The Indian Ocean Coast – Saadani Game Reserve

10th March 2013

Is a curious little nature reserve stretching for 30km along the coast north of Bagamoyo, covering a small but unusual natural area contained within its 500 square kilometres. It remains underdeveloped and offers little alternatives for accommodation, but the wildlife population is varied, and includes small numbers of elephant lion, leopard, buffalo, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest and eland, and also rare red duiker and an unusual subspecies of ‘Roosevelt’ sable antelope. Take note that these are not always in evidence, and it is worth considering Saadani as a good coastal region in which to get away from the hubbub of the city and enjoy some fresh air with the potential of spotting some very wild wildlife while perhaps taking a river safari along the crocodile and hippo filled Wami River, or enjoying the beaches. The beaches are quite deserted but for the odd local fisherman lugging or selling his catch, and there are good opportunities for swimming, although the shelving is quite shallow and the water may be murky on account of the nearby river swirling up sand and sediment. The southern boundaries of the park border on this, WamiRiver, presenting good opportunities for scenic boat safaris, and in the north the shady canopies of ZaraningeForest makes for a cool region to explore on foot and discover a wealth of endemic plant and animal species within. You can also visit a small turtle sanctuary that has been established to save the green turtles lay their eggs along this sandy shoreline, and see young rescued turtles swimming blissfully protected in their pond before they come of age and are released back to the perils of the sea. The local village of Saadani at the centre of the reserve is also interesting to look around, and to search for signs of its once historic past. Like many of these coastal towns, Saadani was once a fairly important trading port and another terminus for slaves brought through the inland caravan routes, and then subsequently became a coastal town during German occupation, resplendent with a colonial fortress.

The Reserve makes an easy overnight or weekend excursion from Dar es Salaam, 45 minutes flying time or four or five hours driving time via Chalinze.

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