Saadani is Tanzania's newest National Park, finally gazetted at the end of the 1990's and as such is still very much a new frontier in the safari world. Located north of Bagamoyo on the Tanzanian coast, the much-touted "bush meets the beach" environment is of sufficient novelty as to be worth a visit should time allow. Granted, it is not a full version of either, and the promises of elephants frolicking on the beach are likely to remain denied to most visitors, but as a relaxing environment with the possibility of wildlife, it more than lives up to its promise.
There are two main areas, each with its own accommodation. The South, close to the park gate, is close to the Wami river, where a boat safari will always ensure sightings of hippo, small crocodiles and a wide selection of water birds. Similarly, a trip to the historic Saadani village, a former colonial outpost and pre-colonial port is an interesting walk out for a couple of hours. The Northern sector is of a different ecological cloth altogether, more palm-forested in regions and opening out into an area that was once a former ranch. Visits here have generally encountered better game, including some reasonable-sized groups of elephant, but it is very much seasonal depending on the water. The beaches here are, however, of a perfection worthy of the name, and if you consider the game-viewing to be part of a wider package, with beaches and solitude thrown in, then Saadani is a recommended addition to any safari itinerary.
Best time to visit:
Conversely, Saadani is good after the rains when water is plentiful and the wildlife stay within the protective confines of the park. Look at June, July, August but if you are simply interested in the ambiance of this most peaceful of parks, then year-round is good.
- Saadani Safari Lodge
- Tent With a view
- Vagabond Lodge