Saadani National Park

Tanzania has every kind of attraction which is required by the visitors. A visitor coming to this beautiful country has every reason to be proud of visiting this superb destination. Apart from being home to a huge number of both plants and animals species, Serengeti is among the most famous National Parks in the world. Tanzania has other attractive tourism destinations, whereas wildlife sanctuaries bordering the sea, (Indian Ocean) are among the leading ones. Saadani National Park is one of the spectacular wildlife sanctuaries where the ocean meets the bush. It is a stunning tourist destination where the beach of the Indian Ocean meets the bush. It is a nice place for combining both wilderness exploration and relaxation at the clean beach. This national park is among the five superb national parks in the Eastern Circuit of Tanzania. It is the only wilderness sanctuary found on the coast of the Indian Ocean in the East African region. Saadani National Park is located on the northwest coast at about 100 kilometers northwest of Dar es Salaam. It is also 60 miles in southwest of Tanga. Saadani National Park covers a total area of 1100 square kilometers occupying three distinct regions of Tanga, Pwani, and Zanzibar. The Saadani National Park Ecosystem consists of Zaraninge Forest, Wami River, former Mkwanja ranch area, and Saadani village. Saadani National Park was named as a national park in 2005. Before then, it was a protected Game Reserve since the 1960s.



Saadani National Park is accessible from different locations in Tanzania. It is easily reachable when you are coming from Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. The followings are the routes that can help you reach the Saadani National Park easily; if you are at Bagamoyo, you can reach Saadani National Park via Wami River. Wami River is accessible through boats and canoes. This route is 44 kilometers long.  By Road. If you are from Arusha the best route is through Moshi, Segera, Tanga, and Pangani. This route takes about five to seven hours and it takes about 561 kilometers. If you are in Dar es Salaam, you can travel via Dar es Salaam-Mandela road. It is a 271 kilometers drive from Dar es Salaam to Mandela village and 60 kilometers drive from Mandela village to Saadani National Park. By Water. Saadani National Park is reachable from Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Pangani, Bagamoyo, and Zanzibar via boat safari.

Saadani National Park

By Air. With its own airstrip, Saadani Airstrip, Saadani National Park can be accessed from Arusha, Mwanza, Zanzibar (14 minutes), Manyara, and Dar es Salaam.

The best time to visit this national park is between July to October. This time is good for flamingo watching and other wildlife activities. This is because at this time the rough roads are passable especially the ones from Mandela village to Saadani National Park.


Attractions at Saadan

The Great Wami River. This is a navigable river running from East to the West of Saadani National Park. This river is home to hippos, crocodiles, and riverine birds like mangrove kingfisher and flamingo. Boat safaris through this majestic river are more rewarding as you are guaranteed to view hippos, crocodiles, riverine forests, and other aquatic animals.


Wild animals. Saadani National Park is home to various stunning wild animals residing in the forest patches of Zaraninge and Kwamisi forests. Some wild animals found in this park include buffalo, hartebeests, zebra, yellow baboon, waterbucks, reedbuck, warthog, lion, white-bearded wildebeest, bushbucks, and the giraffe, the tallest wild animal in the world. These animals are frequently encountered on walking safaris and game drives.

About 250 bird species. Saadani National Park hosts about 250 bird species. These include fish eagles, kingfishers, flamingoes, wading birds, and many water-loving bird species. Birders are advised to carry a pair of binoculars for a better spot of flying birds.


Beautiful clean bush beaches. Since Saadani National Park is a park bordering the Indian ocean, there are clean beaches managed by the Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA). These beaches are perfect for relaxing in the evening while enjoying the sea breeze.


Saadani village. The Saadani village is a Swahili fishing village located close to Saadani National Park. This village has about 800 inhabitants whose main economic activity is fishing. They speak the Swahili language and their social life is very interesting to learn. These people are charming and talkative to visitors. You will need a translator to talk to them.


