Meru National Park-An Introduction
Described as a complete wilderness, Meru National Park is a beautiful paradise that has attracted visitor from all the corners of the globe. Also called Elsa's Country, Meru National Park is a destination of choice for nature and culture lovers and features a Rhino Rhino Sanctuary
The Park is located in Meru Country in Kenya's Eastern Province below the eastern slopes of Nyambene Hills. The Park lies 85 Km east of Meru town. It is managed by Kenya wildlife service on behalf of the Central Government.
The black Rhino, of the rare species in Meru National Park
The larger Meru conservation area is a cultural melting pot and the success of the Park depends on the generosity of the local communities. To the west of the park on the slopes of Nyambene hills are the agricultural Meru with hectares of Miraa (Catha edulis) Tea and Coffee . Other communities bordering the park are Kamba ,the Borana and Orma pastoralists. A visit to the Park is not only about the big five experience but also a good opportunity to meet and interact with these communities, learn about their culture with long traditions of conservation. Always bear in mind that without their sacrifice, there would be no Meru Park.
A Complete Wilderness
Often referred to as "a complete wilderness",
Meru Park National Park is wild, one of the most beautiful in Kenya, ideal for camping, picnics, adventures and safaris. With 14 permanent rivers and numerous springs, it is a green paradise compared to dry savannah of Kenya’s parks. Meru is also referred to as “ Born free” country, Kenya's best kept secret. In the wilds of Meru Park , Joy Adamson wrote the book “Born Free”, detailing her relationship with the lioness, Elsa. It is here that Elsa the lioness of born free fame was raised, released to the wild and buried.
The greater Meru Conservation Area comprises of 40,000 km2 covering Meru, Bisinadi and Kora parks, Mwingi, North Kitui and Rahore Nature Reserves.
Meru National Park alone has an area of 870 km2 and lies at an altitude of between 1,000-3,400 Ft above sea level and comprise of that triangle between Rivers Murera and Tana.
Meru can be visited throughout the year. A visit to the 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 , Serengeti, Manyara, Ngorongoro and Lake Nakuru Combinations.
Meru National Park Habitats:
The main Woodlands, wide open plains and riverine.
Getting to the Park:
Meru is accessible from any part of the world. Whether you are in New York, California, Beijing, Tokyo or Sydney you can easily visit Meru. Just fly into Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta.
Fly/Flight From Nairobi.
The park has a total of 16 airstrips. However only 4 (Kinna, Mulika, Masanduku, Murera) are mostly used. Currently there are no scheduled flights into the park. Every airstrip has a gate to facilitate visitor entry.
Flights From Nairobi ( WIL)- Meru National Park
Daily flights depart Nairobi Wilson Airport. The flight schedules are as follows
Driving from Nairobi:
The park is linked to Nairobi by all whether road via Murera gate. There are two routes:-
a) From Nairobi (348 kms), via Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru-Mau-Murera Gate via all weather road.
b) From Nairobi (348 kms), via Embu-Meru- Mau-Murera gate via all weather roads. The junction to the park is before you reach Mau town.
-Murera, Bisanadi, Ura, Kinna
All the main roads to the Park have been upgraded. Thus it can be accessed by a standard vehicle. A sedan can access Mulika Lodge, Leopard Rock Lodge, Kina Park headquarters and Bwatherongi Bandas . However to fully enjoy the park, you need a 4WD. From Meru town you can easily hire a car to the park from the tour operator office:-
Car Hire In Meru National Park
R&N Car Hire, 1st Flr. Doris House, Tom Mboya Street, Meru, Kenya, Tel:+254 723 684 974, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Open throughout the week between 08:00-17:00 Hrs.
