SAANANE ISLAND (A national park within an island)


Not every day do you get to cross a body of water to get to a national park. The park is located in Mwanza region at  the Northern part of Tanzania in the coast of Lake Victoria.

What fascinates me about this park is not only the fact that its an island but its the first national park located within a city. The island can be accessed by a regular short boat ride of about 5 minutes from the park’s office in the mainland. The office itself is accessed by a 15 minute short walk from the city centre.

Photo source: Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB)

A little history about the island, the name ” Saanane” comes from the name of the former owner of the Island Mzee Saanane Chawandi a fisherman turned farmer who moved to another island to pave way for conservation efforts in the 1960s. The Island became the government’s property in 1964 as the first government owned zoo. The island became an official national park in July 2013.


The Park is home to animals such as the Impala, Zebra, Rock hyrax, Velvet monkey and Wild cats. Reptiles like crocodiles, monitor lizards, Agama lizards, Pancake and Leopard tortoises, and snakes particularly pythons are also found in the island.  The aquatic part of the park habits a variety of fish species mainly the Nile perch and Tilapia.

Another unique feature of the island is that its the only park in the country that hosts the De-Brazza monkey.

De-Brazza monkey.

The park is an ideal place for game viewing, Photography and filming, Walking, picnics, Bush lunches, meditation, Rock hiking, and bird watching (The island has around 70 bird species so its an ideal spot for bird watchers). The island closes at 5pm so make sure to plan your visit early.


Did you know?

Saa Nane National park is the smallest national park in both Tanzania and East Africa with an area of approximately 2.1 square kilometers.

If you’re considering visiting the island and have any enquiries or further questions please do not hesitate to contact us. And while you’re at it, your comments and feedbacks will be much appreciated. Until next time, take care and safe travels!

Your Rafiki blogger here,

Signing out!



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