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Tanzania’s only wildlife sanctuary bordering the sea, Saadani National Park has a huge variety of wildlife including lion, leopard, zebra, giraffe, elephant, buffalo, hippo, hyena, vervet monkey and colobus monkey.

Located in the centre of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar, this uncrowded park covers 1,100 square kilometres. Sharing its boundary with the Indian ocean - and the Wami River - it offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting. About 30 species of larger mammals are present, as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Green turtles come to its beaches to breed, and black and white colobus monkeys frolic in the canopy of the forest.

The humid savannah of Saadani National Park can be divided into three easily distinguishable types; tall grass savanna with herbaceous cover growing up to two metres and scattered palms; short grass grazing land mostly situated on former sisal plantation and black cotton plains where the clay soil creates particular harsh conditions. From East to West, the open ocean with coral reefs changes to brackish water ecosystem characterized by mangrove forest, salt pans and bare saline areas. Further inland, the Wami River is the most important fresh water source beside numerous temporary rivers and dams.

At low tide the sea retreats up to 100 metres, forming a convenient passage for local people and wild animals.  The marine extension of the park includes the Mafui sandbanks, whose colourful coral reefs are important breeding site for many fish species.

Once an important harbour town and east African slave trading centre Saadani is a small Swahili village with about 800 inhabitants whose livelihood is mostly fishing. Other villages, adjacent to the park, make their living through farming especially coconut growing.

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, hippo, Grévy’s zebra, Burchell’s zebra
  • Where: Eastern Tanzania (Indian Ocean), Tanzania