Saadani is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the Indian Ocean. Gazetted in 2005, it encompasses a well-preserved ecosystem including the former Saadani game reserve, the former Mkwaja ranch area, the Wami River as well as the Zaraninge Forest.
Many villages are dotted around the boundaries of the park. Saadani village itself once was an important harbor-town and slave-trading centre in East Africa. Nowadays it is a small Swahili village of about 800 inhabitants whose livelihood is mostly fishing.