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Best Saadani Safari tours

Best Saadani Safari tours

Best Saadani Safari Tours

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. It is the only park in East Africa with an Indian Ocean beachfront. It’s the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or animals coming to drink at the nearby waterhole. Also, a sight to behold are the Swahili fishermen casting their nets at sunrise.

Wildlife isn’t abundant, and the park is more a beach destination within the bush. Commonly seen on drives are elephant, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, wildebeest, yellow baboon and vervet monkey. Hippo, crocodile and a selection of waterbirds can be encountered on boat trips. Saadani’s wildlife specials are the shy red duiker, the endangered Roosevelt’s sable and green turtles, for which the park is a breeding site.

How to get to Saadani National Park

The Selous Game Reserve was first designated as an area for protection in 1896 by the German Governor of Tanganyika Hermann von Wissmann.

In 1905, it was developed into a hunting reserve and in 1922 received its name – Selous Game Reserve – and was formally founded (its use as a hunting reserve is no long over). 

It was named after the famous hunter and friend of colonialist Cecil Rhodes, Frederick Courtney Selous. He died in 1917 at the hand of a German sniper and was buried in the game reserve in Beho Beho.

Only in the 1940s did it reach such a huge size, and in 1982 it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2019, the Tanzanian government under President Magufuli carved out a sizable chunk of the territory to create a new national park, put under the control of TANAPA, the national park agency.

President Magufuli also planned the erection of a mega dam to support surrounding villages with hydroelectricity. This decision has been hugely criticized by conservationists and economists alike. 

Tanzania National Parks on Map

Wildliefe and Scenery

Herds of up to 30 elephant are occasionally seen. Saadani harbors a small population of Roosevelt’s sable, an endangered species found otherwise only in Nyerere National Park and Kenya’s Shimba Hills. 

The beaches in and around Saadani form one of the last major breeding sites for green turtle in Tanzania. Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come with a high chance of seeing hippo, crocodile and a selection of marine and riverine birds.

Hotels in Saadani National Park


Weather and Climate

Being located close to the equator and on the coast of the warm Indian Ocean, Saadani experiences tropical climatic conditions. There are two Wet seasons. The ‘long rains’ (March to May) and the ‘short rains’ (October to November). Thunderstorms are common during the afternoons in the Wet season, but it seldom rains all day. Average temperatures stay high year-round.

  • June, July, August & September – It’s mostly sunny and rain is at a minimum. This is the coolest time of the year. Afternoon temperatures average 31°C/88°F. It cools off at night with temperatures of 21°C/70°F at the lower end of the range.

Wet SeasonOctober to May

Just as the rest of the year, temperatures vary little throughout the Wet season. Afternoon temperatures are usually around 33°C/91°F, and night temperatures are around 23°C/73°F.


Things to do in Mahale Mountains National Park

Visitors can embark on a game drive to explore the vast savannahs and woodlands of Saadani National Park. Visitors can encounter various wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and buffalos.

Taking a boat safari is an excellent way to explore the Wami River, which flows through Saadani National Park and offers a chance to see crocodiles, hippos, and a variety of bird species.

For those who prefer a more active and up-close experience with nature, walking safaris are available in Saadani National Park. These guided walks offer a chance to explore the park’s forests and discover its diverse flora and fauna.

Saadani National Park is unique in its beautiful beach on its coast, where visitors can enjoy various activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.

Visitors can take a cultural tour to nearby villages to interact with the locals and learn about their traditional way of life and culture.

Overall, Saadani National Park offers a range of activities for visitors, whether it’s a wildlife safari, a beach getaway, or a cultural experience.

3 Days Gombe - Chimpanzee

Where to Stay in Saadani National Park

Saadani Safari Lodge

Location: 4 hour-drive from Dar es Salaam, at the heart of the Saadani National Park. Accommodation: 9 twin or double en-suite cottages set along the beach.

Activities: Swimming, bird watching, boat rides.

Facilities: Conference center, internet connection, study tours



A Tent with a View

Location:Located on the Mkwaja coastline, just outside the north-east boundary of Saadani National Park.

Accommodation: 10 luxury en-suite tented bandas, 8 perched on stilts and 2 at beach level with large balconies.

Activities: Foot safaris, bird watching by canoe on Mafue River, game drives, boat safaris on Wami River, visits to Madete Marine Reserve – a green turtle nesting site.



When to go

The best time for watching wildlife in Saadani is after the rains, in January and February, and from June to August, when there is still plenty of water on the plains and wildlife stays within the park. 

As a general bush/beach break destination Saadani is good to visit most of the year, except during the peak of the rains from April to May.

Saadani National Park Safari tours FAQ's

  • Saadani offers a unique blend of wildlife and beach experiences in Tanzania.
  • It’s the only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa that borders the ocean, making it a truly one-of-a-kind destination.
  • In addition, the park is less crowded than other popular destinations, giving visitors a more exclusive and intimate experience.
  • Furthermore, Saadani National Park is a conservation success story, with ongoing efforts to protect and restore the local ecosystem.
  • Finally, the park allows visitors to learn about and support sustainable tourism initiatives in Tanzania.

Saadani National Park is unique because it is the only national park in Tanzania located directly on the Indian Ocean. This park offers a rare opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife and marine life in the same place.

Visitors can see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, and many other animals in their natural habitats as well as dolphins, humpback whales, and sea turtles in the ocean.

Another unique aspect of Saadani National Park is its rich history and cultural heritage. The park is located in a historic area that was once a major trading center and has been inhabited by various ethnic groups for centuries.

There are several challenges that visitors may face when going to Saadani National Park. Some of the main challenges include the following:

Accessibility: Saadani National Park is located in a remote area, which makes it difficult to access. The nearest major town is Dar es Salaam, approximately 300 km away, and the roads leading to the park can be rough and challenging to navigate.

Accommodation: While couple lodges and campsites are located within the park, the accommodation options are limited and expensive. Visitors should also book their accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist season.

Health and safety: Saadani National Park is located in a malaria-prone area, and visitors are advised to take anti-malaria medication and use mosquito repellent. Additionally, visitors should be cautious of wild animals when on safari and always follow their guide’s instructions.

Yes, it is possible to see marine life in Saadani National Park. The park is unique in its beautiful beach on its coast, which offers visitors a chance to see various marine life, including dolphins, whales, a diverse range of fish species, and turtles.

Visitors can also go snorkeling in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean, where they may encounter a variety of colorful fish and other marine creatures. So, Saadani National Park is a great destination to explore if you are interested in marine life.

The entry fees for Saadani National Park depend on the visitor’s nationality and the duration of their visit. Here are the current entry fees for the park:

Tanzanian citizens and East African residents:
Adult: TSH 10,000 per person per day
Child: TSH 2,000 per child per day

Non-East African residents:
Adult: USD 20 per person per day
Child: USD 10 per child per day

Adult: USD 35 per person per day
Child: USD 20 per child per day

Located on the east coast of Tanzania, a short 20-minute hop by plane from the island of Zanzibar.

Visitors can expect to find elephant herds, lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, waterbuck, yellow baboons, hippos, red duike, bushbuck and green turtles. 

Arusha transfer to Saadani