Saa Nane National Park safaris, tours & holidaysMwanza's floating zoo
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This tiny island-bound national park offshore of the port city of Mwanza offers an introduction to the common birds and reptiles associated with Lake Victoria.
Gazetted as a 2.2-square-kilometre national park in 2013, Saa Nane is a small, rocky island in Lake Victoria – the world’s second-largest freshwater body – within eyeshot of, and an easy boat ride from, the bustling port city of Mwanza.
The island was set aside for wildlife in the 1960s, initially for rare species that were later released onto Rubondo Island, then as little more than a zoo, and a rather dispiriting one at that. Thankfully, most of the captive wildlife is gone, and the indications are that the island is now to be recreated as a centre for Conservation and Wildlife Education.
When I last visited Saa Nane, it was little more than a glorified zoo that offered some good incidental birdwatching. It remains to be seen whether that will change now that it has been proclaimed a national park!
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If Saa Nane is of interest to tourists at all, it would be for its naturally occurring wildlife, much of which is typical of the Lake Victoria basin. These include colourful agama lizards, outsized monitor lizards, rock-loving hyraxes and localised bird species such as swamp flycatcher, yellow-throated leaflove, grey kestrel and slender-billed weaver. However, while the island makes for a worthwhile diversion should you happen to be in Mwanza, few would cite it as tourist destination in its own right.
Saa Nane Island Map
Saa Nane Island's location on Google Maps