Sitting at the beach, sipping my Campari and listening to the waves, behind me hearing the sounds of elephants in the shrubs and the twittering of birds, I took a deep breath and suddenly felt as the sea and the river, the sky and the earth, the sands and the trees all became one… And I felt lucky: I was part of it!
Located in the centre of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar, Saadani National Park covers 1100km square. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea. The climate is coastal, hot and humid. It offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting. About 30 species of larger mammals are present as well as numerous reptiles and birds. Besides many species of fish (over40), green turtle, Humpback whale and dolphins also occur in the ocean nearby.Gazetted in 2005, it encompasses a preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani game reserve, the former Mkwaja ranch area, the Wami River as well as the Zaraninge Forest. From East to West, the open ocean with coral reefs changes to brackish water ecosystem characterized by mangrove forest, salt pans and bare saline areas. Further inland, the Wami River is the most important fresh water source beside numerous temporary rivers and dams.At low tide the sea retreats up to 100meters and form a convenient passage for local people and wild animals. These beaches are the only places North of Dar-es-salaam where sea turtles still come to lay their eggs. The most common species is the Green Turtle, the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles.