Saanane Island is in Lake Victoria lying very close to the city of Mwanza (2 km). It was gazetted as a National Park in 2013 with the addition of two neighboring islets. The surrounding waters are also protected making its total area 2.18 sq. km. Saanane is completely unique. Firstly, it is the only National Park in Africa that is within city limits. The wildlife there includes impala, zebra, wildebeest, klipspringer, hyrax, vervet monkeys, dikdik, otters, crocodiles, and is a mixture of indigenous and introduced species. They run wild, and yet are calm and unafraid of people. The habitat is of granite boulders, grassy areas, thorny thicket and woodland. There are several reed beds and large trees around the island’s shores. There is also an enclosed lion’s den with huge boulders and trees where a lion and lioness live. They were both orphans from the wild – one from the Serengeti and the other from outside Tarangire – and are now fully grown, and appear contented and healthy – and in love! Two peacocks are living in another enclosure on the island.

The main feature of the Park is a set of pathways and trails, well constructed with rustic granite stones and trimmed verges, that wind a path to all corners of the island. There are look out points with wonderful views of the lake and islands, as well as rest points, a camp site, picnic bandas, a canteen, and quiet, hidden corners. Saanane is dedicated to the townsfolk and the visitors of Mwanza city. It is a place where people can escape the noise and clamor of the city, get close to nature and relax. 

Getting there

Air. Mwanza airport connects with all the major towns and cities of Tanzania, and also most of the safari destinations.

Road and Rail. Mwanza is connected by road and rail to all corners of Tanzania.

Water. People can travel by ship to Mwanza Port from Musoma and Bukoba on Lake Victoria and also from Uganda, and Kenya. In Mwanza city the Park headquarters are at Capri point just 15 minutes’ walk from city center. TANAPA arranges a 15-minute boat ride from there to the landing jetty on Saanane Island.


  • Walking the trails, and enjoying the wildlife on the way.
  • Bird watching.
  • Boat tours.
  • Fishing around the islands (catch and release). The Park HQ have fishing rods for hire.
  • Camping on the island. The Park HQ have small tents for hire.
  • Special events can be arranged on the island. 

When to go

All year round. 


Public camp site.

Mwanza city has every class of hotel accommodation. 

Safari ideas

Saanane is a restful midpoint stop-over for a Lake tour that could operate between Musoma and Burigi Chato National Park, with stop-overs at Rubondo Island National Park, and other Lake islands en route.

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