Saadani National Park 144

Green Turtle hatchlingGreen Turtle hatchling

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. 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. 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!

Saadani has been protected as a game reserve since 1960s. Following the year 2002, it was expanded to cover twice its former size. In the past, the reserve suffered greatly from poaching, but in recent years, there has been a marked turnaround because of a concerted crackdown on poachers, based on integrating adjacent villages into the conservation drive.

Today, the park sees a surprisingly diverse set of grazers along with primates. In game drives, you can easily come across giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, red duiker, wildebeest, greater kudu, sable antelope, eland, and primates like yellow baboon and vervet monkey.

Herds consisting of 30 elephant members can be encountered with increasing frequency along with lion prides, leopard, spotted hyena, black-backed jackals etc. Boat rides along the Wami River flanked by mangrove trees offer a high chance of spotting hippos, crocodiles, and riverine birds which include mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo, while the beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.

What to do

  • Game drives and guided walks.
  • 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.