Saadani National Park | Tanzania Parks
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Saadani National Park
Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast for an Indian Ocean beachfront, it as well possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands very popular with European sun-worshipers. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!
Protected as a game reserve since the 1960s, in 2002 it was expanded to cover twice its former area. The reserve suffered greatly from poaching prior to the late 1990s, but in recent years a marked turnaround has been seen, due to a concerted clampdown on poachers, based on integrating adjacent villages into the conservation drive.
Today, a surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates are seen on game drives and walks, among them include giraffes, buffaloes, warthogs, common waterbucks, reedbucks, hartebeests, wildebeests, red duikers, greater kudus, elands, sable antelopes, yellow baboons and velvet monkeys.
Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are inhabitants, together with leopards, spotted hyenas and black-backed jackals. Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come along with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine and riverine birds, including the mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo. The beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.
I booked my safari holiday through Serengeti trips. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
Daear William, Just to let you know we had a great adventure at Saadani National Park. All went well. Saw chimps every day and lots of them on first and last day.
When to go to Saadani
You can be sure of a fascinating safari and beach visit to Saadani Park at any time of the year, although it is best to check on the condition of the roads if planning to travel in the south of the park during the long rains between March and May when bird watching is at its best with local avian life donning breeding plumage and migrants settling in their hundreds.
Although accommodation may be slightly cheaper, logistical costs remain the same or even higher due to unavoidable delays on sometimes impassable roads since heavy and continuous rains, carried by changing monsoon winds, raise humidity as temperatures also rise. Some lodges close at this time. This equatorial season can still be pleasant for the seasoned travelers and enjoyable too, although this is the time for long sleeves and trousers to protect you from mosquitoes.
From June to August, with grass still lush for grazing, herds of ungulates as well as elephants, warthogs, bush pigs, hunted by hyena, as well as more elusive lion, leopard and uncommon cheetah, can be seen with the local tracking expertise of your guide but with great luck for the predators. Temperatures are coolest, and winds seem stronger, so much so, that light a fleece may be necessary in the mornings and evenings. Game is easier to spot as it moves in from tall grass savannah to well-grazed land near waterholes and riverside plains. Hippo and crocodile are closely clustered on the banks of shrinking permanent water sources.
From June to September is the favorite time for a personalized tour in Saadani Park, although it never gets crowded. It is sunny and dry with light breezes and few mosquitoes, and animals traverse in varied areas of the park and its outskirts to few remaining freshwater sources from August onwards. Later in October and early November, the first short rains stimulate the growth of meadow flowers, and migratory birds start to gather on their favorite seasonal ranges.
Winds get stronger, and coastal accommodation may look out on choppy white-horse waves rather than serene blue seas. Another good time for game viewing in Saadani is in January and February after the first short rains with a brief hot season in East Africa when animals begin to return to verdant pastures and the scenery is at its most beautiful. Authentic bush travel in Africa does not get more varied and rewarding than in Saadani National Park.
Getting to Saadani National Park
Saadani is usually visited from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar, and there are scheduled flights connecting all three. The lodges in Saadani also organize road and boat transfers from Dar es Salaam on request.
Your entry point in Tanzania is usually Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) near Dar es Salaam. In most cases, your tour operator will pick you up from the airport and handle all further ground operations or domestic flights. Chartered flights from Arusha town, the base for the northern safari circuit, are also available.
Activities in Saadani
Where to Stay in Saadani
There are two main categories of accommodation in Saadani; tented camps and lodges, in two main categories. The ranking are based on factors, including location, authentic reputation, service, guiding standards, accommodation quality and more. A lodge complex serving a high number of visitors, even in an utterly gorgeous location, ranks lower than an isolated and exclusive site with more personalized attention.
A luxury accommodation with international standards of rooming and modern aesthetics on a popular route may command a lower rating than an authentic, eco-friendly wilderness bush camp with great food, rustic luxury and enthused personable service. Standards of comfort, design, furnishing, amenities, cuisine, logistics, accessibility, guiding, and range of available activities are all taken into account.
In general, all accommodations in Saadani have comfortable beds, mosquito proofing, en-suite bathrooms, private balconies or decks, wholesome, locally produced food, and good game-viewing. More up-market locations may offer fine dining as opposed to buffets, or may have swimming pools, spas and boutiques, 24-hour electricity, air-conditioners, television, Wi-Fi, stand-alone baths, but there is also a high value placed on an authentic, unpretentious Tanzanian wilderness safari experience with open-air bush showers of smoke-scented water, fire-cooked meat potjes and wildlife no further away than your tent flap.
Saadani National Park Customer review
Affordable and we enjoyed our Safari with Serengeti Trips.!
Nov 2018 • Friends
We did 2 days 1 night Safari in Saadani National Park from Dar Es Salaam with Halisi African Adventures And Our guide/driver France was fantastic. He was taking pride in showing us the best. We Saw a lot of animals plus much more. He was diligent, safe, knowledgeable about plants, animals, roads and routes. All and all this trip with Halisi African Adventures was a total success. After shopping around, their prices are also very competitive.
Highly recommend Halisi African Adventures to everyone who wish to visit Tanzania.
Saadani National Park FAQ
Being the only National Park that harbors both marine and terrestrial habitats, Saadani has plenty of marine life and large numbers of wild animals. It is not surprising to encounter wild animals on the beach in this coastal Park.
YES! Saadani National Park’s coastal location is ideal if you’re looking for both bush and beach in one destination. It is the only bush-meets-beach wildlife sanctuary in East Africa making it wonderfully unique and worth a visit if your route permits. At 1100km-square, Saadani is a comparatively small park.
Depending with where in Africa, JANUARY TO MARCH/Great game viewing at cheaper prices. This is the dry season, so animals are easier to spot in the shorter grasses and around waterholes.
A 6-Day (5-Night) private safari in the national parks of Northern Tanzania can cost about $2600 (per person, per day). An 8-Day (7-Night) private safari in the Northern Circuit (including big five game drives and cultural tours) can cost around $3600 (per person, per day).
Plan on at least two weeks. That should allow for at least three different camps in different areas, for three nights each. Generally, you get an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive each day, so two full days in each camp almost guarantees that you’ll see a lot.
Depending on how many destinations you are planning to include in your itinerary, about 3 to 4 nights would be enough time at a safari camp. This would give you plenty of time to spot the wildlife on your bucket list, but also some time to enjoy the lodge.
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.