Saadani National Park features as the only park in Tanzania which is located close to the Indian Ocean which makes it an exceptional safari destination to explore on Tanzania safari. It is set between Dar-es-Salaam about 4 hours’ drive and Tanga approximately 3 hours’ drive away. This park was founded in 2005 and it sits in an area of 1062sq.km incorporating areas of the initially Saadani Game Reserve, Zaraninge Forest, Mkwaja Ranch Area, and Wami River. Unlike other protected areas, Saadani National Park features a distinct mix of marine and mainland floral and faunal species. It takes its name from Saadani Village which is adjacent to it and lies close to iconic historic Zanzibar Town, Bagamoyo Town, and Pangani Town.
History of Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park history can be traced back to 2005 when it was designated as a national park. It incorporates the original Saadani Game Reserve, Wami River, Zaraninge Forest, and Mkwaja Ranch Area. Saadani Village where the park takes its name and Uvinje a sub-village in this area invited the Tanzania Wildlife Division in the late 1960s to assist them to prevent the indiscriminate killing of wildlife which became rampant in the area. It was from this partnership that led to the creation of Saadani Game Reserve. In the late 1990s, Mr. Domician Njao from Tanzania National Parks Authority thought of upgrading the reserve into a national park and it was from this that led to the establishment of the only coastal national park. In 2005, Saadani National Park was created and today, it features among the unique parks to explore in Tanzania.
The various wildlife species to sight in Saadani National Park include 4 of the big 5 games (elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards), warthogs, zebras, hippos, hyenas, hartebeests, reedbucks, greater kudus, giraffes, primates like vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys.
This is one of the best birding spots and the numerous birds to expect to sight here include bateleur eagle, mangrove kingfishers, lanner falcon, little bittern, crowned eagles, flamingoes, African skimmers, lesser kestrel, African cuckoo hawk, Pel’s fishing owl, long-crested eagle. Birding in this park is ideal in November and April when most migratory birds confine here to breed.
Tourist activities to do in Saadani National Park
Bird watching in Saadani Park involves birders spotting birds such as lanner falcon, little bittern, crowned eagles, flamingoes, African skimmers, lesser kestrel, bateleur eagle, mangrove kingfishers, African cuckoo hawk, Pel’s fishing owl, long-crested eagle as well as European migratory birds.
This is exciting watersport activity visitors on Tanzania safari in this park can be part of. It is best carried out along the scenic Wami River and it allows you to view crocodiles, hippos and water birds.
Nature walks in Saadani Park involves uncovering the park’s hidden secrets. You have the opportunity to explore the mangrove forest with a chance to see butterflies, monkeys, turtles, bats and many more.
The dry season is a perfect time to visit Saadani Park because it rewards visitors with an excellent view of its diverse wildlife species. The vegetation is thinner during the dry season and the ground is relatively drier. The dry months of the year in this park occur starting from July, August, and September however, it is possible for you to visit the park at any time of the year. Birding can be perfectly done in November or March, April and May for you to sight both residential and migratory birds.
By road, you can drive from Dar-es-Salaam for about 3 hours via Chalinze along the Morogoro route and you connect North to Mandera village. By air, you can fly from Julius Nyerere Airport Kilimanjaro Airport to Saadani airstrip.