Meru National Park


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All You need to Know About Meru National Park

Meru National Park is indeed wild and beautiful. It Straddles the equator and bisected by 13 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams. It has diverse scenery from woodlands on the slopes of Nyambeni Mountain Range, north east of Mt. Kenya, to wide open plains with meandering riverbanks dotted with palms. Little visited and utterly unspoilt, it is ideal for of the beaten path safari. Few places are comparable to the remote and rugged atmosphere found here.

Meru National Park is also home to the Big Five. Big herds of Elephants migrate through the park. Big cats are more difficult to spot, but it isn’t rare to have a sighting all to yourself. The guarded rhino sanctuary is an exhilarating highlight and you’re virtually guaranteed to both see black and white rhinos in their wild habitat. Visitors can see Grevy’s zebras, elephants, Bohor reedbucks, hartebeests, pythons, puff adders, cobras, buffalos.

There are over 300 species of birds. They include: Red-necked falcon, Heuglins courser, brown-backed woodpecker, sunbirds Peter’s Fin foot, inhabiting the Murera and Ura Rivers; Pel’s Fishing Owl, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and weavers. Meru National Park is particularly scenic. The Tana River on the southern boundary is the largest waterway in Kenya, and several small streams run through the park. Beautiful doum palms and baobab trees are silhouetted against the sky, and with the red soil,therefore making a striking background for arid-adapted animals.

The Park is most famous for Joy Adamson’s book “Born Free”. The story of the Adamson’s life and research amongst lion and cheetah. “Elsa” the well known lioness’s grave is here. On our various Kenya wildlife safari visits we’ve found that this national park feels like African safari in miniature, a charming enclave of the big five and much much more.

Best time to visit Meru Park Kenya

You can visit Meru National Park at any time of the year. Game viewing is probably best between June and September. During the wet months, it is more difficult to find the animals. This is because the bush is thicker and there is more surface water. The sunniest months are January and February, followed by June through September. Rainfall is low, especially in the eastern sector of the park so the rainy seasons are not a major problem.

Rainfall is higher in the west than in the eastern sector of the park. It is generally cooler than the coastal plains and varies with the altitude. The west has 635-762mm of annual rainfall, and the east has 305-356 mm. 

A visit to Meru Park is best combined with the nearby attractions. These include Mt Kenya National Park, Lewa Down, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba Reserve, Sweet Waters game sanctuary. Just email us and let us organize a wonderful safari to these places including Meru.

Meru National Park attractions

Attractions determines what to do (activities) in any destination. Meru park is about exclusivity. There is a lot to see and explore at the Meru National Park. Apart from the stunning sceneries and wildlife, the park is home to exquisite attractions such as the Adamson’s fall. Also the Tana River and views of the ever-dazzling Mt. Kenya. The most substantial attraction of all has to be the Meru Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary lies on an 80km2 well-secured piece of land.

Activities in Meru National Park include: Bird Watching, over 300 species of birds. Picnics and sun-downers at the local hotels. Camping, lots of campsites spread out within the park. Game drives and wildlife Safaris, Cultural safaris to visit local borana and meru people. Nature walks or bush walks, rafting and fishing along Tana River, Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mountain Biking

Afternoons are best spent on cultural tours, fishing, rafting or just relaxing at the hotel swimming pools. Check our safari packages Here to find one that includes meru park.


Things to Do in Meru National Park

See the Big Five

Established in 1968, Meru National Park suffered greatly in the 1980s due to poaching and cases of banditry that significantly diminished wildlife, especially elephant. It took the intervention of the Kenya Wildlife Service to salvage the park and reduce poaching incidences, but visitor confidence took longer to recover. The fauna and flora flourished during this period of low traffic and excellent security. Today the park is one of the most richly fulfilling in Kenya where visitors can easily see the Big Five.

Scale the Nyambene Hills

Another popular range of hills is the Nyambene Hills. Rising 3,400 FT, they provide a great climbing challenge. Evergreen grass surrounded by forest bushes will cover much of your ascent. As you get closer to the top, a cleared space comes into sharp focus. During the rainy season, water collects here forming a small pool. Locals call this place Kieni-kia-Ntubwarimu, which means the field of Ntubwarimu. It is a sacred shrine where community elders perform sacrifices and rituals in times of calamities like prolonged droughts, famines, epidemic and floods.


Visit Elsa’s Grave

Visit the grave belonging to the celebrity lioness called Elsa. Elsa and her sisters ‘Big One’ and ‘Lustica’ were only cubs when Game Warden George and his wife Joy took them after they were orphaned. Big One and Lustica ended up at the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands. Elsa stayed on with the Adamsons and eventually got released into the wild. Her story is narrated in several books by the Adamsons, as well as the 1966 Box Office hit, ‘Born Free‘. The lioness’ celebrity status has still not faded away. Travellers from far and wide come to pay their respects at her grave. Here also quietly rest the scattered ashes of Joy Adamson as Ura River that marks the boundary between Tharaka and Meru roars below.


Explore River Tana in a Motorboat

The River Tana flows by the Meru National Park, and its 440 MI is explorable by motorboat. The river winds through the northern frontier down to the Indian Ocean near Lamu. Up here, its banks attract wildlife like Jam does flies.


Climb Highest Point of Meru National Park

Mugwongo Hill bears the mark of the highest point in the Meru National Park. Among the Meru people, Mugwongo means an elephant’s tusk hence the place of the elephant tusk. History has it that the Mau Mau freedom fighters buried many tusks here although no one has ever found them. But Mugwongo Hill is more well known as the hill where George and Joy Adamson began their experiment preparing orphaned lion cubs for life in the wild. Nowadays at Mugwongo Hill, a lodge, the Elsa’s Kopje sits. The name means ‘small hill’. Spot several lizards and geckos including the red-headed Agama that reside in the cracks on the rocks at Elsa’s Kopje and come out to bask when the sun gets out.


See the Oldest Baobab Trees

Visit several ancient giant Baobab trees dating back to the period in history referred to as Magna Carta, which is between 800 to 1,200 years.

Meru national park gates

There are two routes to Meru national park from Nairobi. The first is the main road via Nyeri, Nanyuki and Meru, the second is via Embu-Meru road. It offers the best approach via the Ura gate. Dry weather route from Meru is through Mathara and Kangeta. This is towards Maua turning left on the Kinna road leading to the National park gate. There are airstrips and leopard rock or Meru Mulika lodge.

Ura Gate

One of official entrance/exit points for Meru national park, located on its southern western end, with KWS offices and an airstrip.

Murera Gate

The most frequented entrance/exit gate for Meru national park, located on its north western end.


How to get to Meru National Park by road or by air

By Roads

Access from Nairobi (348 kms) is via Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru or via Embu all weather roads. Access into the park from Maua to Murera Gate (35 km) and 348 km from Nairobi. The other access is via Embu to Ura Gate (120 km), 290 km from Nairobi


Main airstrip at Kina, Mulika next to Meru Mulika Lodge and Elsa’s Kopje airstrip