Meru National Park Attractions- Physical Features
Attractions in Meru National Park are both natural and artificial. Meru is naturally endowed with wildlife-animals and plants. The landscape is attractive with Mt Kenya clearly visible from the park. The diverse human investments constitutes the artificial attractions. Every visitor to Meru national park needs to appreciate the human effort undertaken to restock the park. After intense poaching of the late 70's and early 80's most of the wildlife was completely wiped out. Most of the animals you come across in the park have been Trans-located at heavy cost, including well whole families. Heavy capital investments have gone into infrastructure developments- upgrading of roads and airstrips not to forget security. The local communities especially the Meru and the Boran have set up cultural centers where visitors can sample their ways of life. Below are the Attractions in brief,
- Mammals includes- Lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard ,Lesser Kudu, duiker, Dik Dik, buffalo, reticulated giraffes (Endangered), black and white rhinos, Grevy's zebra (Endangered), eland, Oryx, Impalas, buffaloes. Black and white Rhinos ( Endangered).
- Aquatic life include hippo and crocodile.
- Fishing for barbus and catfish is permitted at camp sites and along the Tana River.
- Uninterrupted view of Mt Kenya.
- Over 300 species of birds recorded.
- Adamson's grave and camp
- Pippa's Grave- Pipa was Cheater brought up by Joy Adamson.
- Elsa's Grave-Elsa was the lioness of the born free fame.
- Swamps- Mughwango, Mulika, Bwatherongi, Mururi and Leopard Rock. Animals congregate in the swamps during dry season
- Rivers- a total of 14 permanent rivers and numerous streams including Murera, Rojowero, Kiolu, Ura, Bwatherongi. Tana River forms its southern boundary.
- Rhino Sanctuary: The rhino sanctuary can be accessed from Murera gate.
- Cultural centers- Meru cultural center outside Murera gate and Malka (Boran) cultural center outside Bisanadi Gate.
Meru National Park Attractions Activities/ What to do and see
Attractions determines what to do (activities) in any destination. Meru park is about exclusivity. Activities in Meru National Park include
- Bird Watching- over 300 species of birds recorded. Game and bird watching are best undertaken at dawn or at dusk.
- Picnics and sundowners are organized with 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 can be organized along Tana River
- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjero
- Mountain Biking
Afternoons are best spent on cultural tours, fishing, rafting or just relaxing at the hotel swimming pools.
Restocking of Meru National Park
In the 1970's the park boasted of more than three hundred Black Rhinos. By 1997, this population had been reduced to zero. The plan right now is to re-introduce about 30 Black Rhinos. After the 1989 massacre of the white Rhinos, the lone survivor Mukora was re-located to Lake Nakuru. In 2002, seven White Rhinos, including Mukora were once more re-introduced from Lake Nakuru National Park.
Restocking Meru National Park will go in conservation books as one of the largest big mammal translocation undertaken in human history. In total 66 Elephants trans-located from Laikipia Private- Sweet Waters game sanctuary
& Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Whole families have been trans-located to avoid disruption of family bonds. Besides Elephants and Rhinos other translocations include:-
20 Grevy's Zebra. The Grevy's Zebra is highly venerable to extinction.
In 2003, 39 reticulated giraffes were trans-located from Lewa Conservancy making a total of 51 of these rare species in Meru park.
Accommodation Meru National Park:
- Safari Lodges / Hotels / Camp Sites/ Tented Camps
Meru Park is a holiday destination of choice for nature lovers and features a Rhino Sanctuary. Making it a home away from home are diverse accommodation facilities to cater for different categories of travellers.
- Rhino River Camp
Rhino River Camp, a luxury property in Meru National Park
luxury accommodation in the Park. Luxury accommodation facilities rates vary between USD 300 per person to USD 600 PP per night.
- Leopard Rock Lodge
- Elsa's Kopje Lodge
- Meru Mulika Lodge
- Off Beat Campsite
- KINNA Guesthouse ( High Season- Apr, Aug, Dec USD 300; Rest of the year USD 250 for entire House). Resident Rates KES 18000 High season; KES 15000)
Built by the First Warden Mr. Peter Jenkins in the1960s, the guesthouse is 20Km from Murera gate and less than a kilometer from Kinna Airstrip. The guest house has total capacityof 10 pax.
Meru Mulika Lodge ( Temporally closed for renovation) is located a few meters from Murera gate.
