More About Saadani National Park

It has been recently upgraded from a game reserve to become the 13th National park in Tanzania. Saadani is Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary, the national park transformed from the old Saadani Game Reserve, Wami River Delta, and the South Mkwaja Ranch, which was bought in 1997 and donated to the Tanzanian government. The park has now a total area of almost 1,000 sq. kilometers. It is located 50 kilometers north of Bagamoyo Town. Mkwaja Saadani National Park contains a distinctive and rare habitat, (unique in East Africa) is a beach with salt grass flats along the Indian ocean.

At least 24 species of large mammals are found here, including the rare Roosevelt sable antelope, furthermore, the beach areas contain one of the last significant East African breeding beaches for the green turtle

At the Wami River mouth, there are large and still well-preserved mangrove swamps. The northern part, where was a cattle ranch, is dominated by a coastal lowland mosaic, presenting an exceptional variety of habitats, woodland, forest, coastal thicket, semi-arid scrub, grassland, wetlands, salt marshes, mangroves, and beaches. This vegetation has a considerable number of elephants, buffaloes, large antelopes, and the rare Giant brown bat. On the coast of the Indian Ocean, the park, have a unique landform, which includes several pristine sand dunes with interesting vegetation types.

The main and much recognizable natural feature of the park is the Zaraninge Forest, 200 square kilometers (50,000 acres) of closed canopy tropical forest. It is one of the larger coastal forests in Tanzania, and part of the “Eastern Arc and Coastal Forest for Kenya and Tanzania Hotspot. The forest dominates the western part of Mkwaja Saadani National Park. This is a part of the park that hosts new species of reptile (dwarf gecko), amphibian (Hyperolius parkeri), an endemic snail and many other species of invertebrates, 8 bird species, and large mammals.

African buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, and several antelope species and lions are all found in the southern portion of the national park, which is dominated by the Wami river and its delta. Mkwaja Saadani National Park with its complex ecosystem holds a large number of water birds including the greater flamingo, a high concentration of cetacean and an important population of crocodiles and hippos.

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