Saadani National Park is Tanzania’s 13th National Park. Tourists can view animals basking along the Indian Ocean shores. It has an area of 1062 km2 and was officially gazetted in 2005, from a game reserve which had existed from 1969. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea.
Saadani’s wildlife population is increasing during recent years after it has been gazetted as a National Park and was a hunting block beforehand. Wildlife in Saadani includes four of the Big Five, namely lions, elephants, buffaloes and leopards. Maasai giraffes, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, common waterbucks, blue wildebeests, bohor reedbucks, common and red duikers, Dik-Diks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black-and white Colobus monkeys, civets, mongooses, genet cats, porcupines, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippopotamus, crocodiles, nile monitors are also found in the park.
Gazetted in 2005, it encompasses a preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani game reserve, the former Mkwaja ranch area, the Wami River as well as the Zaraninge Forest. In the late 1960s Saadani Village, the village after which the park has been named and particularly its sub-village Uvinje, invited the Tanzania Wildlife Division (WD) to help them to prevent the indiscriminate killing of wildlife prevalent in the area.
From this partnership Saadani village and the Wildlife Division established the Saadani Game Reserve, with the agreement to respect the land rights of the coastal sub-villages of Saadani, including Uvinje and Porokanya sub-villages, while also addressing the needs of wildlife.
As such, conservation interventions in the Saadani landscape have taken place since the mid-1960s and have been supported by villagers traditionally inhabiting the Saadani landscape, but it is only recently that state-managed conservation has become a growing concern among the villages adjacent to the park.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Domician Njao, from Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) came in to “upgrade” the reserve to a National Park, and create the first and only coastal national park of Tanzania. In doing so, park authorities redrew the boundaries of the reserve to include Uvinje’s and Porokanya’s prime coastal lands as if they have always been a part of the reserve (in so doing changing the agreement with those villagers). Compelling research shows how after this TANAPA proceeded to gazette most of Saadani’s coastal lands as part of the Saadani National Park in 2005, arguing that they have always being a part of the former reserve and belonged to the Park. Spatial analysis on the area of the former Saadani Game reserve, illustrates TANAPA’s strategy to gazette Saadani’s prime coastal lands as if they have always been a part of the SGR

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