It may be small in size but Meru National Park is big in stature as the home of famed lioness Elsa. It is in this piece of natural heaven that the conservationist George and Joy Adamson made a life researching lions and cheetahs and where Joy’s best-selling book ‘Born Free’ is set.
Covering an area of 870 square kilometres, Meru is situated 350 kilometres from Nairobi—the capital of Kenya. Its diverse range of plant and animal life is sustained by the 13 rivers that crisscross a variety of habitats. These include thorny bushland in the north and wooded grasslands in the west. Tall grass and lush swamps are fed by a yearly rainfall in excess of 700 mm.
Animals like lions, cheetahs, leopards, bush elephants, black and white rhinos and a variety of antelope species call the park home and will delight safari-goers with their antics.
Meru can be reached either by car or plane with airstrips at Leopard Rock or Meru Mulika Lodge. The nearest international airport is approximately 210 kilometres away—Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport—with flights to and from the airstrips. If travelling by car, follow the main road via Nyeri, Nanyuki and Meru or take the Embu-Meru road to get into the park at the Uru gate.
Meru National Park can be reached either by car or plane with airstrips at Leopard Rock or Meru Mulika Lodge.
Meru National Park is a birders paradise with more than 427 recorded species. These include the Heuglins courser, brown-backed woodpecker, Peter’s Fin foot, Pel’s Fishing Owl and a variety of kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and weavers.
In and around the waters of the 13 rivers, hippos and crocodiles can be spotted. Fishing for barbus and catfish is also permitted at camp sites and along the Tana River.
There are two wet seasons in Meru National Park - April to June and November to December. Rainfall of up to 700mm can be expected. The average summer temperatures (November-March) are in die high 20’s and in the winter (June-August) they hover around 20 degrees Celsius.
Meru National Park offers much more than just wildlife and scenery to visitors. There are the burial sites of Joy Adamson and her beloved Elsa, the Adamson’s Falls and stunning views of Mount Kenya. Drives along the rivers and riverine habitats will add a touch of calm and serenity.
Visitors to Meru National Park can choose between an established lodge while their are plans to build two tented camps. There are also a handful of campsites for the more adventurous travellers.