Saadani National Park safaris, tours & holiday packagesWhere the beach meets the bush
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Though it's better known for its biodiversity than for Big Five game viewing, Saadani is the last place in East Africa where lions and elephants still roam the beach.
Gazetted as a national park in 2006, the former Saadani Game Reserve was until recently one of the most obscure, heavily poached and undeveloped conservation areas in East Africa. The 1,062-square-kilometre park is still quite obscure, but the creation of several small beachfront tented camps and improved anti-poaching measures have led to its emergence as genuinely worthwhile, albeit low-key, safari destination.
Despite the presence of lion and leopard as well as reasonably regular sightings of buffalo and elephants, it cannot really be billed as a classic Big Five destination. However, Saadani is probably the best place in Tanzania to see greater kudu, sable antelope and red duiker, while giraffe, warthog, yellow baboon and various other antelope are also common.
Saadani is very different to any other major East African reserve. It's more a place for the experienced connoisseur than a first-time safarigoer, with the main highlights being sightings of localised antelope and birds. But it's a compelling and unique tract of bush. And the beach is fantastic, too!
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The park includes around 20 kilometres of lovely Indian Ocean frontage, including a good swimming beach that doubles as a regular breeding site for green turtles. It is also frequented by traditional fishermen from the small but historic Swahili village of Saadani.
A highlight of any visit are boat trips on the Wami River. Here you are likely to see plenty of hippos and crocodiles, along with a good selection of marine and riverine birds such as mangrove kingfisher, Pel’s fishing-owl and various herons, storks and waders.
Another attractive feature of the park is the guided walks that leave from the camps every morning. These offer a good chance of seeing various antelope on foot, as well as an interesting selection of woodland birds associated with coastal scrub.
Saadani's location on Google Maps