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Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park

Where the bus meets the beach

Across the Ocean from Stone Town lies a small and lovely national park – the only national park with a beach. This is a “safari light” option for you who want both beach and safari and do not want to spend a lot of time and money to get to see some wildlife.

Relatively untouched, Saadani has two advantages over other more famous Tanzanian national parks. No. 1 is that it is only 3 hours by car from Zanzibar / Dar es Salaam = lots of discoveries for less money and time. No. 2 is Saadani’s long deserted beach and the balmy Indian Ocean reached from the camp we prefer, Simply Saadani Camp. Sometimes the elephants come there to swim. But you have to have a big portion of luck to see it.

Nature

Saadani National Park includes a preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani Game Reserve, the former Mkwaja Ranch, the Wami River and the Zaraninge Forest. Inside the park, the landscape is diverse with plain, forest, sea and river. Much is covered by grassland mixed with acacia trees where the animals rest in the shade. A part of the extensive Zaraninge coastal forest, a hotspot for biodiversity in Tanzania, is also within the park boundaries. The mangrove forest breaks off the palm-lined beaches and the watercourses are lined with forest. The beach is long and deserted and invites to long walks and coffee on the beach at sunrise.

The animals

The animals’ behaviour in the park is more natural compared to other parks where the animals have become accustomed to the cars. Saadani has a surprisingly wide range of wildlife. Giraffes, buffaloes, warthogs,, reedbucks, hartebeests, wildebeest, red duikers, greater kudus, eland, sable antelopes, baboons and a variety of monkeys. Herds of up to 30 elephants have been found and there are some predators around but they are difficult to see.

During the boat trip on the Wami River, that is surrounded by mangroves, you will see hippos, crocodiles and lots of beautiful marina and river birds. The beaches here are one of the last major breeding grounds for green turtles on mainland Tanzania.

Best time

January-february
June-September

Elevation

28-343m

Size

1,100 km2

Rainy season

April-May

Activities

Game drive in car

River safari

Beach walks

Swim in the Indian Ocean

Sunrise with coffee on the beach

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