Meru National Park

Meru National Park is located in central Kenya, about 350 km northeast of Nairobi. It covers an area of approximately 870 km², and is one of the wildest and most beautiful Parks in Kenya.

The park provides visitors with a variety of nature encounters including jungle, grasslands, swamps, rivers, and landscape with an abundance of termite created mounds.  The Kenyan Wildlife Services describes Meru as “Complete Wilderness.”  The elevation varies across the park with the lowest spot occurring in the southeastern part of the park along the Tana River.  The foothills of the Nyambeni Range account for the highest point at 3,400 feet (1,036 m).

The national park receives an abundance of rain allowing for the growth of tall grasses and the development of rich swamps.  This makes it a wildlife haven.  The Tana River referenced above combined with the Rojerwero and Ura Rivers are the leading sources of water.  Each of these rivers and related tributaries is lined with riverine forest along with stands of Dom and raphia palms.

The northern section of the park features rainforest with the majority of the park covered in an array of density with bushes and grasslands.  The famous Acacia trees that Africa is known for are all found in much of the park.

Affectionately known as Kenya’s complete wilderness, Meru National Park hosts a large population of elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard and innumerable other classic African mammal species. Meru N. P. is also home to species typical of northern Kenya such as reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk, Oryx, lesser kudu, which are not to be found in many other National Parks or areas in Kenya.

Birdwatchers are happy to learn that there are 450 species of birds to check off during an exploration of the park area.  Snake enthusiasts can hope for a chance to see pythons, puff adders, and cobras.  River safaris are one of the best ways to capture sightings of some of the bird species that live along the banks. Ostrich can be found in some of the bushy grasslands.

A specific mention has to be made for the Rhino Sanctuary. The area devoted to the protection and population increase of rhinos is today about 50 square kilometres and is located on the Western boundary of the Park. Here 40 white and 20 black rhinos roam freely. The Sanctuary is a success story for Meru. It is faring better than most other areas where rhinos are to be found in Kenya with the best birth rate and the less mortality than any other.

Meru is probably most famous, however, as being where Joy Adamson and her husband George raised and released their pet lioness, Elsa – the subject of the international best-seller ‘Born Free’ and the Academy award-winning film of the same name starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.  Following Elsa’s death in 1961, the lioness was buried in the Park, and some of Joy’s own ashes, following her own death in 1980, were scattered on Elsa’s gravesite.

Despite this claim to fame, the Park does not attract a great number of visitors, so it is ideal for safari enthusiasts who want to enjoy a quieter yet still exceptionally good wildlife experience.

What to do in Meru National Park

Game Drives

Meru national park offers good game viewing which can be done for the full day or half day at the park. The park has  a wide range of animals such as; leopards, cheetahs, lions, black and white rhinoceros, zebras, hippos, bush bucks, reticulated giraffe, lesser kudu, duiker, Oryx, Dik Dik, hartebeests, buffalos, cobras, Python, puff udder and reedbucks among others, along the river banks are the hippos and large crocodiles and other water birds. The park has a lot of gaming tracks where you can view the game.

 

Bird Watching

With over 450 bird species, birders can enjoy the pride of the small park, walk a few kilometers but enjoying more bird species, bit residential and migratory birds like, pels fishing owl, kingfishers, rollers, Weaver’s, starlings, bee eater, sunbirds, red necked falcon, Heuglin’s coarser, ostriches, hornbill,  brown backed wood pecker, sun birds Peter’s fin foot among others. The park’s habitats favour water birds that live in and around the 13 rivers that cross the park. Semi-arid species are also found in the park. The best time for this activity is from dawn to 6 am and evening hours.

 

Visiting the Burial Grounds of Joy and Elsa the Lioness

The historical site found in Meru National park attracts more guests who come to see the grave of the renowned conservationists and the famous Lioness documented in books like‘’born free’’. Travellers come to see the point where the two families lived together during their lifetime in Africa.

 

Nature Walks and Visiting the Waterfalls

These are done under the guidance of game rangers due to the presence of the big cats and animals like elephants, buffalos that seem simple though dangerous. Nature walks can be enjoyed along riverbanks or walk to the top of Mughwango hill where you can enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree views, with Mount Kenya in the west to the vast Meru plains in the east.

WhEN TO VISIT Meru National Park

Meru can be visited throughout the year, but wildlife viewing is best in the Dry season from June to September. Wildlife watching is usually more difficult during the long rains (March to May), and the short rains (October to November). During this time, the grass tends to be very high making spotting of animals more difficult. Elephants migrate out of the park in the rainy season.

HOW TO GET To Meru National Park

Meru is accessible from any part of the world. Whether you are in New York, California, Beijing, Tokyo or Sydney you can easily visit Meru. Just fly into Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta.

Driving from Nairobi to Meru National Park: The park is linked to Nairobi by all weather road via Murera gate. There are two routes: – From Nairobi (348 kms), via Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru-Mau-Murera Gate via all-weather road.

-From Nairobi (348 kms), via Embu-Meru- Mau-Murera gate via all-weather roads. The junction to the park is before you reach Mau town.

 

Fly/Flight from Nairobi.

The park has 16 airstrips. However only four (Kinna, Mulika, Masanduku, Murera) are mostly used. Currently there are no scheduled flights into the park. Every airstrip has a gate to facilitate visitor entry.

Daily flights depart Nairobi Wilson Airport.