From the Gnawing Effects of Poaching to a Jungle Paradise- The Story of Meru National Park…
The lush, untainted, and untapped beauty of this magnificent National Park is one to look forward to in your safari itinerary.
This amazing park is undoubtedly one of the least explored tourist attractions in Eastern Kenya.
Following the severe human-wildlife conflict, the place lost its popularity among tourists in the early 20th century.
However, with the intervention of the Government of Kenya and external wildlife agencies, the glory of the park was restored and is now a charming tourist destination.
Thanks to its unexploited resources, the park offers a paradise for tourists.
Meru National Park spans 870.44 square kilometers and is found in Meru County in the Eastern part of Kenya.
It is located 350 kilometers from Nairobi, was gazetted in 1966, and is protected and managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
In addition, you can access the park via road, rail or air…
Accessing and Exploring the Meru National Park
Meru Park is relatively small and is close to Mount Kenya – It is a one-hour drive from Meru town and a 5-hour drive from Nairobi.
It is located approximately 350 kilometers from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, and can be accessed by road from Nanyuki, Nyeri, Meru, and Embu.
Some of these roads lead to Ura Gate, one of the entrances in the national park.
The other entrance is the Murera Gate found 19 kilometers from the central point of the national park.
Alternatively, tourists can fly in directly from Nairobi to the airstrips in Meru.
Mulika Lodge Airport in Kina and Elsa’s Kopje Airstrip are found near Meru National Park and are commonly used for fly-in safaris.
You can view the beautiful snowy peaks of Mount Kenya while at the park.
Additionally, the park has no marked trails, and exploration is done on foot, accompanied by a skilled ranger.
As a tourist, you are advised to gear up appropriately depending on the weather.
It is important to carry your best cameras and extra memory cards because the views are magical and unforgettable.
Meru National Park was plagued by massive wildlife poaching some years back.
It took the Kenya Wildlife Service collaboration with International Fund for Animal Welfare and AgenceFrançaise Development to reduce the cases of wildlife poaching.
From 2000 to 2005, the operation consumed about $1.25 million to secure the area and purchase the required equipment for managing the park.
George and Joy Adamson were wildlife conservationists in Meru and they helped conserve a lioness named Elsa.
They experienced human-wildlife conflict when Elsa’s mother attacked George, and he was forced to neutralize it.
George and his wife tendered to Elsa, a young cub by then until it reached maturity.
After that, they released it to the park’s wilderness. In memory of Elsa, they wrote a book about their experience.
The book formed the context for the globally acclaimed movie Born Free.
Well, the film featuring Elsa was released in 1960 and triggered a global growth of compassion towards wildlife and put Meru National Park in the limelight.
Upon their death, the Adamson’s and Elsa, the orphaned lioness, were buried within the park.
Additionally, for their conservation efforts, George and Joy Adamson were remembered by naming the nearby waterfalls in the park after them.
The Adamson’s Falls is currently a respected and loved tourist spot in Meru County.
The national park has a lot to offer in terms of wildlife and attractive landscapes.
Here you will come across an ecosystem that varies from waterways, riverine forests, green jungles, dry grasslands, and swamps.
The national park is dubbed a “Complete wilderness” and a “Remote and rugged wilderness” due to its location and nature.
Well, the reserve experiences ample rainfall that makes its vegetation thrive – consequently, the wildlife population increases due to the abundance of food and shade.
In addition, the average annual rainfall on the western part of the park ranges from 635-762 millimeters while the eastern sides receive an average range of 305-356 millimeters.
The woodland savanna ecosystem has acacia trees, baobab trees, and Commiphora trees while the riverine ecosystem has doum and raphia palms.
Well, the primary water sources in the national park include the Tana River, River Ura, and Rojerwero River.
Thirteen clear springs feed the three main rivers, hence providing sustenance for the diverse ecosystem.
River safaris offer unique bird sightings for bird enthusiasts.
Furthermore, rare birds can be spotted along the rivers and include the Pel’s fishing owl, Palm-nut Vulture, and Peter’s Finfoot.
You can take photos or film the different birds during the early morning and evening hours.
At the park, you will come across over 427 bird species, including ostriches and other rare birds.
The national park has abundant buffaloes, Bohor reedbucks, Reticulated Giraffes, Grevy’s Zebras, the Lesser kudu, Hartebeests, and Gazelles.
Snakes like Cobras, Pythons, and Puff-adders can be spotted at the park.
And yes, the cat family graces the jungle with Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Caracals, and the African Wild Cat.
The aardwolf thrives on the numerous termite mounds found within the park – Hyenas and Jackals keep the herbivores on their toes.
Other large mammals in the park are Hippos, African Bush Elephants, and the Black and White Rhinos.
The rhinos are protected in the Meru Rhino Sanctuary. There is also a Lion Conservation Unit to sustain a healthy population of lions in the park.
Savoring the Meru paradise is not a one-day affair. Meru National Park borders Rahole, Bisanadi, Kora, Nyambene, and North Kitui National Reserves.
Other attractions close to this beautiful Park include:
- The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
- Meru National Museum
- NgareNdare Forest
- Giitune Sacred Forest
- River Kathita Waterfall
- Devils’ Bridge Waterfall, and the
- Meru Equator Tamaduni Cultural Centre
Therefore, guests may require camps and boutique lodges to eat and rest.
Neighboring camps and lodges include:
- ElewanaElsa’s Kopje Lodge
- Rhino River Camp
- Offbeat Meru
- Leopard Rock Lodge
- IKweta Safari Camp
- Murera Springs Eco Lodge, and
- George Adamson’s Camp
There are numerous campsites and self-catering bandas within the national park that you can look out for.
Campsites include Bwatherongi, KampiBaridi, Rojoweru, Ken Mare, Kitanga, Mugunga and Kanjo.
The self-catering bandas are managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service include Meru Luxury House, Kina Bandas, and Murera Bandas Eco Lodge.
As a Camper, you are allowed to fish for catfish and Barbus fish along the streams near the campsites and along the Tana River.
We can customize a trip for you to the Meru National Park. Kindly engage our experts and let us do this for you…