Meru national park is one of Kenya’s most abundant Game parks and ranks high among the most visited game parks in Kenya. Meru is found in the larger part of the Meru Conservation Area (40,000km²) covered in more than 13 rivers flowing from the mountains in the nearby Nyambeni Mountain range, savannah grasslands, riparian forests, doum palms and more. The conservation are occupies Bisandi, Kora and Meru National park. Meru Alone covers just 870sq km of the triangle between Tana river and Murera.
This Kenya wildlife park is another of those Kenya national parks and reserves famed by Joy and George Adamson in their writings. It is here that the lioness Elsa was famed in the book Born Free and so is its grave as well as the grave for Pippa the cheetah raised by Joy Adamson.
The north of the park lies in rich volcanic soils, crossed by some rivers that flow towards Tana river in the south. Other rivers within the park include Ura in the west, and Rojeweru in the east. Actually more than 14 river and small stream drain this beautiful game park.
The raising rocky outcrops dominate much of the park with Mugwango and Leopards Rock being the most famous. The leopard Rock is normally sighted with some leopards in the mid day heat.
Game viewing is good in the park and rewards with sights like lions, cheetah, leopards, lesser kudu, dik dik, duiker, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, hartebeest, bohor reedbuck, gernuk, and many others. Snakes such as python, puff adder and cobra are found within the park. More than 250 birds are found within the park including fishing owl, Peter’s finfoot, king fisher, bee-eaters, starling, weavers and many others.
How to get there
Meru is accessed via Nairobi on 348km road via Nyeri-Nanyuki. There are 2 gates that lead to the park namely Murera and Ura connected29km from Nairobi via Embu. There is an airstrip at Kina near Mulika Meru Lodge and Elsa Kopje airstrip. All roads and trails within the park are well graded and good on game drives.
Where to stay
The are several options for overnight at Meru National Park including luxury safari lodges, camps, bandas and many others. Prior booking is needed for Meru safari lodges while other accommodation options are available from Meru Town. Some of the renowned lodges include;
The Meru leopard Rock Lodge is a luxury Meru eco-lodge priced at USD 470 per person per night. The facilities in the lodge include 15 luxury grass thatched cottages, conference room, swimming pool, Jacuzzi. All rooms have the Murera river frontage and Bisandi National park lies just across the river.
Meru Elsa’s Kopje Lodge found on Mughwango Hill is the original site of Adamson’s Camp. It derives its name from Elsa the Lioness of the Born Free fame. The lodge offers morning and afternoon game drives, nature walks, breakfasts served in the wild, sundowners, night game drives, rafting and fishing on the Tana River, swimming pool and more than 10 luxury visitor suites. Other Mweru Lodges include Meru Mulika Lodge and Meru Simba Lodge.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) runs their best bandas in Meru National Park. Other self catering bandas and camps include Bwatherongi, Murera, Kampi Baridi; Kitanga; Makutano; Rojoweru; Mugunga; Ken Mare and Kanjoo.
Meru can be described as savanna National Park, 35 km east of Maua town in the north eastern lowlands following the Nyambeni hills. Meru is a portion of a structure of secured areas on the Tana River that also includes the adjacent Bisanadi, Rahole and Mwingi National Reserves in addition to Kora National Park. The wetter North Western area happens to be hilly with abundant volcanic soils. The land is levelled towards the eastern side, where grey alluvial volcanic soils are found.
The area is tranversed by numerous perpetual water streams, run into the Nyambenes and then moving together among patches of lava, to the south east for the Tana River. The park is normally framed by three significant rivers: the Tana towards the south, the Ura towards the south West and the Rojeweru for the East.
There are several outstanding eroded hills made of basement rock, notably Mughwango and Leopard Rock. A portion with the park has become designated as a wilderness area where there are no roads.
Major points of interest comprise of the former residence of Joy and George Adamson and Elsa the lioness, amazing sights of Mount Kenya, rivers and riverine habitats, Tana River and Adamson’s Falls. Wild animals has Grevy’s zebra, elephant, leopard, reticulated giraffe, hippopotamus, bohor reedbuck,eland, bush pig, popular waterbuck, cheetah, hartebeest, python, puff adder, cobra, buffalo, gerenuk and more than 300 noted types of birds.
Actions – Unspoilt, natural wildlife viewing, camping
Through road: Via Nairobi. Meru is via Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru or via Embu, all weather roads. By air travel, the main airstrip is located at Kina, Mulika close to Meru Mulika Lodge and Elsa’s Kopje airstrip.
Meru boasts a selection of basic camping locations having little bandas (huts) for hire. The park has two lodges giving deluxe lodging.