Saa Nane national park, view of island grounds while on walking safari

Saa nane national park is a small man made wildlife sanctuary that is located on an island, on Lake victoria. It was previously a normal Island that was wholy owned by a fisherman and later turned farmer – Mzee Saanane Chawandi, before being turned into a zoo by the then Tanganyika government. Its previous owner was compensated and given another island nearby to move to.

Conservation efforts began in the early 1960’s and later on a few wild animals were moved onto the island such as buffalo, bush-back, dik dik, elephant, eland, impala, black rhino, topi, warthog, wildebeest, zebra, monkeys, giraffe, porcupine and crocodiles with the more aggressive animals like rhinos being caged. It officially opened in 1964 with the main aim of serving as a recreation spot for the people of nearby Mwanza.

Originally its territory measured some 0.7 square Km and was comprised mainly of the island and the waters around it. As a wildlife sanctuary, the waters around the island became heavily populated with many species of fish, causing a rise of unwanted activities such as illegal fishing from locals who would fish as close to the island’s boundary as possible. The other islands nearby also became home to criminal hideouts and activities along with environmental pollution prompting a lot of periodic intervention from local governments who unlike TANAPA lacked the skills and manpower.

Due to this, the Islands reserve was increased to include neighbouring islands – Chandkende kubwa and Chandkende ndogo which all fell under TANAPA who manage to curb the illegalities with ease.Later on in 1991, the island stopped being a zoo with most of the animals being either let loose on the island or released into other national parks as its status changed into a National park. Saa Nane national park is currently the smallest national park in the country and also one of two that are located on an island of Lake Victoria, with the other being Rubondo island. It currently is a tranquil getaway for people wanting to get closer to nature, allowing them to go on a short walking safari though its grounds. The island has no accommodation but permits use of its grounds for quiet family picnics or events all of which require the payment of a fee. There still are quite a number of animals inside the park, most of whom can be spotted roaming freely. The island also provides unprecedented views of the city nearby and the waters of the lake, making it a perfect location for sight seeing or picture taking.
Location of Saa Nane national park

Saa nane national park is located on an island that is situated next to the city of Mwanza and on the waters of Lake victoria – on the Tanzanian side. It is reachable by a short – 5 minute boat ride from the nearby TANAPA offices located on the mainland, with a fee being charged for entry and the whole tour. Its smaller sister islands are located nearby and within view, but entry to these parts is prohibited. For more information on the location please click to activate the interactive map below.