Mid Range Accommodation in Meru National Park
Mid range facilities are located outside Meru National Park include Ikweta Safari Camp and Murera River Camp
Ikweta Safari Camp (USD 150 Double FB)
Ikweta Safari Camp is the only mid range facility providing full board services. Ikweta Safari Camp is located just two kilometres outside of Murera Gate. Ikweta Safari Camp features Ten (10) spacious tents thatched in makuti and tastefully decorated in Safari-style and with high quality furniture including either twin or double beds. Excellent meals prepared from the freshest local produce. Large swimming pool and other amenities.
Budget Facilities In Meru NP
KWS Bandas:- Bwatherongi, Kinna and Murera.
- The Bwatherongi Bandas -Self Catering :- With a swimming pool the Bwatherongi Bandas are some of the Best in Kenya. Bwatherongi Bandas are well spaced giving each individual visitor utmost privacy. The Bandas are located on the banks of bwatherongi river. Bwatherongi Bandas feature private bathrooms with hot showers. The cooking area is outside the bandas.
- Murera Bandas -Self Catering:
Just inside the Murera Gate. These are also self contained with hot showers. They are well spaced giving each banda privacy. The bandas are located on the banks of Murera River across which is Bisanadi National Reserve.
There are numerous campsites through out the park. Special Campsites include Kampi Baridi; Kitanga; Makutano; Rojoweru; Mugunga; Ken Mare and Kanjoo. These ones have no facilities and prior booking is required. Public campsites with showers are available at Bwatherongi Bandas.
Accommodation in Meru Town
Those visiting Meru National Park can ovdernight at Meru Town. Meru is a small agricultural town on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. Meru is approximately 85 Km from Murera Gate.
Accommodation in Meru Town
Budget hotels exist in Meru town. The hotels in Meru town include the following:-
- Meru Three Steers
- Alba Hotel
- Meru Slopes Hotel
- Meru Elsa Hotel
- Gatimene Palm Springs
- Meru Three Steers Hotel
- Nevada Palace Hotel
- West Wind Hotel Meru
- Blue Towers
- White Star Hotel
- Hotel Royal Prince
- Brown Rock Hotel
- Pig & Whistle Hotel was built in 1930s. It is in this hotels that Joy and George Adamson stayed resulting in Joys divorce from her second husband Peter Bally.
To Book/ Reserve any of the above hotels email us:
Places of interest within Meru Town
The town is an agricultural centre. Tourism is not prevalent thus if you desire a hassle free cool place, you can use it as a base to explore the slopes of Mt. Kenya and Laikipia. The town is surrounded by agricultural farmlands. Wheat and horticulture plantations occupy the Timau region adjacent to Lewa Conservancy. An interested visitor with intentions to mingle with the locals can sample the following:-
- Meru Museum: Formerly a District Commissioner's Office was built in 1916. The Museum is ethnographic exhibiting the Culture of the local people. On display are various tools, artefacts, local geology, stuffed mammals and birds. Besides the museum has a traditional homestead, a crocodile and snake pit and various herbs.
- The Njuri Ncheke (Council of elders) headquarters at Nciru to learn how justice was dispensed in the old days among the locals.
- The Gakoromone open air market for stocking up and chatting with the locals. Just carry loose change to use in the market and be careful of pick pockets.
- Lake Nkunga picnic site can be visited with arrangement.
- Rukunga's private museum. Visit the King Muhuru.
Swimming is available at the Golf Club and Fred's Academy and Thiiri Center. The pool at the Golf Club is good and its rarely used
Bisanadi National Reserve
To the East park lies Bisanadi National Reserve. It is located at the border of Meru and the Borana people. Opened in 1979 it occupies an area of 606 Km². It accessible by 4WD vehicles is ideal for camping. There is an airstrip at Korbessa.
Kora National Park
Kora National Park : Across Tana River covering an area of 1,787 square kilometers. It is in Kora National park that George Adamson was murdered in his camp. Kora is full of Inselbergs, rocky outcrops covered with vegetation that seem to appear randomly above the plains. Mammal life include elephant, Lesser Kudu, wild dog, striped and spotted hyenas, leopard and cheetah. 21 species of fish have been recorded, with 500 species of insect, 33 molluscs and 40 reptiles.