Saadani National Park is Tanzania's 13th National Park. Tourists can view animals basking along the Indian Ocean shores. It has an area of 1062 km2 and was officially gazetted in 2005, from a game reserve which had existed from 1969.
Saadani is geographically the closest reserve to Dar es Salaam (130km), offering an irresistible combination of beach and wildlife viewing. Saadani also sits almost directly opposite Zanzibar’s Stone Town, located approximately 42 km away. Flights from Zanzibar to Saadani take just 15 minutes.
The east coast of Africa has a long and rich cultural history and Saadani has always been at the centre. It was first mentioned in writings by Indian traders in the sixth century AD and has been an important trading area for much of the last millennium. In the nineteenth century, Saadani was one of the major ports on the coast and vied with Bagamoyo for the position of trading capital.
Saadani's wildlife population is increasing during recent years after it has been gazetted as a National Park and was a hunting block beforehand. Wildlife in Saadani includes four of the Big Five, namely Masai lions, African bush elephants, buffaloes and African leopards. Masai giraffes, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, common waterbucks, blue wildebeests, bohor reedbucks, common and red duikers, Dik-Diks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black-and white Colobus monkeys, civets, mongooses, genet cats, porcupines, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippopotamus, crocodiles, nile monitors are also found in the park.
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.
Sadaani National Park is on the north coast roughly 100kms 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.
Getting to Saadani
The park is accessible by road or air.
1. 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).
2. From Tanga town via Pangani to Mkwaja Gate (earth road 120 km, about 3-5 hours drive).
3. 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.
What to do?
Boat trips to wami river
Sun bathing on the Saadani beach
Visiting the Saadani fishing village which used to be a buzzing trading centre.