Saadani was gazetted as a national park in 2002. It is where the beach meets the bush. The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront, it possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands so popular with European sun-worshippers. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole! It can also be reached by charter flight from Zanzibar or Dar with possibility of scheduled flights in the future, road shuttle from Dar, taking four hours in either direction. No road access from Dar along the coast – follow the surfaced Moshi road for 160km (100 miles), then 60km (36 miles) on dirt. Road access from Tanga and Pangani except after heavy rain. Generally accessible all-year round, but the access roads are sometimes impassable during April and May. The best game-viewing is in January and February and from June to August.
A surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates is seen on game drives and walks, among them giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, red duiker, greater kudu, eland, sable antelope, yellow baboon and vervet monkey. Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal. Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine and riverine birds, including the mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo, while the beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania and guided walks. Boat trips. Swimming. Visit Saadani fishing village, which lies within the reserve, where a collection of ruins pays testament to its 19th century heyday as a major trading port.