Saadani National Park was gazetted as a conservation area in 1960s (it was a game reserve at first and in 2002 it was made a national park). The park covers an area of 1,062 square kilometers and is the only east African park with an ocean beach front.
Animals are seen basking along the Indian Ocean shores. Before it was declared a national park it was maintained by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) with the objective to preserve the last coastal rainforest in the country. It was also run as a cattle ranch between 1952 and 2000. Hunting lodges had also been established on the coastal front of the park, which catered to the celebrities who came here for hunting game and to be away from the busy life in Dare es Salam.
The climate in this sea coast fronted park is hot and humid. Marine and mainland fauna reported in the park are of 30 species of large mammals, reptiles and birds. Wildlife in Saadani includes; four of the Big Five, namely lions, African bush elephants, Cape buffaloes and leopards. Masai giraffes, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbucks, blue wildebeests, bohor reedbucks, common and red duikers, Dik-Diks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, Colobus monkeys, mongooses, genets, porcupines, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, Nile monitors are also found in the park.
The marine or coastal species noted are many species of fish, green turtles which breed on the beaches, dolphins and humpback whales.