Meru National Park is one of the least prominent and least visited national parks in Kenya, which is a popular tourist destination. The park is dubbed “Complete Wilderness” due to the abundance and variety of its fauna. The park offers a luxurious African wildlife experience with a broad variety of resident wildlife. From rivers to wetlands, Khaki grasslands to termite molds, Meru national park is home to a diverse array of lush plant life.
This park is ideal for visitors who dislike crowded areas and prefer a quiet, secluded spot with high levels of privacy. Meru national park is located just 350 kilometers or three hours’ journey east of Nairobi in Meru. The park’s entire land area is 870 square kilometers, making it one of Kenya’s smaller national parks. Meru national park is well-known for receiving the highest quantity of precipitation during the first long wet season, which ranges from 635-762 mm. This has benefited the 13 rivers located in the park, as well as the park’s evergreen vegetation and tall grass, which attracts a greater variety of animals and bird species.
The Meru national park was established in 1966, and Kenya Wildlife Services manages it. Unlike other Kenyan national parks managed by residents, this park is administered by Kenya Wildlife Services. The park was severely impacted by poachers until early 2000, when the International Fund for Animal Welfare collaborated with Kenya Wildlife Services to restore the park and implement efficient measures to reduce poaching. As a result of these achievements, the park is now among the finest in Kenya, with all five of Africa’s “Big Five” present.
Guests have enjoyed Meru National Park’s Northern specialties, which include animals that have adapted to the arid conditions. The iconic book “Born Free” by Joy Adams, which was the best-selling book published in 1989, has made the park famous. Joy documented the book after conducting research on lions and cheetahs. The rise of Elsa the lioness, who was reared by Joy and George along with her sisters “the big one” and “Lustica,” was the most talked-about and notable event. The two sisters were transported to the Netherlands, leaving Elsa alone in the park.
After being reared by George and Joy, the lioness was released into the wild but was permitted to occasionally visit them. Even after giving birth to her first three puppies, she brought them to see Joy Adamson. Elsa’s entire existence is detailed in Born free, if one wishes to learn everything about her and her family. After suffering from Babesiosis, she was buried in the cemetery alongside her gravestone. It continues to be one of the highlights of Meru national park.
One can reach the park via one of two routes from Nairobi: via the main road through Nyeri, Nanyuki, and finally Meru national park. The alternative route is Embu-Meru Road, which is the most scenic and which we recommend to our visitors. The second entrance to the park is via the Ura gate. The alternative, which is available only during the dry season, is to travel through Mathara and Kangeta towards Maua, which connects to Kinna Road and then the park.
There are also two airstrips at the park, allowing guests who dislike lengthy, bumpy drives on African terrain roads to consider an alternative flight option. One can fly directly to the park from any of Kenya’s domestic airports, including Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Wilson Airport. You may be picked up at any of the airstrips within the park.
Attractions in Meru National Park
The park’s primary attractions are its scenery and fauna. Below are the most notable park attractions:
Meru national park provides an excellent opportunity to view wildlife, as it is home to all five of Africa’s “big five” animals: elephants, which are the most popular in the park, lions, leopards, bison, and rhinos. Due to the park’s dense vegetation, it is always difficult to spot leopards, which conceal in trees or move slowly while bending over the tall grass. If one travels through the Rhino sanctuary, the park contains both black and white rhinos. There are also Hippos, crocodiles, zebras, oryx, Cheetahs, wildebeest, and Hyenas in the park.The park is home to a variety of northern species, including giraffes, grevy zebras, kudus, and gerenuks.
Once the residence of renowned authors George and Joy Adamson, who wrote about the lioness Elsa, whom they reared, in books such as “Born Free.” They were the first Europeans to reside in Meru national park, where they conducted research and contributed to the park’s conservation and preservation. They lived in the park until George returned, but Joy passed away and was interred there. Their residence serves as a historical house where visitors can learn more about their history. It is now more of a museum for many travelers.
Adamson’s falls are 50-meter-tall waterfalls located in the Hastings caverns. Gorge and Joy Adamson, the first Europeans to reside in the park, were honored with the naming of the falls. The falls are accessible via nature trails that pass the Hastings cave en route to the falls. No longer crooked, the path to the falls has been removed and is now straight. It takes between two and three hours to reach the falls, depending on the guest’s physical condition. Other waterfalls in the area include the Creekton falls, which, due to their height and ruggedness, require a more fit and experienced hiker to reach.
Places of burial for Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness: Following her demise, the famous lioness Elsa was buried in the park just a few meters from Joy Adamson’s home. Joy died and was interred at the same location before George returned to the Netherlands. This cemetery is one of the few attractions located in the park at present. The Dutch, in particular, visit this location to commemorate the life of Joy, one of their finest conservationists.
Meru national park is home to more than 300 recorded avian species. The park is an excellent place for birdwatching because it contains both Endemic birds and birds that are uncommon in other parks. Ostriches, Boran cisticolas, Guineafowl, fishing owls, African finfoots, palm weavers, ibises, fish eagles, and Wattle starlings are among the most prevalent birds.
Meru National Park Meru National Park activities
The Meru national park provides excellent opportunities for game viewing, which can be enjoyed for a full or half day. The game viewing can be accomplished in the comfort of a safari land cruiser while viewing both large and small game. Due to the park’s permanent inhabitants, game viewing is excellent throughout the year. The African Big Five can be seen along the riverbanks, including hippos, enormous crocodiles, and a variety of waterfowl.
Birding: With over 300 bird species, observers can appreciate the small park’s pride while walking a few kilometers and observing more bird species. The park’s habitats are conducive to the existence of waterfowl in and around the 13 rivers that traverse it. In addition to semiarid species, the park also contains other semiarid species.
Nature walks and visiting waterfalls: Nature walks are available under the supervision of game rangers due to the presence of big cats and other large, hazardous animals such as elephants and buffaloes. You appreciate strolling along riverbanks and visiting waterfalls. A trek to the Adamsons falls takes between two and three hours with an experienced ranger guide.
Visiting the burial grounds of Joy and Elsa the lioness: The historical site located in Meru national park, this attracts more visitors who come to see the grave of the renowned conservationist and the well-known Lioness who was documented in books such as “born free.” More visitors have just arrived to see the spot where the two families dwelt together in Africa.
Meru national park remains one of the finest parks in Kenya, providing the best and most authentic African wilderness experience despite its small size.