Saadani (1,062 sq km) is the only National Park in East Africa where you can be enjoying wildlife at one moment, including big game species such as elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe, roan etc. and then the next be walking along a sandy beach and swimming in the surf of the Indian Ocean. There are about 8 km of sea front and of these at least 3 km are unspoilt beaches. The undisturbed nature of the beaches makes it a favourite place for green turtles to lay their eggs and this beach is the most important breeding site for turtles in all of Tanzania.
The terrain is mostly flat but with a wide variety of vegetation types, including broad leafed woodlands (Miombo), extensive areas of open plains with scattered trees, dense riparian vegetation and mangroves. There are palm trees along parts of the coastal beaches. The Wami River meanders slowly through mangrove forests in the southern part and can be enjoyed by boat
or canoe. Both hippo and crocodiles are found here, as well as hosts of different bird species. Saadani is warm and humid throughout the year, but enjoys onshore trade wind breezes for most of the year. This Park can be visited all year round with wildlife plentiful everywhere, but during the green season of November and December and March – May some parts will be inaccessible.
Wildlife is abundant and varied, with the amount of wildlife being seen increasing since the area became a National park. Species include giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, red duiker, greater kudu, eland, sable antelope, yellow baboon and velvet monkey. Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are present, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal.
Bird life is in fact spectacular everywhere because not only are there woodland, river, mangrove and plains species, but also sea birds and waders along the beaches and shore line.
- Game drives and guided walks
- Boat trips
- Swimming and snorkeling
- 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.
By air. There are scheduled flights to Saadani, but check with aviation companies for latest details.
Private flights can be arranged to Mkwaja or Saadani airstrip from any part of the country such as Arusha, Zanzibar, Mwanza, Manyara, Dar-essalaam etc.
Zanzibar Island is about 40km away from the park and it takes about 14 minutes flying from Zanizbar to Saadani Airstrip.
By road. Saadani National Park is located about 44km North of Bagamoyo town, and the Park can be accessed via the Wami River area. The Park can also be accessed through 271km drive from Dar-es-salaam to Mandela village via Chalinze town. From Mandela drive on a rough road for 61km to Saadani National Park entry gate.
Also one can drive to Saadani from Arusha via Moshi, Segera, Tanga, Pangani, or via Moshi, Segera, Kwamsisi and Mandela. Both routes are about 560 km.
From Tanga city one can reach Saadani by driving and crossing the Pangani River on a public ferry. It is about 3 hours drive (130Km) on a graveled road to the Park entry gate. A daily public b us commutes from Dar-es-salaam to Bagamoyo, and from Saadani village to Tanga city and Mkwaja village.
By Water. One can reach Saadani by boat from Dar-essalaam, Tanga, Pangani, Bagamoyo and Zanzibar.
Saadani is a wonderful place to unwind and relax after visiting other places in the country. On visit to Saadani, one can choose to visit Caravan serai. This undistinguished museum located in Bagamoyo town entrance has a small display documenting the slave trade. More interesting than the museum is the site at which it is built, which was formerly the starting point for slave trade caravans to the interior.
Also while in Dar es Salaam before visiting Saadani one can opt to visit Nyerere first house in Magomeni Usalama, located a mere four kilometres from the heartland of Dar es Salaam, an ancient structure stands tall, its national flag pulsating to the beat of a gentle city breeze.
The founding father of the Nation Mwl JK Nyerere spent 8 months in this house from 1959 before moving to Upanga.
In this house Mwl. Nyerere hosted meetings of the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) and (its successor) the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). The building is testament to the history of the struggle for independence in Tanganyika. Therefore, the house is now part of Mwl. JK Nyerere Memorial Museum.