Saanane, the rocky Island in Lake Victoria was named after its former owner MzeeSaananeChawandi, who was a farmer and fisherman. The Island was established as the first zoo in Tanzania in 1964 whose objectives were to promote interest in wildlife conservation education and provide recreation to Mwanza people. From 1964-1968, the Island was stocked with an array of wildlife species, many of which were released into Rubondo Island National Park.

In 1991, the Government declared the Saanane Island as a Game Reserve to promote and strengthen conservation. It was fully fledged as the 16th National Park in July 2013, covering an area of 2.18 Km2 including aquatic environment, dry land. The Park is made up of other two smaller islets; “ChankendeKubwa” and “ChankendeNdogo”, which lie in the south. The Saanane Island is the smallest and first ever National Park located within Mwanza city Tanzania.