The Saadani National Park is a rare treat for those wanting to soak up a safari adventure beside the sea. This fertile strip of the land is the only wildlife sanctuary along the hot and humid coast of Tanzania and combines the best of both worlds for those travelers who don’t want to be landlocked in the depths of the African wilderness.
This spectacle of ocean and rainforest wilderness is a rare sight to behold as on the same day you can witness humpback whales splashing off shore and elephants trundling through the sweeping grasslands. At the Saadani you have the chance to explore the hot and earthy savannah, the thick and fragrant forests and the rushing rivers and vast expanse of ocean. No other park in the whole of Tanzania can offer such diversity in one sweet swoop.
In the long dancing grasses of the Savannah you can watch the Waterbucks graze, hear the hyenas call and even catch glimpse of a sloping lion if you are lucky. In the Saadani giraffes are numerous and it is a common sight to watch their long brown tongues wrap around the prickly Acadia trees and see them elegantly stumble through the bush. Herds of zebra also cross these grasslands and warthogs snuffle the dry and cracked soil in the hopes of finding something juicy to munch.
The sweet smelling mango groves that wrap around the shoreline of the Saadani provide a safe haven for many species of animal. Bright feathered bird’s perch on the branches, monkeys swing through the trees with armfuls of fruit and bats flit to rest easy in the shady trees as the sun rises. Reptiles lay in the cool shade beneath the trees as sea turtles waddle down to the soft sands to lay their eggs. The beaches are the perfect place to lie back in the glistening sun and catch sight of whales and dolphins playing in the gentle rollers, past where the wooden fishing boats bob against azure blue skies.
Along the Wami Rivers that meander through the mango groves of the Saadani National Park you can watch large groups of lazy hippos wallowing on the banks and see the scaled backs of crocodiles as they submerge down in the water like planks of driftwood. Along the river banks you can also spot a high number of wading birds such as fish eagles and beautifully plumed kingfishers.
In the coastal forests of the Saadani you can often spot shy elephants hiding in the dense thickets, spotted leopards stretching in the undergrowth readying for the days hunt and the mystical figures of the Greater Kudu Antelope drifting in and out of the leafy trees.
Tiny fishing villages dot the coastal shores and entrance to the Saadani National Park and these parts are alive with culture and resonant with Africa’s trading history. It is a wonderful experience to stop by the villages and interact with the locals who spend most of their life out on the Indian Ocean gathering fish.
Saadani combines the best of both worlds when it comes to the ultimate African safari, no other place can provide the refuge of the ocean breeze when trekking through the rainforest and to be able to bathe in the salty waters of the Indian Ocean after a hard day on Safari is a reward like no other. This idyllic piece of heaven is simply waiting to be explored and offers an endless bounty of activities for the adventurous heart. Beach, bush and river it would seem that the Saadani has it all.