island’s ecosystem, something that will always stay with me. When I think of Rubondo now it’s so much more than an island, it’s an entire world, and I cannot thank Habibu enough for showing me this and for turning me from a tourist into a nature lover.


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Rubondo Island Camp, Tanzania
Rubondo Island Camp, Tanzania
An exclusive camp nestled on an uninhabited island, home to chimpanzees, elephants and the elusive sitatunga.
Kimondo Camp (South)
Kimondo Camp (South)
Kimondo is a migration camp, following the herds as they migrate across the plains of the Serengeti, ensuring that guests are always within striking distance of this age-old natural wonder.
Ubuntu Camp (West), Tanzania
Ubuntu Camp (West), Tanzania
Following in the footsteps of the Great Wildebeest Migration, this traditional safari camp receives incredible praise from guests for its authenticity and warm hospitality.
Rekero Camp, Kenya
Rekero Camp, Kenya
Rekero Camp has a long and proud history in the Mara that lends to it a depth of character and low-key authenticity that is the hallmark of this luxury tented camp.
Ubuntu Camp (North), Tanzania
Ubuntu Camp (North), Tanzania
Following in the footsteps of the Great Wildebeest Migration, this traditional safari camp receives incredible praise from guests for its authenticity and warm hospitality.
Naboisho Camp, Kenya
Naboisho Camp, Kenya
On a private conservancy, that is an example of conservation and communities working together, Naboisho offers an opportunity to gain an understanding of the Serengeti Mara ecosystem.
Acacia House, Maasai Mara
Acacia House, Maasai Mara
Imagine your own house in the bush, right in the heart of the Maasai Mara. Acacia House, Mara House and Topi House are ideal for a couple, family or group on safari.
Namiri Plains, Tanzania
Namiri Plains, Tanzania
Namiri Plains is for the serious big cat and carnivore enthusiast wanting a high degree of comfort combined with an exclusive and authentic safari experience.
Olakira Camp (South), Tanzania
Olakira Camp (South), Tanzania
Olakira is a luxurious under-canvas camp that moves with the seasons, following the wildebeest herds through the Serengeti to ensure a front-row seat at the greatest show on earth.
Ubuntu Camp (South), Tanzania
Ubuntu Camp (South), Tanzania
Following in the footsteps of the Great Wildebeest Migration, this traditional safari camp receives incredible praise from guests for its authenticity and warm hospitality.
Little Oliver's, Tarangire
Little Oliver's, Tarangire
Little Oliver’s is built in complete harmony with the surrounding environment and guest accommodation consists of 5 expansive tents each with en-suite facilities, indoor and outdoor bucket showers and decks.
Dunia Camp, Tanzania
Dunia Camp, Tanzania
Combining pristine wilderness with the intimacy of a timeless tented camp, Dunia Camp offers superb game viewing all year round from its secluded location in the heart of the Serengeti.
Topi House, Maasai Mara
Topi House, Maasai Mara
Imagine your own house in the bush, right in the heart of the Maasai Mara. Acacia House, Mara House and Topi House are ideal for a couple, family or group on safari.
Sayari Camp, Tanzania
Sayari Camp, Tanzania
This upmarket camp is one of the finest in Africa, offering luxurious lodgings in some of the best Big Five country on the continent.
Olakira Camp (North), Tanzania
Olakira Camp (North), Tanzania
Olakira is a luxurious under-canvas camp that moves with the seasons, following the wildebeest herds through the Serengeti to ensure a front-row seat at the greatest show on earth.
Oliver’s Camp, Tanzania
Oliver’s Camp, Tanzania
Walking safaris are the specialty of the camp, and the depth of knowledge and experience of the camp naturalist guides makes Oliver’s Camp a firm favourite amongst safari enthusiasts.
Kimondo Camp (North), Kenya
Kimondo Camp (North), Kenya
Kimondo is a migration camp, following the herds as they migrate across the plains of the Serengeti, ensuring that guests are always within striking distance of this age-old natural wonder.
Mara House, Maasai Mara
Mara House, Maasai Mara
Imagine your own house in the bush, right in the heart of the Maasai Mara. Acacia House, Mara House and Topi House are ideal for a couple, family or group on safari.
Matemwe Retreat, Zanzibar
Matemwe Retreat, Zanzibar
Combining the spirit of Zanzibar with the highest standards of luxury, Matemwe Retreat’s secluded villas are considered the most exclusive choice on this exotic island.
Matemwe Lodge, Zanzibar
Matemwe Lodge, Zanzibar
Overlooking a shallow coral fringed lagoon on the quieter northeast coast of Zanzibar, Matemwe’s peaceful location and relaxed atmosphere, makes it the ideal place to unwind.
Matemwe Beach House, Zanzibar
Matemwe Beach House, Zanzibar
On the chalk white Matemwe beach lies Matemwe Beach House; the perfect holiday home for a family or small group wanting a private slice of this beautiful coast line
Kwihala Camp, Tanzania
Kwihala Camp, Tanzania
This small, exclusive camp combines raw beauty with simple excellence. Kwihala is renowned among safari enthusiasts for its excellent standard of guiding and intimate knowledge of Ruaha National Park.
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