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Saadani National Park

Tanzania Safaris - Saadani
Tanzania Safaris - Saadani

If you'd like to see where the beach meets the bush on your Tanzania safari, let Authentic Tanzania Safaris take you to Saadani. 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 (and lost, because Bagamoyo had fewer cannibalistic tribes to threaten passing traders)!

Saadani is dominated by acacia woodland and coastal thickets. It also protects a large area of mangrove swamps along the coastline North from the Wami river, and includes several species of palm including the mysterious looking 'walking palm', a tree which forms stilt-like roots, and over a period of time, picks itself up on them and walks towards the light. It's the only plant in the world that plants itself where it wants to!  Imagine seeing that on your Tanzania Safari.

The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront, it possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania's tropical coastline and islands so popular with European sun-worshippers and Tanzania Safari enthusiasts. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!  A true Beach meets Bush Tanzania Safari experience.

Protected as a game reserve since the 1960s, in 2002 it was expanded to cover twice its former area.

Today, a surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates is seen on Tanzania safari game drives and walking safaris, among them giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, red duiker, greater kudu, eland, sable antelope, yellow baboon and vervet monkey.

Tanzania Safaris - Saadani Hippo
Tanzania Safaris - Saadani Hippo

Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency on Saadani based Tanzania safaris, and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal. Tanzania Safari boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles 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.

Fast Facts - Saadani National Park

About Saadani National Park

Size: 1,100 sq km (430 sq miles)
Location: On the north coast, roughly 100km (60 miles) northwest of Dar es Salaam as the crow flies, and a similar distance southwest of the port of Tanga.

How to get there

Charter flight from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam.
No road access from Dar es Salaam along the coast – follow the surfaced Moshi road for 160km (100 miles), then 60km (36 miles) on local roads.
Road access from Tanga and Pangani: 4x4 required.

Tanzania Safaris - Saadani Hyena
Tanzania Safaris - Saadani Hyena

What to do and see

Tanzania Safari Game drives and guided walking safaris.
Boat trips. Swimming.
Visit Saadani fishing village, which lies within the reserve, where a collection of ruins pays testament to its 19th century heyday as a major trading port. Dolphins are sometimes seen offshore and whales pass through the Zanzibar channel on their migration. Of particular interest is the green turtle project at Madete Marine Reserve. This endangered species is under particular threat from fishing practices offshore from Saadani and a conservation project has been established to help protect both turtles and their eggs. Large game currently seen include giraffe, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, sable antelope, eland, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, greater kudu, warthog, hyena, mongoose, civet, serval, baboon, black and white colobus, crocodile, hippo, three species of duiker as well as a great variety of birdlife.  Exellent Tanzania Safari viewing opportunities.

When to go

Generally accessible all-year round, but the access roads can be difficult during April and May.
The best Tanzania safari game viewing is in January and February and from June to August.