Saadani village once was an important harbor-town and slave trading center in east Africa. Now it is a small Swahili fishing village with about 800 inhabitants whose livelihood is mostly fishing. Other villages adjacent to the park make their living through farming coconuts and other food.

A variety of trees, including Acacia Zanzibarica with its long spines, offer shade to several large herds of buffalo, white-bearded wildebeest and hartebeests. The common waterbuck occurs all over the park area and are easily recognized by the white ring around their tails. The density of reedbucks is especially high in Saadani, although this medium-sized antelope might be difficult to spot in tall grasses where they lie down for shelter. Warthogs are omnipresent and even come into Saadani village. As most of the villagers are Muslims, warthogs have learned that they will not be harmed. The tallest animals in the world and the national symbol of Tanzania, giraffes, are also numerous in the area.