Think of holidays to Tanzania and you’ll immediately think safari. Think safari on Tanzania holidays and you’ll immediately think Masai Mara and Serengeti – two of the country’s, if not the world’s most well-known game reserves.
Not to mention the marine reserves of Zanzibar off the coast, this east African nation is truly blessed with a stunning array of rural retreats and the lesser known Saa-Nane Island of Tanzania’s Mwanza region, is just the latest reserve to receive full National Park status from the country’s presidency.
Completely unique within in her own right – what with being an island detached from the mainland on Lake Victoria – Saa-Nane is a small rocky isle by scale at 2.2 sq km, yet is home to some fascinating species such as impala, vervet monkeys and rock hyrax (pictured) – perhaps best described as a cross between a rather tubby mouse and an otter.
Saa-Nane has become Tanzania’s 16th National Park and is officially billed as the smallest but this is far less surprising given the scale of parks such as the Serengeti that span as much as 14,750 sq km.
Before her recent National Park accreditation, Saa-Nane long existed as a modest conservation area and was first established as a zoo belonging to the government in 1964. Given her proximity to the west Tanzanian town of Mwanza that guards her existence, many species were given a new home on the island and ever since, the area has flourished and was in fact awarded game reserve status in 1991.
Named after her owner, Mzee Saanane Chawandi, the new National Park will aim to inform and educate both tourists and locals in more of an accessible way than her predecessors given her closeness to the hub of Mwanza.
Mwanza which is accessible by air from the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam comprises her own port, not to be confused with the close by Kamanga Ferry Terminal and boat trips to Saa-Nane Island take approximately 20 minutes.
It is this precise accessibility that regional tourism chiefs are expecting many international and domestic visitors to take advantage of in terms of recreation.
Mwanza as a location also provides numerous pursuits for travellers who know no boundaries and while the shores of Lake Victoria are idyllic in their own right, a quick scale of Capri Point will yield an amazing high up view across her waters, and Saa-Nane itself.