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Saadani National Park

Saadani is Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary. It is a place where the beach meets the bush and the only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront.

Fast Facts

Major Attractions
  • Endangered green turtle breeding ground
  • Wami River
  • Indian Ocean beachfront
Activities
  • Game drives
  • Walking Safari
  • Boat trips
  • Swimming
  • Cultural tour - Saadani fishing village
  • Aerial safari
Size
  • 1062 sq kms(415 sq miles)
Location
  • It is located 50km north of Bagamoyo Town. It is approximately 100kms northwest of Dar es Salaam. The Saadani National Park forms part of the southern circuit of Tanzania.

ABOUT

Saadani is Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary. It is a place where the beach meets the bush. The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront, it possess all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands so popular with those chasing some sun. Palm trees sway in a cooling oceanic breeze. White sand and blue water sparkle alluringly beneath the tropical sun. Traditional dhows sail slowly past, propelled by billowing white sails, while Swahili fisherman cast their nets below a brilliant red sunrise.

The park offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting. Approximately 30 species of larger mammals are present as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Besides many species of fish, green turtles, humpback whales and dolphins also occur in the ocean nearby.

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

Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black backed jackal.

Boat trips on the mangrove lined Wami River come with a high chance of sighting hippo, crocodile and a selection of marine and riverine birds including the mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo, while the beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.

WILDLIFE 

At least 24 species of large mammals are found in Saadani, including the rare Roosevelt sable antelope. Lions, leopards, hyenas, genets, civets and other predators are resident at Saadani and there are large numbers of waterbucks, zebras, warthogs, bush pigs, yellow baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet and blue monkeys.

Hippo exist in large numbers , particularly along the Wami River. A boat trip is well worthwhile if you would like to watch these fascinating creatures jostling in the shallow water for a comfortable position in their pod. The visitor may also see crocodile and the much smaller Nile monitor lizards that feed on the eggs laid by crocodiles.

The beach areas contain one of the last significant East African breeding beaches for the green turtle. Madete Green Turtle Breeding Beach is 13 kms from Mkwaja village and is one of the most important breeding places for this endangered species.

The bird enthusiast will not be disappointed by the marine and riverine birds that are in abundance such as mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo.

GEOGRAPHY

Saadani’s ecosystem consists of a coastal plain including the shoreline, the low hills, minimal escarpment to the west and lower reaches and deltas of perennial rivers.

Topographically, the landscape is flat over much of the Saadani area with gentle undulations on much of the former Mkwaja Ranch. There are few rocky slopes with the dune ridges along the shoreline being low and barely distinguishable.

CLIMATE

Climatically Saadani is typical of equatorial coastal east Africa. There are two wets seasons each year with an average rainfall of 1,000mm(40 inches) which is less at the coast and greatest on the highest lying inland ground.

Generally, the climate is coastal, hot and humid.

WHEN TO VISIT

The park is generally accessible all year round, but the access roads are sometimes impassable during April and May. The best game viewing is in January and February and from June to August.

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