Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park which borders the sea covering an area of 1100km square is situated at the centre of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani as well as Zanzibar.
The climate is hot and humid offering a distinctive combination to mainland animals and vegetation as well as marine life in a culturally interesting setting. Over forty species of fish and 30 species of the large mammals and bird species in addition to reptiles can be found in the park.
The park was gazetted in 2005; and it includes the former Saadani Game Reserve, Zaraninge Forest, the former Mkwaja ranch area as well as the Wami River.
The park is home to a wide variety of both marine and mainland flora. It is a habitat to more than 30 species of larger mammals in addition to the many reptiles and birds found in the park. The ocean that is situated just nearby is home to a variety of fish species, humpback whale and dolphins.
Any time of the year has its own unique activities that can be carried out and different types of animals that can be spotted. There are a lot of activities happening around the waterholes between December and March because of the short rains. The best time to spot the crocodiles and hippo on the bordering Wami River is between June to September when it is coolest. Forest walk and game drives are also carried out in high numbers during this period.
Forests and shrubs
The forests that are found in the park are characterized by a high biodiversity. The forests also protect the soil from erosion and at the same time regulating the water cycle. The forest and shrubs is a habitat to many animals.
Animals that can be spotted in the park include elephants and leopards which mostly hide themselves in the thick forests and shrubs. Other animals living in woody areas are the Greater kudu, smaller antelopes and Colobus monkeys
The savanna of Saadani National Park can be categorized into three distinguishable parts; tall grass savanna, short grass grazing lands and black cotton plains
The animals that inhabit these areas include buffalo, hartebeests, waterbucks, antelopes, warthogs, giraffes, white-bearded wildebeests, hyenas, zebras, eland and other wild animals.
Other species that can be spotted include bushbucks, bushpigs, yellow baboon or vervet monkey
River and Ocean
The areas around the ocean are characterized by mangrove forest, salt pans and bare saline areas. Many fish species come to lay their eggs on the mangrove forest. The Wami River is essential in providing fresh water source including other temporary rivers and dams. It is also best for bird watching. The beaches around the ocean provide a place where turtles to lay their eggs, mainly the Green Turtle.
How to get there
The park is situated approximately 45km North of Bagamoyo. The park can be accessed through Wami River from Dar es Salaam via Bagamoyo. The park can also be accessed from Dar es Salaam through Chalinze Msata road where one has to drive for 200km.
On the northern side a traveler can reach the park from Tanga city by crossing Pangani River with a ferry which is about 75km away and takes 3 hours. From the park Zanzibar Island is also about forty kilometers away.
Those who are going to source for public transport to connect, there are daily bus services between Dar es Salaam and Saadani village as well as those heading to Tanga and Mkwaja village
Air transport to the park can also be organized to either Saadani airstrip or Mkwaja.
Where to stay
There are rest houses and bandas by TANAPA found near the park headquarters at Mkwaja and saandani village. There are other privately owned lodges and several campsites that are found within and outside the park where the visitors can relax while enjoying their safari to the park.