Saadani National Park is Tanzania’s 13th National Park. Tourists can view animals basking along the Indian Ocean shores. It has an area of 1062 km2 and was officially gazetted in 2005, from a game reserve which had existed from 1969. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea
The name Saadani has a close link to the Arab settlement in the area during the 19 Century. The name of a fishing village that, originally known as Utondwe which changed to Saadani.Saadani is such an important name in the country’s history since the time immemorial centuries or more, mentioned in chronicles of the Portuguese and notable travellers like Johannes Rebman, El-Masoud, Ptolemy, and Richard Burton among others. The historical Saadani leaves us with the evidence of not only visits of these travellers, but also of a former town which was once a trade centre coordinating overseas and hinterland bather trade, including the slave trade.
It was officially declared to National Park status in 2005 under Government Notice No. 188. The Park covers an area of 1,100sqkm after annexation of the former Saadani Game Reserve, Mkwaja Cattle Ranch, Zaraninge Forest Reserve and Wami River.
The Park experiences an Eastern African coastal climate with bimodal rainfall, which ranges 800 – 1200mm annually. Long rains fall from March to June and short ones from October to December. February and July are the best driest months with peak temperatures reaching up to 29C. The best period for visits is the dry season, although the Park remains attractive year-round.
Saadani’s wildlife population is increasing during recent years after it has been gazetted as a National Park and was a hunting block beforehand. Wildlife in Saadani includes four of the Big Five, namely lions, African bush elephants, Cape buffaloes, and leopards. Masai giraffes, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbucks, blue wildebeests, bohor reedbucks, common and red duikers, Dik-Diks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, Colobus monkeys, mongooses, genets, porcupines, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, nile monitors are also found in the park.
Wami River and Estuary:
It is among few African coast where large wildlife is still present in an estuarine situation. Here you are as close as one likes to get to hippo, crocodile and other wildlife. Bird watchers will also be treated to not-often-seen migratory birds that love the shore, such as different kinds of sandpiper, Eurasian oystercatcher and the common greenshank. Evergreen mangrove trees along the river provide resting and feeding place for many birds’ species, bats, monkeys and other reptiles.
It is within the marine extension of the park whose colourful coral reefs are important breeding sites for many fish species. While in the sandbank tourist enjoys snorkelling and diving underwater and learn on many different type of Indian Ocean living organisms. The chances of seeing dolphins and humpback whales putting on their show in the Indian Ocean are beyond.
Madete beach and nesting site for Green Turtle:
Madete beach is one of the most significant breeding sites for the Green turtle the largest of the hard shelled sea turtles in Tanzania. Female’s Green turtle lays eggs along the shore and return to the sea. The high season is in July – November and a moderate season in January – March. Approximately 8 nests can be available during the season. The incubation time of the eggs buried in the sand is 45 – 60 days after which the hatching emerge.
Saadani National Park provides variety of accommodations which are found inside and outside the park. Beautiful public and special camping grounds are available inside the park.
Inside the park: