Saadani National Park
A rare chance to combine both safari and beach
In between Pangani and Bagamoyo, and opposite the island of Zanzibar, lies the small national park of Saadani; this is the only place in Tanzania where it is possible to game drive in the morning and swim in the Indian Ocean before lunch! While not necessarily the most prolific of destinations for game numbers, the park holds an interesting array of animals and is great for those that are looking for a scenic and interesting beach stay.
Only recently declared as a national park in its own right, Saadani has suffered greatly over the years through poaching and general neglect, rendering it one of the least visited parks in Tanzania. In the late 1990s, however, this view and attitude towards the park changed and a huge effort was made to both grow the size of the park, but to involve local communities in protecting it.
The Saadani of today is a transformed place and the stature of it has grown hugely with quite a few quality lodges springing up and some reliable game sightings being reported. On the whole, this is not really seen as a park for those looking for big game, but more of a taster for those that may not be able to afford a longer and more remote park.
One of the big plusses of Saadani is that it offers a wide range of activities such as walking safaris, boating trips along the Wami River, and the standard game viewing. Taking into account its location right on the shores of the Indian Ocean and that it is also a very short hop from here to Zanzibar Island and it makes this a really good option for many.
At a glance... Sadaani National Park
- Size 680 square miles
- Location Directly opposite Zanzibar on mainland
- Recommended time 3 to 6 nights
- Time to visit June to Nov/Jan to Mar
- Safari Activities Walking, driving, boating
- Topography open grassland and palm fringed beaches
- Main species Elephant, lion, hyena, leopard, hippo, kudu, good birding