The Saanane national park is one of the national parks found in east Africa, particularly Tanzania. It was established as the first animal garden in the country by the government. Its establishment came as a result of the sole need to conserve the environment and natural resources as well as providing education to the society about conserving natural resources and environments as well. So, it was established purposely for the multiple need as explained above.


The Saanane national park was established as an animal garden in 1964 but later on, in 2013 it was declared a national park. The declaration by the government as the national park was a result of the agreement among the national assembly of the United Republic of Tanzania in December 2012 that sat down and agreed to expand the area from being a center for natural resources and conserving the environment to become the national park. Its establishment as an animal garden made it the first garden in the country to be reserved only for animals. It was then, recognized as the forest game reserve in 1991.

The source of the name Saanane;

The Saanane national park was named after the founder of the national park which was initially recognized as an animal garden called, Saanane Chawandi. Between 1964 and 1966 various wild animals were moved to Saanane island. Some of the animals were mbogo, elephant, pofu, zebra, crocodiles, swala pala, nungunungu, ngiri and twiga. Dangerous animals like hippos were also moved in groups and were isolated from other animals.

Size and location;

The Saanane national park has a size of 2.18 square kilometers and it is located about 2 kilometers southwest far from the center of the Mwanza region.

Some of the activities done on the island are like climbing rocks, watching animals, watching various species of birds on the island, walking trips, and canoeing by using native boats through agencies of tourism. These and some more other activities make the area so attractive and enjoyable when someone visits it.

Attractions of Saanane Island

The appearance of the Saanane island;

Saanane island provides a good visual impression whereby more domestic and foreign visitors are attracted to visit the place. This is also influenced by its location where it is not so far from the Mwanza town council. It is almost a walk on foot to the place. No charges are incurred by visitors. So, it is very simple for both domestic and foreign visitors to visit the national park.

Saanane National Park
Saanane Island

Presence of the great Lake Victoria; Lake Victoria also acts as an attractive force for visitors to visit Saanane island national park. It is one of the biggest and very potential water bodies in east Africa. It cuts across three east African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. Lake Victoria acts as one of the driving forces for visitors to visit the site.

The kind nature of tour guides and other workers in the island; the Saanane island national park is one of the tourist attractive places with the most kind and heartfelt workers. They are working tired less, generously, smart and any other creativity that attracts visitors. They deserve appreciation for the good work that they are doing. They are also encouraging and attracting some visitors to visit the place just because of their smartness.

Saanane island national park is wonderful and one of the best places for camping at night; When you think you should have somewhere to relax with your partner, it is only in Saanane island national park. There are good infrastructures for the visitors such as accommodation, meals and other needs in the beach. This is a really interesting national park in the country that everyone must enjoy and train their mind to relax.

The appearance of some of the animals near the Saanane island national park; is not so far from the island that you can be able to come into direct contact with some animals. The Park has not been endowed with so many tourist attractions specifically animals but the few present ones are very attractive and influential.

Saanane national park has cultural and natural feelings; visiting Saanane island national park means a lot to the indigenous people because it arouses the feeling of patriotism among visitors. The most ways of influencing people to visit the place are by using these natural attractions like describing the source of rocks in this awesome national park. Most visitors appreciate the tour to rocks while being able to view Lake Victoria.

It is a good and attractive place for hiking; When you are located in Mwanza or in any other place near the island you can prepare a tour just for hiking. Just because of the hiking exposure, one can prepare the hills and get ready for long walking.

A good number of animal and bird species; are not limited only to Serengeti and other famous national parks as most people think. They can also be found around Saanane island and national parks. It is very simple to the extent that one can come across the maximum number of 70 species of fish within a small island place like this one.

The entry fees are certainly cheap and affordable; the cost for reaching Saanane island national park is very affordable making it one of the fewest national parks in the world with such minimal amount as an attractive force for tourists. For instance, the costs for recording videos on an island are very affordable, hiring of grounds for a special occasion is also sounding cost that can be accommodated simpler than other national parks and reserves in the country and in the world at large.

The Saanane national park is very unique and popular in east Africa as the only smallest national park in the country and east Africa as a whole. When you travel throughout Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and other countries you can find nowhere the smallest national park as Saanane island national park. The Saanane island national park is also the only national park that is located in the city. It is located in the big city of Mwanza popularly determined as ‘the rock city.’

It is the home for some mammals such as the impala, velvet monkeys, wild cats, and the rock hyrax which are very rare in other national parks and reserves in the country. Also, the presence of the de-brazas monkeys which are said to be the species that are available in only the Saanane island national park in the country.

Reptiles as well, including lizards, crocodiles, leopard tortoise pancake, monitor lizards, and the presence of one of the very famous and dangerous animals known as python.

Saanane National Park
Birding at Sanaane

Also, the aquatic nature of the Saanane island national park is another tourist attraction; aquatic means living things that are located in the water bodies. It is very interesting to meet some fishes like the tilapia fish and the famous species known as the Nile perch. People can decide to go and visit the island for enjoying aquatic life.

Bush lunch and fast food are also available in the place; in Saanane island national park is very simple to get natural made food. It is very different for today and a few years ago when you compare the two. In some years ago we depended on most of the food imported from foreigners while ours were present in the country. This is total ridicule and just because it is our fate, I could like to advise all Tanzanians to spend much of our time getting these natural foods especially the bush lunches as they enhance our thinking capacity, maintain our health rather than artificial food which are not even nutritious to us.

How to reach Saanane island national park;

There are two or more ways to get to the Saanane island national park. These ways differ according to the place that visitors are coming from. For instance, visitors from Dar es salaam cannot have the same path as visitors from Mbeya. Some of them can easily visit the area by using water transport (boat) from Mwanza. An individual can visit Mwanza town council by using bus, flights or by using a train. From the Mwanza town council to the area is very simple whereby an individual can reach a place on foot. It may not be necessary for one to take private or public transport. An individual may walk for some meters to the main gate of the island. Then, one is almost at the Saanane island national park. Both domestic and foreign visitors may also use ferries to reach the place.

When should we visit Saanane island national park;

There is no specific season to visit the place since the environment is favorable for one to visit it any season of the year. for instance, birds vary from one species to another and are most available in the place in different seasons of the year. most of them are available during the green season from November to March. Also, in the dry season starting from June to August which is good and great for picnics, viewing of games, and hiking rocks.

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