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Saadani National Park – Tanzania

Saadani National Park is a one of a kind experience, where wild game animals and bush safaris meet the incredible Indian Ocean. Where else in the world can you wake up on the beach AND see animal tracks right outside your tent?

Game drives bring you close to all kinds of large creatures, including secretive leopards, basking buffalos and glimpses of rare antelopes. And if you are incredibly lucky you might see an elephant going for a cooling swim. This is a relaxing take on safari, no jostling for views or racing across the plains, it’s a gentle game of hide-and-seek with the wild inhabitants.

Get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs and take a guided walk, the best way to stumble upon sable antelope, zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, eland, hartebeest, wildebeest and giraffe! Or take a boat cruise on the Wami River, go canoeing to see the birds on the Mafui Creek and if the time is right then turtle hatchings are an amazing experience you don’t want to miss.

You can go snorkelling or swim in the warm waters of the ocean where marine species like dolphins and graceful humpback whales visit the area from time to time.

Once day turns to dusk the night creatures are out by the shore, once more. Maybe genet, civet or porcupine will pass your tent, or even an elephant or four?

About Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park is situated on the east coast of Tanzania, 130km north of Dar es Salaam and encompasses 1,062 square kilometres.

Saadani National Park is newly protected area as it was created in 2005 by combining the important biological areas of the Saadani Game Reserve, Mkwaja ranch, Wami River and Zaraninge Forest. It is the only national park in Tanzania that borders the ocean.

Indian traders first noted Saadani village in the 6th century and during the 18th and 19th centuries it played an important part in the ivory and slave trade. Nowadays it is mostly reliant on the fishing industry.

Main Attractions

Saadani is a unique place where bush meets the ocean. Its main attractions are:

  • Unique safari setting on the coast
  • Experience a different way of safari on a river cruise
  • Great bird watching
  • Swimming and relaxing on the beach


Safaris from bush to beach at Saadani NP

Game drives in the bush, a picnic or lunch on the beach. Where else is this possible? Saadani’s unique location make it a popular stop, although this is definitely still a park that is off the beaten path and you won’t see huge numbers of visitors here. Instead, you will have the feeling you have the park all to yourself.

River safaris in Saadani NP

Don’t forget to hop in the boat for a cruise on Wami River. It is a great way to see a different part of Saadani NP, the river and life around it. Animals come for a drink, hippos snort in the shallows, birds are on the lookout for a fish, and crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks. You might be lucky and see the elephants coming down for a drink.

Great bird watching in Saadani NP

Saadani is blessed with a huge variety of birds, including marine and riverine birds. When the migration birds come through, this number is increased again. It is a great place to add some new birds to your list.

Swimming and relaxing on the beach at Saadani NP

Where else in the world can you break up your game drive and go for a swim in the ocean or a stroll along the beach? It is a unique experience and one not to be missed.

How to get there

Fly to Saadani National Park

There is an airstrip at Saadani National Park, served by flights from Dar es SalaamArusha and Zanzibar.

Alternatively, you can book a flight to Dar es Salaam and drive from there.

Book your cheap flight to Saadani National Park with Tripindigo today.

Drive to Saadani National Park

From Dar es Salaam Airport it takes approximately 2 hours to drive to the southern entrance gate of Saadani NP. From the gate it is less than 30 minutes to drive to the park’s headquarters (where you pay your entry fee).

Best time to visit

The cool, dry months of spring from June to October and the hot and dry summer months of December to February are the best times to visit.

High season

Wildlife viewing is at its best in January and February, as well as from June to August when the plains have more water and the density of animals is highest. But at any time of the year you will spot the usual suspects on the open grassland like giraffe, water buck, reed buck, buffalo, warthog, hartebeest and wildebeest as well as yellow baboons and vervet monkeys.

Low season

During April and May, when the long rains happen, some of the roads in the park might become impassable. This is generally the least busy time in Saadani NP, but it is never really busy at any time of the year.

Best time to see migration birds in Saadani NP

From November to April the already large number of birds in Saadani NP increases with the incoming and passing migrants. More than 250 bird species have been recorded in Saadani NP so far.

Best time to see turtles hatch in Saadani NP

The main nesting season for the green turtle in Saadani NP is from February to July, this is when the female green turtle comes ashore and lays her eggs. Hatching happens around 55 days later and between June and September is your best chance to see this happen.


  • Famous explorer Richard Burton wrote about hunting for good wood varnish in Saadani in his book ‘The Lake Regions of Central Africa’, which was published in 1870.
  • The beaches of Saadani National Park are a breeding site for the green turtle.
  • Saadani National Park is the only wildlife game viewing park in East Africa right on the coast and monkeys and other animals are regularly spotted on the beach.

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