Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park was officially declared to National Park status in 2005 under Government Notice No. 188. The Park covers an area of 1,100sqkm after the annexation of the former Saadani Game Reserve, Mkwaja Cattle Ranch, Zaraninge Forest Reserve, and Wami River.
Saadani National Park is one of paradise with a unique ecosystem where beach life meets wilderness. This gives you not only the opportunity to plunge into the Indian Ocean straight after your safari but also to be submerged in a unique display of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a naturally fascinating setting.
The name Saadani has a close link to the Arab settlement in the area during the 19th Century. The name of a fishing village, 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 travelers 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 travelers, but also of a former town that was once a trade center coordinating overseas and hinterland bather trade, including the slave trade.
The best time to visit Saadani
The park can be visited throughout the year; however, the best time to visit is between June and February. Short rains are usually experienced in October to November while long rains are from March to May. The climate is coastal, hot, and humid with an annual maximum temp of 29C and with an average rainfall varying from 800 to 1200 mm.
Entry Gates to Saadani National Park
- Mvave Entry Gate is located in the south of the park and it is 65km long from the Mandera junction.
- Gama Entry Gate is located Southwest of the Park 66 km from Bagamoyo town through Makurunge junction. The gate is accessible only during the dry season.
- Madete Entry Gate is located north of the park and can be easily accessed by visitors from Pangani, Muheza, or Tanga town. It can be accessed throughout the year but one can experience difficulties during the peak of the rain season.
The attractions found in Saadani
These are places of interest where tourists visit, typically for their inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty offering leisure, adventure, and amusement to visitors.
Wild Animals. This beautiful park has a spectacular concentration of wild animals like Waterbuck, Giraffe, Warthog, and Yellow baboon, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Hartebeest, Elephant, Buffaloes, and Lions.
The Wami River and Estuary. It is among the few African coasts 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 a resting and feeding place for many birds species, bats, monkeys, and other reptiles.
Mafui Sandbank. It is within the marine extension of the park whose colorful coral reefs are important breeding sites for many fish species. While in the sandbank tourist enjoys snorkeling and diving underwater and learn on many types of Indian Ocean living organisms. The chances of seeing dolphins and humpback whales putting on their show in the Indian Ocean is 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. A Female’s Green turtle lays eggs along the shore and returns 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 emerges.
Zaraninge Forest. It is an evergreen lowland coastal forest with a closed canopy. Zaraninge is known to be home to some endemic, rare, and threatened species of plants and animal life. It mostly supports elephant life during the dry season.