Saadani National park, the only coastal wildlife sanctuary in East Africa, is just 130 kilometers north of Dar es Salaam and directly to the west of Zanzibar Island. This proximity to the sea allows visitors to observe how Africa’s big game and birdlife interact with the sea, in addition to relaxing on Indian Ocean beaches after each Tanzania safari.
The park, which used to be the Saadani wildlife reserve, has a surface area of roughly 1100 sq. km. It was formally designated as a national park in 2005. Saadani features a lot of marine life and a lot of different kinds of wild animals because it is the only national park that contains both marine and terrestrial environments.
In this coastal park, it is not normal to see wild animals on the beach. The only Tanzanian park to preserve the mangrove forest is Saadani, one of the few remaining locations where the critically endangered Green Sea Turtles reproduce. The saadani national park is home to a rare type of black and white colobus monkey that lives in the coastal forest. Visitors to this location will have the chance to go on a game drive in the park’s savannah area and enjoy the stunning, pristine beach that is located there.
Saadani national Park Goals
The aim of the park is, “to Protection and preservation of the coastal zone, as well as its varied resources and range of activities, such as beaches, green turtle habitats, lowland forests like Zaraninge, estuaries, and mangroves along the Wami River, as well as endemic, rare, and endangered species, historical and cultural sites, and an interesting variety of landscapes”
History of saadani National Park
In the past, Saadani hamlet served as an important port and a hub for the trade of slaves in east Africa. Currently, there are roughly 800 people living in a small Swahili fishing village where fishing is the main source of income. Other nearby villages, particularly those that grow coconuts, rely on agriculture for their livelihood.
Following periods of Portuguese and Arab dominance, the area rose in prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of an increase in the demand for ivory and slaves on a global scale. With the development of cities like Bagamoyo and Pangani as new trading hubs, linking Zanzibar with long-distance trade routes from Tabora, the true Saadani village formed. Saadani was ruled by Bwana Heri bin Juma around the turn of the 20th century. According to oral tradition, he is the mythical founder-hero of the village since, in 1882, he withstood all Zanzibari attempts to seize the town and defeated the Sultan’s army. The boundaries of the German protectorate were set in 1886. Two years later, under the joint direction of Abushiri bin Salim al Harth and Bwana Heri, the coastal population organized resistance against the Germans. Saadani was bombarded on June 6, 1889, and then captured. Bwana Heri was instructed to reconstruct Saadani because the Germans saw him as an honorable foe.
At the end of the 19th century, the caravan trade in Saadani and Bagamoyo decreased, while Dar es Salaam grew to become the most significant trading hub in the coastal region. After the German invasion, commercial output along the coast that was sold to Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean, such as copra, sugar, and rice, vanished. For the European market, these were swapped out for cash crops like coffee, cotton, and sisal. After the First World War, the British took over the protectorate, and sisal, kapok, cashew estates, and cattle ranches were built in the Saadani region. Stone house ruins still exist as evidence of the area’s former thriving state. Saadani still has an old German boma (government building) and a number of cemeteries.
Weather and Climate in Saadani National Park.
The park has a bimodal annual rainfall of 800 to 1200 mm and an eastern African coastal climate. Short rains happen from October to December, whereas long rains fall from March to June. The driest and warmest months are between February and July, when highs can reach 29C. Although the park is gorgeous year-round, the dry season is the best time to visit.
Wildlife: Animals in the Saadani National Park.
The park is more of a beach getaway in the middle of the jungle because there isn’t much wildlife there. Elephant, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, wildebeest, yellow baboon, and vervet monkey are frequently spotted on drives. Boat and canoeing Tanzania safari offer the chance to see a variety of water birds. The secretive red duiker, the threatened Roosevelt’s sable, and green turtles, for whom the park serves as a breeding ground, are Saadani’s wildlife highlights.
In the past, poachers severely damaged the park and caused the decline in wildlife populations thought the effort was made to ensure the population number of wildlife increase. Giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, wildebeest, greater kudu, eland, yellow baboon, and vervet monkey are among the animals you might see on a drive. Elephant herds of up to 30 have been spotted on occasion.
The best time to visit saadani national park
Although the park is open all year, the ideal months to visit are from June to February and from June to November. Long rains occur from March to May, whereas short rains typically occur from October to November. With an average annual maximum temperature of 29 degrees Celsius and rainfall ranging from 800 to 1200 millimeters, the climate is coastal, hot, and humid.
