Saadani is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the Indian Ocean. Gazetted in 2005, it encompasses a well-preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani game reserve, the former Mkwaja ranch area, the Wami River as well as the Zaraninge Forest.
Many villages are dotted around the boundaries of the park. Saadani village itself once was an important harbor-town and slave-trading centre in East Africa. Nowadays it is a small Swahili village of about 800 inhabitants whose livelihood is mostly fishing.
The coastal vegetation zones range from seashore full of palm trees, through the tidal mangrove forest that form a buffer between ocean and land, to the Wami River shore where the huge sycamore fig is found. Its semi open woodlands closely resembles the Selous game reserve, while the vast grassy area close to the tourism office is named ‘Serengeti Ndogo’ (Small Serengeti) and lives up to the expectations.niNational
Saadani is a one of a kind paradise where beach life meets wilderness. This gives you not only the opportunity to plunge into the Indian Ocean straight after your safari, but also to be submerged in a unique display of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a naturally fascinating setting.
Saadani is where crabs meets elephant and the roar of a lion might interrupt your tanning. This is one of the few breeding sites for green turtles. To the southern part experience salt harvesting processes (salt pans) in the hands of the locals.
All the usual suspects, such as zebra, buffalo, elephant, warthog, giraffe, wildebeest and waterbuck are present. But you also stand a high chance of capturing different types of hartebeest, the big-eyed Rondo Galago and the elusive sable antelope on camera during your game drive or wilderness walks. Lion, leopard and spotted hyena might be harder to find, but this makes a sighting an even greater joy.
The vast grassy area is named ‘Serengeti Ndogo’ (Small Serengeti) and lives up to the expectations. Taking a boat on the Wami River will definitely add to the fun; here you are as close as one likes to get to hippo, crocodile and flamingo. Bird watchers will also be treated to not-often-seen migratory birds that love the shore, such as different kinds of sandpiper, Eurasian oystercatcher and the common greenshank.
On the beach you get to enjoy even more special sightings: breeding green turtles – Saadani’s beaches are one of Tanzania’s best breeding sites – with dolphins and humpback whales putting on their show in the Indian Ocean beyond.
Sadaani National Park is on the north coast roughly 100 kms northwest of Dar-es- salaam and a similar distance southwest of the port of Tanga.
- Dry season: July – September
- Wet season: November – May
- Less rainy in December – February
- Best time to visit: June – September.
What to do
- Game drives
- Boat trips to wami river
- Guided walking
- Bird watching
- Sun bathing on the Saadani beach
- Visiting the Saadani fishing village which used to be a buzzing trading centre.
Brief history and climatic conditions
- Saadani started as a Game Reserve in 1962, it became the 13th national park of Tanzania in 2005.
- The park ecosystem covers 1,100 km2 (around 15 km shoreline).
- From south to north it stretches 69 km.
- Height: the majority of the park is at sea level. Although the highest point is 350 m, most elevations don’t go beyond 40 m.
- Tides: spring tides of up to 1.5 m can flow inland.
- The park has a tropical, hot climate with an average temperature of 25-27°C all year round (30 °C daytime, 20-24 °C night-time).
Getting to Saadani
- The park is accessible by road or air.
- Dar es Salaam – Chalinze – village of Mandera (good tarmac road, 160 km.
- About 2-3 hours drive) then from Mandera village drive to Mvave Gate –
- Saadani National Park tourism office (rough road, 65 km about 2 hours drive).
- From Tanga town via Pangani to Mkwaja Gate (earth road 120 km, about 3-5
- hour’s drive).
- From Dar es Salaam drive north to Saadani via Bagamoyo
Charter flights from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar or Tanga or Arusha and other major towns.
Inside the park: There are park owned guest houses known as bandas, rest house, tents and campsites. Booking for bandas, rest house, tents and campsites please contact the Park.
Currently there is one private owned lodge known as Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge.
Outside the park: There are several lodges and camps that are privately owned