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“Perfect combination of activity and relaxation at Saadani.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge

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Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Old Bagamoyo Road | Saadani, Saadani National Park, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Norwich, United Kingdom
1 review
“Perfect combination of activity and relaxation at Saadani.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

We stayed at Saadani Safari Lodge for 3 nights, following a hectic 6 day safari in Northern Tanzania. It provided an idilic conclusion to a fantastic holiday, but could have been a sole destination in its own right. There were 5 of us in our group; 2 teenagers, 2 70 somethings and me (somewhere in between!). We were picked up at the nearby landing strip and headed to the lodge where we received a great welcome. The location is really fabulous, deserted perfect beaches, and 2 lovely pools. The rooms were beautifully furnished, and unique. All the lodges were yards from the sea. We likes the 'green' credentials but that did mean the solar powered showers on the first day were warm, not hot, as it had been slightly less sunny than usual. This was compensated by the view of the beach that we had from the shower!
The trips were great, we did the river trip and saw lots of hippo's, crocs, monitor lizards and many birds. We also went on a walking safari which gave us a different perspective to the game drives we experienced in the Serengetti and Ngorongoro Creator. It was tailored to the abilities in our group and expertly guided with two guides, an armed ranger, and Nic, one of the managers. We were a bit disappointed that the snorkelling trip was unavailable but understand that it will be available again soon. The trips we took involved early starts to get the best opportunities to see the wildlife. We were given coffee / tea and cake before we left, and brunch was arranged to tie in with our return. This attention to detail was really appreciated and helped persuade the teenagers out of bed!
The bar was a peaceful place to relax with drinks and snacks pre-dinner served with big smile by the barman. It was a good opportunity to share the days experiences and chat with Nic and Jana who were always around when you needed them. Some evenings we were accompanied by regular visitors, a Genet and a bush baby. We all thought the food was delicious, varied and well presented. The portions were generous and served promptly, but without feeling rushed. Nothing was too much trouble.
Overall there is very little we could fault. We were exceptionally well looked after by lovely staff, and found that the combination of trips and time for rest and relaxation suited our mixed age group to perfection.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saadani L, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Dear Madam,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review our little Eco Lodge. We are delighted you and your family enjoyed your stay so much. We are sorry we could not offer you the Sea safari but this activity is allowed if only all the correct weather and tide conditions are clement. We never take a risk with these to endanger life. I am glad that we could occupy your time otherwise.

Thank you again for this review and hope we can entice you back again another day.

kind regards,
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Reykjavik, Iceland
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

We, a family of six, found a small paradise when we arrived at Saadani safari lodge in last june. Saadani Safari lodge is situated right in the heart of Saadani national park on the beach. What a relaxing and beautifully designed lodge where enthusiasm for nature is infectious. It has a very friendly atmosphere, the staff played a key role with their warm appearance, always smiling, doing anything to make you feel at home. Our kids didn’t want to go home, leaving their friends behind! Not to mention the host, which made us feel welcome from the first minute we arrived. Always visible and followed us well during our stay. A very friendly couple, passionate for the life and nature at Saadani. The kitchen at the lodge was outstanding, inviting you the best possible local materials, fresh and tasty.
Saadani safari lodge is an adventure on its own. The nature is breathtaking, the birdlife so colorful, as is the range of bushes and trees. To see the elephants, giraffes and leopards in the bush safari one day and the crodiles and hippopotamus the next in the river safari, gives the safari trip an extra diversity. Also getting the chance to visit the beautiful local villages with their friendly inhabitants is an unforgettable experience. And last but not least, after a long day to have a swim in the inviting pool, looking out to the sea and a dinner in the totally dark evenings with its own lights hanging in the sky… the stars, …wow, we had forgotten how many they are!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saadani L, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you for review and I am glad you share our belief that Saadani is indeed "Paradise". We are also glad that the park rewarded you with such incredible game sightings!

Thank you again for your review and generous words.

kind regards
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012 via mobile

Where to begin? The place itself is so beautiful my small family of three couldn't believe it. We love nature and quiet..... And so we were in heaven!
The moment we arrived we plunged into the warm sea, then the pool, then back to the sea again.
I lay beside the pool and immediately was served with a drink by the lovely Edward.
Frank came to talk to us at dinner and asked us what trips we would like to go on.... He took care of us for the next few days and always seemed on hand to advise and care for us.
All the local staff were amazing..... The chef catered to our complex needs, my daughter is a vegetarian, I eat fish but no meat and my husband eats everything! No problem! And he made my husband king prawns on the last night, for a treat! and breakfast was absolutely delicious..(lots of fruit for me and everything else for Chris.... The juice freshly squeezed ...... )
And the sundown cocktails, the best ones on our holidays. Dinners are simple, but actually I appreciate this as I don't believe that eating too much is healthy... And I felt that the simplicity of the food matched the feeling of being part of the local environment. And every meal was accompanied by zaine's beautiful smile!!!! I suppose for myself I would have also enjoyed more salad and raw vegetables.... But I didn't ask for them.....(I am sure if I had they would have made them for me)....

