Saadani Day Trip

Posted by Karl on Tue February 15, 2022.

Whilst visiting Kijongo Bay Resort, why not take a trip to Saadani National Park?

Saadani Adventures

Giraffe silhouette, Saadani National Park

It’s four forty-five in the morning, when the alarm first goes off, I’m not sure if hitting the snooze button was a good idea or not. After a quick shower, the idea of such an early morning start, while on vacation, doesn’t seem so bad now. Well, it’s just after five am and I am on my way to the restaurant for coffee and muffins, before setting off, for a game drive.

As we set off just before sunrise, the 45 min drive to the national park is a kaleidoscope of changing colours as the sun rises. Passing through a couple of small villages along the way, and seeing Tanzania welcome in a new day, makes the trip pass very quickly.

Kijongo Bay Resort game viewer

A quick stop at the gate to pay park fees and to do the necessary paperwork, we only have to lift the roof on the custom built game viewer and we are off on our adventure. The pop-up roof provides a great photography platform.

African buffalo

Well let’s be honest, Saadani National Park is not anything like the Serengeti and cannot be compared to any of the national parks up north. Saadani is truly unique, being a national park that has a marine park attached, including kilometres of unspoilt beaches. Having 4 of the big 5 is a bonus, but a sighting of the cats or elephants is a highlight, not a guarantee. Big herds of buffalos, however, are often spotted.

Warthogs, Saadani National Park

The landscape is very diverse, from thick bush to open plains to beach, it is ever changing as we drive. The animals we are spotting are a very mixed bag of herbivores. Waterbuck seem to dominate the list, but buffalo, reedbuck, zebra, giraffe, warthogs, duikers and impala all add to the excitement of the day. There is evidence of elephants every couple of kilometres, dung piles and vegetation on the road. Unfortunately no elephants were seen today.

African fish eagle

The bird life is as good at Saadani National Park as any other national park in Tanzania. On this day we spotted a tawny eagle, brown snake eagle, bateleur, yellow billed kite, palm nut vulture, fish eagle, helmeted guinea fowl, pied kingfishers, malachite kingfisher, hamerkop, egrets, purple heron, and grey heron, just to name a few. This was before breakfast.  One of the highlights on the birding front was finding over 100 white backed vultures on a giraffe carcass. What killed the giraffe we will never know, but I am hoping it was the lions we did not see.

White backed vultures on a giraffe carcass, Saadani National Park

We stopped at a pleasant spot along the beach for our breakfast picnic, which consisted of a boiled egg, a well packed wrap, and fruit, followed by a short walk along the deserted beach. This must be one of the best breakfast spots in Tanzania.

waterbuck, Saadani National Park

After spending around 6 hours exploring the national park, we headed out of the gate to return to Kijongo Bay Resort for a late lunch.

Giraffe, Saadani National Park

For anyone who wants to sleep in a little later, Kijongo Bay does offer an afternoon safari. The afternoon safari departs at around 11h00 with a picnic lunch, returning back to Kijongo in time for dinner.

Tawny eagle, Saadani National ParkTawny Eagle