Saadani National Park Tanzania
About 70km north of Bagamoyo along a lovely stretch of coastline, and directly opposite Zanzibar, is tiny Saadani National Park a 1000-sq-km patch of coastal wilderness. Unpretentious and relaxing, it bills itself as one of the few spots in the country where you can enjoy the beach and watch wildlife at the same time. It’s easily accessed from both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar as an overnight or weekend excursion and is a good choice if you don’t have time to explore further afield, although it cannot compare with Tanzania’s better-known parks and reserves. About 25km north of Saadani’s northern Madete Gate is the long, mostly deserted and stunningly beautiful Sange beach, with several places to stay.
To the south of the reserve is the languidly flowing Wami River, where you’ll see hippos, crocodiles and many birds, including lesser flamingos (in the delta between July and October), fish eagles, hamerkops, Kingfishers and bee-eaters.
While terrestrial wildlife-watching opportunities are modest, animals are definitely present. In addition to hippos and crocs, it’s quite likely that you’ll see giraffes, and elephant spotting are increasingly common (we saw a herd of 50-plus on one visit). With luck, you may see Lichtenstein’s hartebeests and even lions, although these are more difficult to spot. Birding is very good.