Nick and Jana could not have done more for us. Our luggage had got lost, and Jana not only chased it up for us by numerous phone calls, but lent me some of her clothes. And goggles! I had arrived in a horrible mood and with in seconds of our arrival, their care and reassurance had melted all my anxiety and I relaxed and started to enjoy myself. Jana is the cocktail queen.... Hers are the best creations ever....(and she is a great hostess and photographer and great to talk to)
Nick and she asked us at every opportunity what we needed to make our stay even better, and then made it happen.... They could not be better hosts! They are really compassionate, genuine and intelligent people.
While you stay there, I hope you meet the wonderful Costa...He owns the place... He is an extraordinary visionary and worth talking to! Prepare to be inspired!

I could have spent my whole time lying by the pool (big enough to do satisfying lengths) or wallowing in the sea.... And walking on the never ending and empty beach....
But we also enjoyed two safaris..... River and bush.... Lead by frank, who really knows his stuff....
We saw lions, giraffe, hippos, crocs, and some amazing balletic deer things that I absolutely loved! And birds of every kind...We also saw the sister river lodge which looks amazing!! (next time!)
As with all great places, I didn't want to leave.....as my husband says, I have to be dragged away kicking and screaming!

Truly a unique, heart warming and beautiful place.... And oasis in this over complex world....a place to let go, become whole and to smile from the heart.





  • Stayed July 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saadani L, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you very much for such an inspiring comment. It is in truth not always an easy job to manage a Lodge and I know that the simple fact that you and your family took some much away with you makes the difference for all of us.

Thank you again.

kind regards
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Wickford, Essex
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

My husband and I stayed here for three nights as part of our honeymoon in July 2012.

Location - We had traveled from Dar es Salaam by road and the journey took four hours. The location of the lodge was very beautiful, set on the beach with local life and wilderness just behind you. It was very close to the airstrip for our next location (Zanzibar). It was also a good spot for a walking safari and a local village tour.

Accommodation - We stayed in a classic banda on the beach. The view was fantastic and falling asleep to the sounds of the sea was wonderful. The room itself was small and compact but perfectly adequate. It was well decorated and charming. The bathroom was spacious and had a warm shower. I would recommend getting ready/showering in the day light otherwise you'll need to take your torch in for some light! The walk between your room and the main facilities was a little dark so we took our room torch for this aswell. Whilst it is dark, we did feel very safe.

Food - sadly this was the lodge's main downfall. Another family we spoke to while they were staying there described it as grim and unfortunately we would have to agree. I understand the lodge recruits local people for all of the camps services. Whilst I feel this is good and very important, it simply wasn't good enough for the amount of money you are paying. The portions were very small and the quality very poor. A real shame.

Evening meals also were served far to quickly. At one point we hadn't finished our starters when our mains arrived at the table. We did ask staff to allow more time between meals but this never transpired.

Excursions - we were told we had one complementary excursion per day whilst we were staying there. We decided upon a walking safari, local village tour and a river safari. Of which we were told we then needed to pay $10 for a armed guide on the walking safari, $10 each for the local village tour (ok this does go to the village), and $20 each for the river safari. So as you can see these are hardly complementary. We did enjoy the excursions of course but felt as if they were a little misleading in the advertisement.

Overall at the Lodge - the lodge itself is ideally located and very beautiful. It has bags of potential which is frustrating to see. For us the evenings were the most worst. We arrived in advance of dinner for a cocktail of the day (which were very nice!) and a couple of drinks before dinner. The beautiful bar was silent and had zero atmosphere. This was such a shame. Dinner also followed by the same and served at full speed left us feeling disappointed.

The staff definitely make the lodge. They are very warm and friendly and add a lovely local vibe to it.

Overall our stay here was nice but not amazing and I didn't feel it was special enough for our honeymoon. We do however wish the lodge and its objectives the best of luck for the future.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saadani L, Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 16, 2012
Dear Madam,

Thank you for your feedback, we are delighted that you too see the potential of this beautiful Lodge.

In response to your comments on the Food, we have introduced several new members into our food and beverage team bringing in some much needed experience. We are already seeing a vast improvement in the quality of the food and service. We will certainly be paying close attention to our portion sizes, although we can’t bear to waste food in Tanzania there should always be plenty to eat and seconds available for those who would like it.

We have introduced some music to our beautiful bar this month and our bar manager seems to be growing in confidence which is really making a difference to the atmosphere of the place.

With regards to our excursions, we are very sorry to hear that you have been in some way mislead. The $20.00 River fee and $10.00 Ranger fee are both charges added for these activities by the national park authority. We have tried to ensure that all our guests have been made aware of these fees before booking at the lodge, we will re-clarify this with our business partners and on our own advertisements in the coming weeks. We would like to thank you for your donation for the village tour it will go directly into making improvements to the Saadani primary School next month.

We’re very pleased that you appreciate the “local vibe” that our wonderful team provide. It is only through developing local people that we will continue to protect and conserve this beautiful ecosystem. This is our goal, with patience and hard work I’m sure we can achieve it.

