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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. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with the variety of safari it offers as well as the diversity of its terrain. Saadani is steeped in history, located in the centre of Bagamoyo to the south, Pangani to the north and Zanzibar to the east. Relics of a long trading and cultural history can be identified, with a keen eye, around current small settlements and even within our Simply Saadani Camp. The coastal and river location features mangrove and salt flats.
A fantastic area just south of Simply Saadani Camp are the salt flats and the location of Babs’ Camp in the elephant Island private conservancy. This is a superb area for foot safaris where one can get out of the game drive car and wander the salt flats studying the myriad animal prints.
The park is home to about 30 species of large mammals including elephant, lion & buffalo. In fact, one unexpected discovery over the years are the huge herds of elephant that move together. The park might have lower numbers in total with fewer herds but greater numbers per herd making an elephant sighting here spectacular.
As well as healthy lion prides and large elephant herds, there are decent numbers of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck as well as smaller antelope such as red duike and bush buck. A boat safari here is something extra to make a visit to this park well worth it and never fails to please. Enjoy your picnic lunch amongst fantastic hippo pods and crocs lounging on the banks of the Wami river.
Expanding the diversity of this park further is the Madete marine park which forms part of the park and preserves the endangered green turtle. The best time for hatchlings is July through to September and a wonderful thing to witness as the baby turtles hatch and immediately take to the enormous
Indian ocean probably never to return to the beach of its birth for up to 50 years.
The unusual mix of this park with the salt flats, Indian ocean, white sand beaches, marine park, river and mangrove makes this an incredibly diverse and special place which can be explored by car, on foot and by boat.
The dry season of late June through October makes it easier to spot wildlife here who tend to gather around the various water holes scattered across the park. However, the Green Season months of January and February is a lovely time to visit when many young are born.
Saadani is the closest wildlife park to Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. It’s a 4-hour car journey from Dar and a 30-minute flight. From Zanzibar, it’s a short 20-minute hop by plane over the Zanzibar channel, making this an obvious, easy and less expensive safari destination and an obvious combination with Zanzibar beach.