Saadani National Park

Size: 1100 sq. km. Best time to Jan.-Feb. / June-Aug.

Some people say that Saadani is the only place in the world to see elephant bathing in the Indian Ocean; to be sure, Saadani is the only coastal reserve in Tanzania. It is a very new park, previously a game reserve, and is located across from the Island of Zanzibar.

The park is fairly small but because of its unique situation it is a completely unique wildlife experience. Green turtles come to its beaches to breed and Roosevelt Sable Antelope, previously thought to reside only in the Shimba Hills of Kenya, have found a home in Saadani. Visitors can relax on the beach, take a walking safari or take a boat up the river to see the hippos, crocodiles and flamingos.

Different types of protected habitats in Saadani include tropical forest, coastal savannah, mangrove forests and coastal dunes.

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Accommodation

Saadani Tented Camp

The camp is situated on the beautiful sands of Saadani beach. Accommodation is offered in permanent tents with full bathroom facilities including shower, toilet and wash basin. The camp features a bar, library and restaurant.

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Lamu Island

The exotic island of Lamu will take you back to the 19th century with its narrowly winding streets, colourful bazaars and black-veiled women. The island is one of the earliest Arab settlements on the African Coast and is rich in Arab history that comes to life in the many ruins that dot the landscape.

There are no automobiles on the island, and no proper roads. You can get around on the Arab dhows (a type of sailboat) or on foot since the island only measures about a mile and a half across.

The beaches are pristine and the diving is very good; however, the religion of the island is overwhelmingly Muslim and very devout and visitors are expected to respect local customs. Visitors are expected to refrain from wearing beach attire while out and about and women should take care to cover at least their shoulders and knees.

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Accommodation

Kipungani Bay

Located on the Island, 15 private beach cottages or ‘grass villas’ are situated right on the beach complete with private bathroom facilities and verandahs. The cottages are constructed of traditional local palm matting and blend beautifully into the surroundings.

Takaungu House

Located on the Kenyan coast south of Lamu in the Swahili Arab village of Takaungu, the house offers a two-room family cottage with private bathroom facilities and one room in the main house, also with private facilities (link). Sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming are all available.

Blue Safari Club

On the small island of Manda, near Lamu Island, the Blue Safari Club is an exclusive, tropical paradise accessible only by boat. Accommodations are in individual private thatched cabins along the beach. This is the ideal place to relax in tranquil surroundings.

Shela Beach House

On the sea front in Shela Village on the timeless island of Lamu, the antique, charming Beach House stands at the edge of the sand dunes (link). It is large and cool with one triple and four double ensuite bedrooms.

Kiwayu

Located on the Kenyan mainland about 30 miles north of Lamu Island, this little “village” accommodates guests in 18 private thatched cabins (link). Secluded accommodations are available at the exclusive banda on Kiwayu Island, directly opposite.

Zanzibar, the island of dreams.

The island of Zanzibar, also known as Unguja, has been home to the Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians, Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch and English and all have contributed to Zanzibar’s rich and diverse history. Known to most as the spice islands, the Zanzibar archipelago evokes visions of mysterious veiled ladies, tantalizing spices and colourful bazaars.

In fact, many of these fantastic visions will come true for those who elect to visit the island. Ancient Stone Town – nearly unchanged these past 200 years – will charm young and old with its ornate architecture and bustling marketplaces. The buildings are made primarily of coral rock which contributes to the unique and colourful views around town.

The island is also a hot spot for divers who love to explore the coral reeks just off shore. The “paradise beaches” attract beach lovers of all kinds who come to relax and soak up the African sunshine.

The spice plantations make for an interesting day trip, as does the beautifully unspoiled north coast and the Jozani Forest. At the southern end of the island, the little fishing village of Kizimkazi attracts attention with its 12th century mosque and school of friendly bottle-nosed dolphins. Prison Island, once a prison for mis-behaving slaves, has redeemed its reputation as home to a number of giant tortoises; it features a gorgeous beach and a fabulous reefs.
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Accommodation

Zanzibar Serena Hotel

Located in two historic seafront buildings, the Serena Hotel is located in ancient Stone Town. All 51 rooms are ensuite and the decor echoes a traditional Arabic style.

Tembo House Hotel

The luxury facilities at Tembo House (link) include a swimming pool, en-suite bathroom facilities, spectacular views of the Indian Ocean and proximity to all the attractions of Stone Town.

Dhow Palace Hotel

Small and luxurious, the Dhow Palace (link) is situated right in the heart of Stone Town. It features a first-rate rooftop restaurant and panoramic views of the ocean and Stone Town itself.

Emerson and Green

The second tallest building in Stone Town, this hotel was once the residence of one of the richest men in the Swahili Empire. Today, each of the distinct rooms offers guests a taste of Oriental mystique. The Tower Top Restaurant is reputed as one of the most romantic restaurants in the world and is certainly one of the finest.