“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.” Claude Monet
Saanane Island is in Lake Victoria lying very close to the city of Mwanza (2 km). It was gazetted as a National Park in 2013 with the addition of two neighboring islets. The surrounding waters are also protected making its total area 2.18 sq. km.
Saanane is completely unique. Firstly, it is the only National Park in Africa that is within city limits. The wildlife there includes impala, zebra, wildebeest, klipspringer, hyrax, vervet monkeys, dik dik, otters, crocodiles, and is a mixture of indigenous and introduced species. They run wild, and yet are calm and unafraid of people. The habitat is of granite boulders, grassy areas, thorny thicket and woodland. There are several reed beds and large trees around the island’s shores.
There is also an enclosed lion’s den with huge boulders and trees where a lion and lioness live. They were both orphans from the wild – one from the Serengeti and the other from outside Tarangire – and are now fully grown, and appear contented and healthy – and in love! Two peacocks are living in another enclosure on the island.
The main feature of the Park is a set of pathways and trails, well-constructed with rustic granite stones and trimmed verges, that wind a path to all corners of the island. There are lookout points with wonderful views of the lake and islands, as well as rest points, a camp site, picnic bandas, a canteen, and quiet, hidden corners.
Saanane is dedicated to the townsfolk and the visitors of Mwanza city. It is a place where people can escape the noise and clamor of the city, get close to nature and relax.