Saadani National Park

Saadani, where the beach meets the bush, is the only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa with ocean frontage and therefore the only place that can genuinely lay claim to offering beautiful beaches and safari in a single location.

Size and situation: Size: 1,100 sq km. Located 130km north of Dar es Salaam, between Bagamoyo and Pangani, and 27 km from Zanzibar, Saadani is the closest wildlife reserve geographically to both tourist centres.

Landscapes: Saadani is dominated by acacia woodland, coastal thickets and miombo woodland.

At the Wami River mouth, on the south boundary, there is large and still well preserved mangrove swamps.

Wildlife: The reserve suffered greatly from poaching prior to the late 1990s, but recent years have seen a marked turnaround. The diversity of animals is comparable to many parks but numbers.

A surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates is seen on game drives and walks, among them giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, red duiker, greater kudu, eland, sable antelope, yellow baboon and velvet monkey.

Elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal.

Dolphins are sometimes seen offshore and whales pass through the Zanzibar channel on their migration.

Saadani’s beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.

Activities: Apart from the usual game drives, boat trips on the Wami River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine and riverine birds.

Another main point of interest of this national park is that it shelters the fisherman village with some interesting ruins of the Swahili Empire.

You can of course enjoy the beach of the Indian Ocean, but also go out for a sea trip to the sand banks off-shore which provides good snorkeling and some chances of meeting the dolphins.

Climate: The park is generally accessible from June up to March, April and May being the month of heavy rains.

The best game-viewing is in January and February and from June to August.

Saadani National Park Accommodations