Western National Park
SAANANE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Saanane Island national park with spectacular scenery in Lake Victoria is located 2km South-west from Mwanza city center, which lies in the Gulf of the lake(latitude 2.5 S and longitude 32 E) with the size of 0.7 sq km(smallest park in East Africa).
Saanane Island is a fully fledged National Park since July, 2013, covering an area of 2.18 sq km comprises of three islets and aquatic environment. The islets lie on the southern part of the main Island.
The park made a record of being the first ever National Park to be located within the City and the smallest National Park in both Tanzania and East Africa. The Park is the home of mammals like Impala, Rock Hyrax, Velvet Monkeys and Wild Cats.
The presence of “De-brazas Monkey” underscores its potential as the only Park in the country inhabiting the species. Reptiles are also dominant; they include crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards, Pancake and Leopard Tortoises, Snakes particularly Python.
The aquatic part of the Park inhabits a variety of fisheries life, mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch.
The park named after Mr.Saanane Chawandi who was then the owner of the island. It was established as the first Zoo in Tanzania in 1964. Its main objectives were firstly to promote interest and conservation education in Wildlife, secondly was to promote recreation to the people of Mwanza town. Between 1964 – 1966 different species of Wild animals were ferried to the Island.
These included buffalo, bushbuck, dikdik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, warthog, wildebeest , zebra, monkeys like Patas and vervet monkeys, giraffe, porcupine, crocodiles, agama lizard, clawless otter, python, rock hyrax, tortoise. Over 40 species type of resident and migratory birds may be seen.
Saanane Island National Park is an ideal place for game viewing, bird watching, rock hiking, boat cruise, walking, picnics, bush lunch, photographing/filming, meditation and sport fishing. Special occasions like wedding, engagement, team building, family day and birthdays can also be organized.
Boat excursion in Lake Victoria, rock hiking, game viewing, bird watching along Lake Victoria, canoeing along the lake.
How to get there:
By air to Mwanza city and then by boat from Mwanza lake port.
Best time to visit the Saanane Island National Park
All year round, birdlife is most varied and scenery greenest over Nov-March. June-August is the dry season and great for picnics, game viewing and rock hiking.