Saadani National Park covers 1000sq km and is a unique wilderness in a wonderful location within one of Tanzania’s most varied wildlife conservation areas. Here beach, bush and river come together in a colourful clash of ecosystems found nowhere else on the coast of East Africa.
In the Wami River, hippo and crocodile are prolific, literally a stone’s throw from the open sea. Plains game is plentiful and you might be lucky enough to see some of the big cats and elephants as they have occasionally been seen on the beach. The coastline stretches to the horizon in both directions and turtles and dolphins are often seen around the sand island offshore.
The lodge itself is nestled in a horse shoe bay on Tanzania's east coast. It is small and exclusive with just nine tented, grass-roofed cottages and two suites strung out along the beach.
Saadani proudly boasts Africa’s big four with rhino the only illusive element. Thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Park services, animals and birds can now find protective solace from the ravages of hunting and poaching. Game figures as a result have been steadily improving with species once prevalent returning back.
However what makes Saadani a unique destination is being able to study animal tracks in front of your room on the beach. Lion spore is often spotted as they amble past the lodge at night and intertwine with nocturnal regulars like civet cat, genet and sometimes leopard.
Accommodation is in nine tented cottages and five suites, including one family suite. The classic bandas are light and airy with cosy day beds on the verandas for afternoon siestas or nights sleeping almost under the stars. The cottages are twin or double with swathes of sail cloth adorning the ceilings, large romantic Zanzibar style nets and locally carved furniture. Each room has an ensuite bathroom with solar-heated shower and flush lavatory, livened up by sand floors, shell mosaics and the odd fist of driftwood.
Although there are not specific childcare facilities available, children over the age of 6 years are most welcome at Saadani Safari Lodge where food and meal times can easily be tailored to suit the younger guests. Babysitting can arranged for those that require it. The Maridadi Family suite is perfect for families.
The facilities at Saadani Safari Lodge include two swimming pools; one romantic rock pool hidden amongst the plants and one 24 meter infinity pool right on the remote beach. The lovely new restaurant focuses on the freshest seafood fusion dishes and there is a well stocked bar. The hotel offers guests internet access and a concierge will provide other administrative services. The lodge has its own private airstrip. There is also wifi access in a couple of places in the lodge.
Activities at Saadani Safari Lodge feature around the sea, the land and the Wami River. With walking safaris, birding walks, river boat safaris, snorkelling off the sand bank and game drives being common activities. It is also possible to arrange a Swahili village tour or a Swahili community visit.
When to travel
Situated only 6° south of the equator, Zanzibar enjoys ideal holiday weather. Temperatures average between 24°C and 27°C throughout the year with 7-9 hours of sunshine per day.
There are 2 rainy seasons: Acute, brief showers, lasting about an hour in the morning occur for a couple of weeks during November. The rains last slightly longer in April and May, but even then it does not rain every day. These rains replenish the Island and are often referred to as the “Green Season”.
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Location and directions
Saadani National Park, Tanzania
Saadani Safari Lodge is about 170km north of Dar es Salaam on the coast of East Africa in Tanzania. Saadani National Park is Tanzania’s youngest national park, covering 1150 square km in the east of the country.
How to get there
The easiest and most direct way to reach Saadani Safari Lodge is to fly to Dar es Salaam, on Tanzania's coast (9-hour 30-minute international flight). The Lodge is about 170km from the international airport, an approximate 4-hour. Alternatively, Saadani Safari Lodge has its own airstrip nearby. It is just a 20-minute flight from Dar es Salaam and a 15-minute flight from Zanzibar.