Saanane island national park is the smallest national park and only national park in Tanzania that is located in the city ( Mwanza city)- the second Tanzania largest city after Dar es salam. Prior to being transformed into a zoo by the old Tanganyika government, the island was a typical one, wholly owned by Mzee Saanane Chawandi, a former fisherman who later became a farmer. Its prior owner received compensation and was permitted to relocate to another adjacent island.

Early conservation efforts resulted in the introduction of a few wild animals to the island, including crocodiles, buffalo, bush-back, dik-dik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, and warthog, as well as monkeys, giraffes, giraffes, wildebeest, and zebras. More aggressive animals, like rhinos, were caged. It was designed primarily as a recreational area for the residents of nearby Mwanza city when it was first opened in 1964.

Its initial area, which was mostly the island and the waters surrounding it, was about 0.7 square kilometers in size. Due to the island’s status as a wildlife sanctuary, the waterways surrounding it were highly crowded with numerous fish species, which led to an increase in undesirable activities like illegal fishing by locals who would fish as close to the island’s border as possible.

Saanane island national park
Saanane island national park

The nearby islands also developed into havens for criminal activity and environmental damage, necessitating frequent intervention by local administrations that, in contrast to TANAPA, lacked the resources and expertise.

As a result, the reserve for the islands was expanded to include the nearby Chandkende Kubwa and Chandkende Ndogo islands, which were all under the control of TANAPA, which could easily stop unlawful activities. Later, in 1991, the island’s status was converted from a zoo to a national park, and the majority of the animals were either released on the island at large or released into nearby national parks.

Saanane national park, one of two parks that are situated on an island in Lake Victoria (the other being Rubondo Island), is now the smallest national park Tanzania. At the moment, it serves as a serene retreat for those seeking to get closer to nature, enabling them to take a brief walking safari through its grounds. Although there is no accommodation on the island, visitors are welcome to use the grounds for quiet family picnics or other gatherings in exchange for a fee.

The majority of the park’s animals can still be seen roaming freely. There are still quite a few animals there. The island also offers unmatched views of the adjacent city and the lake’s waters, making it the ideal place for sightseeing or taking photos.

Saanane National Park’s location

On the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria, close to the city of Mwanza, is an island where you can find Saanane National Park. There is a price for admittance for the entire tour, and it is accessible via a quick, five-minute boat ride from the neighboring TANAPA offices on the mainland. Although its smaller sister islands are visible and nearby, access is not permitted.

Getting to Saanane Island National Park.

To get to the Saanane National Park, you can either take a car trip or an airplane from either Dar es Salaam or Kilimanjaro International Airports to Mwanza. In addition, trains run from Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, and Tabora to Mwanza City. Additionally, individuals go by ship or vessel from Uganda, Kenya, Bukoba, and neighboring islands to Mwanza Port. Regular short boat rides take around five minutes from the park offices on the mainland to the island. From the City Center, it takes about 15 minutes’ drive to these park offices.

Animals in the Saanane Island National Park

There are several mammals at the Saanane Island National Park, including Impala, Rock Hyrax, Velvet Monkeys, and Wild Cats. Crocodiles, Monitor and Agama lizards, Pancake and Leopard tortoises, and snakes, particularly Pythons, are among the other prominent reptiles in this area. Numerous fish species, primarily tilapia and Nile perch, live in the park’s aquatic areas. Wild animals of various species, such as buffalo, bushbuck, dik-dik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, warthog, wildebeest, zebra, and monkeys such as pats and vervet, as well as giraffe, porcupine, and crocodiles, were transported to the island between 1964 and 1966.

Tourist Activities: things to do in saanane island National Park

Despite being smallest national park in the country, this place has everything for everyone. Everyone can find something to do at the park. It offers all of its visitors something. It is a great location for game viewing, sightseeing, and Tanzania bird watching for those who enjoy animals.

Saanane island national park
Bird watching in Saanane

It has a variety of mammals, including rock hyrax and wild cats, as previously mentioned. Visitors can also enjoy seeing snakes, particularly pythons, and agama lizards. It is also the perfect location for anyone looking for an adventure experience like rock climbing or someone who wants to unwind by going fishing, boating, or practicing meditation. The park is great for family outings, birthday celebrations, photography, filming, team-building exercises, and much more.

It is possible to plan special events like weddings, engagements, team-building exercises, family days, and birthdays in this park. You can enjoy and engage in a huge variety of activities here. As a result, Tanzania’s Saanane Island Park Safari is undoubtedly the most interesting place to visit.

The Price of Saanane Island National Park

Tickets for access to the Saanane Island National Park are reasonably priced here. A visitor must pay $30 in park fees in addition to $35 for the boat’s return. Make the most of your Tanzania safari tours by traveling to Saanane Island National Park, which is a singular and wonderful place.

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