Getting to saadani national park
From Dar es Salaam, it takes 4 hours by road and 30 minutes by plane to get there. It is only a 20-minute flight from Zanzibar, making it an obvious, convenient, and reasonably priced safari trip. Zanzibar’s beaches are also a natural pairing with this safari destination.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN SAADANI NATIONAL PARK
Tourist attractions in saadani national park includes;
The saadani national park is home to some of the best wild animals that can see bees during game drive or walking safaris. Some of animals that can be seen in this park includes waterbuck, giraffe, warthog, yellow baboon, reedbuck, bushbuck, hartebeest, elephant, buffalo, lion etc.
The Wami River and Estuary
Few African coastlines still have significant fauna in an estuary setting. The closest one can come to hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and other wildlife is right here. The uncommon migratory birds that enjoy the beach, such as various species of sandpipers, Eurasian oystercatchers, and common greenshanks, will also be a delight for bird lovers. Many bird species, bats, monkeys, and other reptiles can rest and eat under the evergreen mangrove trees that line the river.
It is located in the park’s maritime section, where vibrant coral reefs serve as crucial breeding grounds for numerous fish species. Tourists love snorkeling, scuba diving, and learning about a variety of Indian Ocean living creatures while on the sandbank. The likelihood of witnessing dolphins and humpback whales performing in the Indian Ocean is extremely remote.
The Madete Beach and green turtle breeding site
The largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles in Tanzania, the green turtle, has one of the most substantial breeding populations in Madete Beach. Green turtle females lay their eggs along the shore before heading back into the water. A moderate season runs from January to March, with the peak months being July through November. There may be around 8 nests accessible during the season. The buried-egg incubation period lasts 45 to 60 days, following which the eggs hatch.
The Zaraninge Forest
It is a lowland coastal forest with a closed canopy that is evergreen. Some endemic, uncommon, and threatened plant and animal species have been found in Zaraninge. During the dry season, it largely supports elephant life.
The Amboni Caves.
The largest limestone cave system in East Africa is found is Amboni Caves located in Tanga city just few kilometers from Saadani National Park. They are situated 8 kilometers off the Tanga-Mombasa route in Tanga, Tanzania. During the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago, the caverns were formed. It has a 234 km2 area. There are ten caves total, but only one is open to visitors on guided excursions.
The history of Bagamoyo is extensive. It is the oldest town in Tanzania and was formally formed at the end of the eighteenth century. However, its roots date back several centuries before. Bagamoyo, the first capital of German East Africa, was one of the most significant trading ports on the continent’s east coast and a crucial stop for caravans transporting slaves and ivory. It’s an amazing village that offers a window into the past. It shares a boundary with Saadani National Park on the southwest side; it takes an hour to get there after passing via Makurunge Junction.
TOURIST ACTIVITIES IN SAADANI NATIONAL PARK
This activity is free to participate in and runs from 6:30 to 17:30 HRS. While the roads are easily accessible during the dry season, four-wheel drive (4X4) safari vehicles are advised.
River Cruising at Wami River
This activity lasts no longer than two hours and is undertaken from the Wami River to the estuary area.
Unwind on an immaculate, glittering Indian Ocean beach.
Mafui Sandbank visit.
Visitors who want to picnic, swim, or see various marine species frequently visit this sandbank. Corals and other organisms like starfish are commonly found. Professional snorkeling and diving operations are carried out using individual tourist equipment.
Boating and canoeing safari
Discover the delights of the renowned Wami River, a haven for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. The Wami River is a prime example of breathtaking natural beauty that is teeming with wildlife and birds. Due to the numerous hippos in front of the suites, the boat safari departs from your lodge and takes you to the river mouth. Numerous crocodiles, hippos in herds, osprey, colobus monkeys, and several bird species can be seen along the trip. Every journey on the Wami is unique.
Taking a walking safari with a knowledgeable safari guide is the best way to experience the area. It is strongly advised against going on a solo walk. You may walk through lowland coastal woods, acacia woodlands, and dry riverbeds that are cooled by the Indian Ocean nowhere else in Tanzania but here. You begin your walking Tanzania safari in a tropical jungle and travel to a coastal savannah. The knowledgeable guide will demonstrate the area’s distinctive flora and fauna.
ACCOMMODATION IN SAADANI.
The park offers a variety of lodging options, both inside and outside the park. There are lovely public and special camping areas inside the park. A privately owned lodge with a capacity of 30 beds is located inside the park and is called Saadani Safari Lodge.
In the park, there are two (2) public campsites with basic amenities including water, kitchens, and restrooms that may accommodate up to 50 campers each day. Visitors should bring their camping supplies.
There are two (2) special campsites in the park (Tengwe and Kiwandi), which are undeveloped and naturally wild.