Historical remains. Saadani village was an important trade center during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was an important slave trade center in East Africa. During that time, it was a great center like Bagamoyo and Pangani. Since then, Saadani holds many historical events including special buildings like the old German boma. Several old graves are also found in the Saadani village.


What to do at Saadani National Park

Probably, you are trying to figure out what you can do during your stay at Saadani National Park. There are many activities which you can do to enjoy your trip to Saadani National Park and mark it as an incredible one. Here are some such activities;


Canoeing and boat safari. Saadani National Park has two navigable water bodies; the magnificent Wami River and the Indian Ocean. If you a fan of canoeing, this park is your must-go. You can choose canoeing in the delta of the Wami River or on the shallow coast of the Indian Ocean. Canoeing in the Wami river rewards you with the scenes of riverine birds like flamingoes, aquatic animals like Nile crocodiles and hippos, and the spot of stunning riverine vegetation on both sides of the river. Boat safaris in the Indian Ocean are organized by various tour operators within the park. These rewards you with the scenes of never-ending water which appears blue in color. The tremendous day and night sea breezes will make your safari an unforgettable one. On your boat or canoe safari, you can enjoy other funny actions like sport fishing. Practicing catch-and-release fishing with a small fishnet is an unforgettable experience.


Game drives. Two types of game drives are offered in this park. These are day and night game drives. The day game drive is more rewarding. You will be able to see different wild animals such as giraffes, elephants, zebra, waterbuck, yellow baboon, and warthog. Warthog is omnipresent in this park. They spent their time at the Saadani village. Why? Because Saadani villagers are Muslims, they can’t attack warthogs. Therefore, warthogs found the Saadani village a safer place for them than inside the park. Night game drive is special for viewing nocturnal animals residing in this park.  


Saadani National Park

Learning Swahili culture. The villagers of Saadani village are the Swahili fishermen interested in interacting with other external people. They live in small families with their main economic activity being fishing. These people speak the Swahili language, a national language of Tanzania. The Swahili language is almost the seventh most spoken language in the world. So learning this attractive language would be your interesting memories in Tanzania.


Walking safaris. Guided nature walks through the mangrove forests and nature trails of the Park are an unforgettable experience for you in the Tanzanian wilderness. Walking safari can also be done on various sites like the Green turtle breeding site at Madete area. The green turtle Breeding site is an attractive area at Madete where the green turtles breed.


Relaxing on clean beaches of Saadani National Park. This park borders the Indian Ocean, one of the six big oceans in the world. The beaches of this ocean are very sweet to relax on. Another place for relaxing is Mafui island, a sand-band island.



Ready for the trip to Saadani National Park? Let’s go. Here are the accommodation facilities which you will be staying at during your stay at Saadani National Park. They include;


Campsites. There are special campsites such as Kiwandani campsite found inside the Zaraninge forest, Kinyonga campsite along the Wami River, and Tengwe campsite near the wilderness zone. These campsites offer the most essential services such as all three meals, bedrooms with modern mattresses, shower, kitchen, solar-powered lighting, and Wi-Fi networks. 


Bandaz. Bandaz is best for a family i.e. father, mother, and children. They are fitted with two rooms of four bedding and a single room for couples. Amnesties available include a kitchen, cooking gas, freezer, utensils, and a public campsite close to the beach.


Lodges. These are permanent privately-owned facilities. They include Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, Tembo Kijani Lodge, Saadani River Lodge, Saadani Park Hotel, and A Tent with A View Lodge. Apart from lodges, bandaz and campsites there is a Rest House close to the beach with the following amnesties in it; a full equipped kitchen, three single rooms, a furnished sitting room and a master room.

As a matter of fact, Saadani National Park is a must-go tourist destination for those looking for enjoying many occasions in the wilderness. This park is worth a trip. Consider planning a trip to Tanzania to explore many unspoken facts and wonders about Saadani National Park. Good luck!

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