With thanks,

Nic & Jana - Lodge Managers
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Tanzania
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012 via mobile

Have just come back from a two night stay - what a unique place - the mix of bush and beach, plus two swimming pools made this a brilliant place to relax! It' s so close to Dar Es Salaam to make it a great place for a quick getaway ( if you live in Dar) or an easy addition to a Tanzanian 'adventure' . The public areas are plentiful and interesting enough to allow you to escape from anyone else in the camp if you want. We did the 'river trip' - an experience we really enjoyed and so different from the usual game drives, I would really recommend it. Rooms were comfortable, overlooking the sea and not your neighbours. All the staff were friendly and helpful without being intrusive. Definitely a place we will return to.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Saadani L, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 22, 2012
Dear Sir / Madam,

Thank you very much for your review and kind words. We would be delighted to welcome you back and hopefully be able to offer you some new activities that are just to be added to the Park by the National Park's board!!

Thank you again for taking the time to review our lodge.

Kind regards
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geneve
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2012

My husband and I have travelled a lot in Africa but we have never stayed anywhere quite like Saadani. and it is for us the perfect dream holiday with beach and bush combined.
We are just ending our 4 nights stay at the start of our holiday in Tanzania with our 10yo daughter and Saadani Safari lodge totally surpassed all our expectations. It looked on paper like the perfect place to introduce Africa to our daughter and yet enjoy the sea. Well it is even better in reality !
It's full of rustic charm and the combination of beach, bush and river makes for a really unusual trip that you cannot experience anywhere else in Africa. This thanks to the vision and passion of the owner, Mr Costas who has been a fabulous host to us.

The maridani suites were really nice like Robinson meats natural luxury. All very separated from the others so you feel on your own. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. the cuisine was simple yet deliciously tasty.

Some people say there is not a lot of game, well that was not the case for us (and we have tough benchmarks to beat !) In our first evening drive we saw buffaloes, elephants and a quick sight of a lionesses. In our second evening drive the best ever elephant sighting we have ever seen. And in our third drive, a fantastic sighting of 5 lions and the endangered and very rare Lichtenstein hartbeast. The river safari was absolutely great with nice sighting of hippos and crocs, and a special private tour of the newly built (fabulous !) river lodge.Our guide Franck was so kind and full of little attentions to please us, and really knowledgeable.

What made Saadani so special was to hear the wave crashing at our return of the game drives. To get the natural breeze of the ocean act as aircon. And being able to go for a dip in the Ocean in the morning before breakfast.

We will for sure return to this fabulous place ! With a combo of Safari lodge and River lodge next time. Asante Sana Saadani !

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, July 16, 2012
Dear Madam,

On behalf of Costa and all the Saadani Family thank you very much for your review. We are delighted that your stay with us was so memorable. Next time let us see if we can find one of our illusive leopards! Thank you again and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further service
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dar es salaam
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2012

Had a staff retreat for my office at Saadani and it was incredible. Talking strategy by the beach can not be beat! We had wonderful working mornings and in the afternoon we partook of the various activities available at Saadani. My favorite was the river safari... which we took to the new Saadani River Lodge and got to have a look at the rooms. Also learnt how sea salt is made... Will definitely go back to Saadani with my babe and the River Lodge looks worth a try too! Each and every room opens to the beach.

Room Tip: Loved room #4 with the outside netted 'cabana' for sleeping under the stars.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, General Manager at Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge, responded to this review, June 26, 2012
Dear Sir,

Thank you very much for your review we are very glad that you enjoyed your stay. We would of course be delighted to host you both at Saadani River Lodge. We will ensure your stay in magical.

Thank you again for taking the time to visit us and reviewing us on TripAdvisor.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge

Address: Old Bagamoyo Road | Saadani, Saadani National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Pwani Region > Saadani National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty lodging in Saadani National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sanctuary Saadani Safari Lodge 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The heady mix of different ecosystems sets Saadani apart from all the national parks in Tanzania. The Blue haze of the Indian Ocean washes over Lowland coastal forests, acacia woodlands, open grasslands and mangroves. Saadani Safari Lodge set in the heart of the park offers an idyllic retreat to explore this most unique and distinguished destination.Beach, bush and river come together in a clash of colourful ecosystems found nowhere else on the eastern coast of Africa. Saadani Safari Lodge is owned by Costa Coucoulis, a passionate nature-lover who has fully renovated and refurbished an existing property with creative style and sympathy to the natural environment. The fifteen, tented cottages with their cool grass roofs are strung along the beach. Each has its own veranda and pretty en-suite bathroom. Seafood is a specialty, in particular the feasts of fresh prawns that are brought from the sea to the lodge kitchens daily. Nature-wise, the uniqueness of Saadani Safari Lodge is its proximity to such a mix of different ecosystems. From the delights of the Wami River where a stone’s throw from the open sea you can be boating past pods of hippo, the lodge also offers game driving and bush walking to explore the plentiful wildlife in the natural bush. Out at sea, a sand island is a lovely spot for picnics and snorkelling in warm tropical waters ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Saadani Safari Hotel Saadani National Park

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