Where is Saadani?
Saadani is geographically the closest reserve to Dar es Salaam (130km), offering an irresistible combination of beach and wildlife viewing. Saadani also sits almost directly opposite Zanzibar’s Stone Town, located approximately 42 km away. Flights from Zanzibar to Saadani take just 15 minutes.
The east coast of Africa has a long and rich cultural history and Saadani has always been at the centre. It was first mentioned in writings by Indian traders in the sixth century AD and has been an important trading area for much of the last millennium. In the nineteenth century, Saadani was one of the major ports on the coast and vied with Bagamoyo for the position of trading capital.
Bagamoyo eventually won out because there were less cannibalistic tribes through whose territory the trade caravans passed!
Richard Burton, the famous explorer wrote a full chapter about Saadani, and its people in 1857, whilst searching for a reliable source of gum copal, used then to make coach varnish.
Even today, there are many historical ruins in and around the Saadani area. These include the Old Boma and graveyard in Saadani village and ruins of ancient settlements in both Mkwaja Village and inside the plot of A Tent With A View.
Unique Coast, River & Bush:
The combination of beach and big game is unique in Tanzania.
Whilst the diversity of animals is comparable to most parks, it is the numbers and accessibility which we have been working on with TANAPA.
Large game currently seen include giraffe, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, sable antelope, eland, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, greater kudu, warthog, hyena, mongoose, civet, serval, caracal, baboon, black and white colobus, crocodile, hippo, three species of duiker as well as a great variety of birdlife.
Saadani is dominated by acacia woodland and coastal thickets. It also protects a large area of mangrove swamps along the coastline North from the Wami river, and includes several species of palm including the mysterious looking 'walking palm', which is not actually a palm at all!
Dolphins are sometimes seen offshore and whales pass through the Zanzibar channel on their migration. Of particular interest is the green turtle project at Madete Marine Reserve. This endangered species is under particular threat from fishing practices offshore from Saadani and a conservation project has been established to help protect both turtles and their eggs.