Meru National Park is found in the tourist country of Kenya and it’s one of the least popular and least visited national parks in Kenya. The park is nicknamed as “Complete Wilderness” due to its brilliant magnificent scale of wildlife. The park offers luxury African wildlife experience with a wide range of wildlife habited at the park. Meru national park is covered by a wide range of vibrant vegetation types ranging from rivers to swamps, Khaki grasslands, and termite molds.
This park is best for guests who do not like overcrowded areas but need a silent secrete corner with high privacy. Meru national park is located on the East of Nairobi in Meru just 3 hours drive or 350 kilometers from Nairobi. The park sits in a total land area of 870 square kilometers making it among the small national parks of Kenya. Meru national park is one of the parks that are well known for receiving the highest amount of rainfall which ranges from 635-762 mm during the first long wet season. This has favored the 13 rivers that are found at the park, evergreen vegetation with tall grass at the park that attracts more animals in the park and different bird species.
The Meru national park was established in 1966 and its governed by Kenya Wildlife Services. Unlike other National parks of Kenya managed by locals in the area, the park is managed by Kenya Wildlife Services. The park was heavily affected by poachers till early 2000 when the International Fund for Animal welfare joined Kenya wildlife Services to restore the park and put hard effective measures to calm down poaching. It is out of these successes that the park is now among the best parks in Kenya with all the African big 5 visible at the park.
Guests have appreciated Meru National Park for its Northern specials that include animals that manage to adopt the arid conditions. The park is famous for Joy Adams’ famous book “Born Free” which was the most selling book written in 1989. The book was documented by Joy after the research on lions and cheetahs. The rise of Elsa the lioness was the greatest topic and famous lioness who was raised by Joy and George along with her sisters the “big one and Lustica”. Elsa remained alone in the park after the two sisters were taken to the Netherlands.
After being raised by George and Joy, the lioness was released to the wilderness but could always visit them occasionally. She even after delivering her first three cubs brought them to Joy Adamson to see. All the life of Elsa is covered in their book of Born free is one wants to read all the details about her and her family. After suffering some disease called Babesiosis she was buried at the park and her grave marker. Till now it remains one of the attractions in Meru national park
One can access the park using one of the two routes from Nairobi, one can pass through the main road through Nyeri, Nanyuki and then to Meru national park. The other second choice is passing through Embu-Meru Road which is the most scenic route which we advise guests to use. The second route enters the park through the Ura gate. The other but only an option during the dry season is passing through Mathara and Kangeta towards Maua which links to Kinna Road then to the park.
There are also two airstrips at the park which gives a second thought to guests who may not like long bumpy drives along the African terrain roads to use an option of flight. One can take a flight from any of the Kenya domestic airstrips of Jomo Kenyatta international airport or Wilson airport directly to the park. You can be picked from any of the airstrips located inside the park.
Attractions in Meru National Park
The scenic views and wildlife are the key attractions in the park. Below are the highlighted attractions at the park:
Wildlife: Meru national park offers excellent wildlife viewing experience as it inhabits all the African big five those are Elephants which are the most popular in the park, lions, leopards, buffalo, and Rhinos. Due to the vegetation cover of the park its always hard to sight the leopards which hide on trees or move slow bent at the tall grass. The park has both Black and white rhinos especially if one drives in the Rhino sanctuary. Other animals at the park include Hippos, crocodiles, zebras, oryx, Cheetahs, wildebeest, Hyena. The park is a home of the Northern specials like Giraffes, Grevy Zebras, Kudu, Gerenuk among others.
Once the home of George and Joy Adamson: Renown writers and authors of the books like “Born free” where they wrote about the Lioness Elsa which was raised by George and Joy Adamson. The two were the first Europeans to settle in Meru national park where they conducted their research and helped on the conservation and preservation of the park. They lived inside the park till George went back but Joy died and was buried inside the park. Their home till date acts as a historical house where guests come and learn more history about the two. Its more of the museum now to many travelers.
Adamson’s falls: This is 50 meters high falls that are found in the caves of Hastings. The falls were named after the first Europeans to settle in the park those are Gorge Adamson and Joy Adamson. The falls can be accessed through nature walks that take the guests past the Hastings cave. The route to the falls has been cleared and it is now straight not as it used to be. It takes between 2 to 3 hours to reach the falls depending on the physical fitness of the guest. Other falls in the area include the Creekton falls though it is very high and rough hence requiring more fit and experienced hiker to reach to this falls.
Burial sites of Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness: After the death of the famous lioness Elsa, it was buried inside the park just a few meters away from Joy Adamson’s house. Later also Joy died and was also buried at the same place before George going back to the Netherlands. To date, this burial place is one of the few attractions that are found at the park. Tourists especially the Dutch come here to commemorate the life of their own best conservationists Joy.
Birds: Meru national park is a home of more than 300 bird species recorded. The park is a good birding destination that has both rare Endemic birds that are rare from other parks. The most common birds are Ostriches, Boran cisticola, Guineafowl, fishing owl, African finfoot, palm weaver, ibise, fish eagles, Wattle starling among other birds.
Activities at Meru national park
Game viewing: The Meru national park offers a good game viewing which can be done for the full day or half-day at the park. The game viewing can be done on safari land cruiser where one can comfortably enjoy the big game and small game. The park has permanent residents hence making game viewing good throughout the year. The African big 5 all can be seen along the river banks are the hippos and large crocodiles and other water birds.
Birding: With over 300 bird species the birders can enjoy the pride of the small park, walk a few kilometers but enjoying more bird species. The park’s habitats favor both water birds that live in and around the 13 rivers that cross the park. Other semi-arid species are also found at the park.
Nature walks and Visiting the waterfalls: Nature walks are available with the lead of the game rangers due to availability of the big cats other big game like Elephants and Buffalos that seem simple but very dangerous. You enjoy walks along the banks of the rivers and visiting the Waterfalls. The Adamsons falls is a 2-3 hour walk with an experienced ranger guide.
Visiting the burial grounds of Joy and Elsa the lioness: The historical site found at Meru national park, this attracts more guests who come to see the grave of the renown conservationist and the famous Lioness that is documented in the books like “born free” More guests just come to see the point where the two families lived together during their lifetime in Africa.
However much the size of the park is small but Meru national park remains one of the best parks in Kenya that provides the best and true African wilderness experience.