Tanzania National Parks – Combine the Best Experiences
Tanzania national parks can broadly be divided into North, South and West amongst which are the most famous safari destinations but also a few hidden gems.
19 Tanzania national parks and nature reserves in Tanzania cover about 37% of the country. These 155,000 square miles of protected areas are home to an incredible 310 mammal species, including the Big Five and over 910 different types of birds.
Saadani National Park is the only Tanzanian reserve bordering the ocean. It may not be the best park for game viewing but does have elephants and buffalo as well as less common red forest duikers and Roosevelt’s sable. The park is a green turtle breeding site and there you may spot humpback whales and dolphins from the coast.
Size: 410sq miles / 1,062 km²
Notes: It’s the closest park to Zanzibar with connected flights.
Saadani National Park’s coastal location is ideal if you’re looking for both bush and beach in one destination. It is the only bush-meets-beach wildlife sanctuary in East Africa making it wonderfully unique and worth a visit if your route permits.
At 1100km-square, Saadani is a comparatively small park. However, what it lacks in size, it makes up for with the variety of safari it offers as well as the diversity of its terrain. Saadani is steeped in history, located in the centre of Bagamoyo to the south, Pangani to the north and Zanzibar to the east. Relics of a long trading and cultural history can be identified, with a keen eye, around current small settlements and even within our Simply Saadani Camp. The coastal and river location features mangrove and salt flats.
A fantastic area just south of Simply Saadani Camp are the salt flats and the location of Babs’ Camp in the elephant Island private conservancy. This is a superb area for foot safaris where one can get out of the game drive car and wander the salt flats studying the myriad animal prints.
The park is home to about 30 species of large mammals including elephant, lion & buffalo. In fact, one unexpected discovery over the years are the huge herds of elephant that move together. The park might have lower numbers in total with fewer herds but greater numbers per herd making an elephant sighting here spectacular.
As well as healthy lion prides and large elephant herds, there are decent numbers of buffalo, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck as well as smaller antelope such as red duike and bush buck. A boat safari here is something extra to make a visit to this park well worth it and never fails to please. Enjoy your picnic lunch amongst fantastic hippo pods and crocs lounging on the banks of the Wami river.
Expanding the diversity of this park further is the Madete marine park which forms part of the park and preserves the endangered green turtle. The best time for hatchlings is July through to September and a wonderful thing to witness as the baby turtles hatch and immediately take to the enormous
Indian ocean probably never to return to the beach of its birth for up to 50 years.
The unusual mix of this park with the salt flats, Indian ocean, white sand beaches, marine park, river and mangrove makes this an incredibly diverse and special place which can be explored by car, on foot and by boat.
Best time to visit
The dry season of late June through October makes it easier to spot wildlife here who tend to gather around the various water holes scattered across the park. However, the Green Season months of January and February is a lovely time to visit when many young are born.
How to get there
Saadani National Park is the closest wildlife park to Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. It’s a 4-hour car journey from Dar and a 30-minute flight. From Zanzibar, it’s a short 20-minute hop by plane over the Zanzibar channel, making this an obvious, easy and less expensive safari destination and an obvious combination with Zanzibar beach.
Travel time to Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park : Where the Bush Meets the Beach
(5 Days/4 Nights)
Unique Saadani National Park is the only coastal wildlife park in East Africa and the closest park to both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. This 4 nights module can be extended or added to other Tanzanian parks and islands. Saadani is a great choice for families offering foot and also boat safaris as well as canoeing in addition to the usual game drives. Saadani is one of only two parks who offer boat safaris in Tanzania.
Duration: (5 Days/4 Nights)
Price From (based on 2 people sharing): US$2150 per Person
Type: Off the Beaten Track Tour
On arrival at Dar es Salaam/ Zanzibar international airport, meet your representative and transfer to the domestic terminal for your flight to Saadani national park. Arrive at the amazing 20 metre high stone structure tower at Babs’ camp with 2 en suite bedrooms, a private bar & the restaurant and its own fifth storey crows’ nest. After lunch and a rest, head for a late afternoon game drive which turns into a night drive back to the tower.
Today, you’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the Babs’ Camp tower before embarking on a fantastic day of game drives and a thrilling boat safari on the park’s Wami river.
Take an early morning game drive from the tower stopping for breakfast in the bush.. Later, drive a short distance to your second destination at the beautiful Simply Saadani camp on the beach.
Enjoy a morning walk to local fishing village of Mkwaja. After lunch back at the camp, head down to the wildlife research centre to learn about the camp’s conservation projects from collaring elephant and zebra to the upcoming lion
Today, say goodbye to Simply Saadani Camp and fly back to Dar es Salaam/ Zanzibar international airport for onward journey.