Meru National Park is a beautiful Kenya safari park located in Africa, Kenya and covers an area of 870.44 km2. The varied terrain of this wild and stunning park includes slopes like the Nyambene mountain range, wide plains bounded by riverbanks, and wooded areas. One of Meru National Park’s biggest draws is its 13 rivers. In addition to its magnificent rivers, Meru is home to additional sights like Adamson’s fall, the resting place of Elsa the Lioness, and beautiful vistas of Mount Kenya from various points within the park.
Elsa, a lioness owned by George and Joy Adamson, a husband and wife team of naturalists, was taken to Meru. When Elsa was old enough, they decided against taking her to a zoo and instead let her live in freedom in the wild. Elsa struggled at first to adapt to life in the wild, but finally the Adamsons abandoned her in the Meru region, where she established her position in the pride and even bore babies of her own.
Elsa was buried in the Meru region when she passed away. Elsa was the subject of several documentaries and films, and Joy and George wrote books about their experiences with her. The Adamsons’ waterfall bears their name, and after Joy’s passing, her ashes were placed on Elsa’s grave.
The history of Meru National Park
- Peter Jerkins, an enthusiastic warden, founded and ran Meru National Park in 1966.
- Poaching destroyed the park’s reintroduced white rhino numbers in the late 1980s.
- In the 1990s, the Kenyan government moved quickly to tighten park security and drive away poachers. The park was off-limits to visitors at this time.
- Elephants were relocated from the Laikipia plateau to Meru National Park in 2001 thanks to assistance from Kenya’s wildlife department and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. This marked the start of the restoration process for Meru National Park.
- 2001–2010: During the following ten years, reedbuck, black and white rhinos, and other animal species were moved to the Meru National Park. Meru was also designated a lion-protected area in 2005.
Scenery of meru national park
Meru offers extremely beautiful scenery. The park is traversed by various tiny streams as well as Kenya’s major waterway, the Tana River, which is located on the southern boundary. Arid-adapted animals stand out against the striking backdrop of lovely Doum palms and baobab trees that are silhouetted against the sky and combined with the red soil.
Weather and Climate in meru national park
Over the course of a year, precipitation levels shift drastically. Very little rain falls over most of the dry season (June to October). This changes in October, when precipitation gradually increases ahead of the wet season (November to May), reaching a peak in April. On the other hand, Meru has temperatures that are consistently about 32°C (90°F) because of its proximity to the equator.
From July to October- dry season.
- It’s warm, sunny, and dry outside. There is very little humidity and very little rain. Although the first rains relieve the heat and provide relief, the temperature peaks in October.
- June, July, August, and September-There is almost never any rain. Evenings and early mornings are cooler, with temperatures hovering around 16°C (61°F). The afternoons are hot, with temperatures reaching 31 °C (88 °F).
- October: Before the rain relieves the heat, temperatures rise and it becomes very hot. Although they peak much higher, daytime temperatures are typically about 33°C (91°F). After the protracted dry season, it is a big relief when the rain finally arrives.
From November to May-wet season
- The “short rains” from November to December, the “long rains” from March to May, and a dry time in between make up the wet season. Except for April and November, rain totals aren’t particularly high.
- It may start raining in October or November. The brief showers typically reach their height around November. Prior to and soon after rain, temperatures usually rise. The typical midday temperature can exceed 32°C (90°F).
- January and February are dry months during the rainy season. The average temperature during these months, which is 34°C (93°F), is the highest.
- Long rains occur during the months of March, April, and May. The wettest month of the year is, by far, April, when certain roads become impassable. May sees a decrease in rain, but the roads may still be problematic till late May.
Meru National Park’s wildlife
Large lion prides and buffalo herds can be found in Meru National Park. Antelope, elephants, cheetahs, Oryx, leopards, and zebras are also found there. The rivers in Meru National Park are abundant with hippos that can be seen wallowing in the water, catfish, freshwater turtles, and Nile crocodiles.
With almost 300 bird species identified, Meru is a top location for bird watching. Only in this region of eastern Africa can one find two bird species: the golden palm weaver and the hinde’s pied babbler.
Other unique bird spices found in meru national park include the Boran Cisticola, Golden-breasted Starling, Somali Ostrich, Somali Bee-eater, and Vulturine Guinea-Fowl. Along with other raptors, Meru is home to the palm-nut vulture, the bat hawk, and the martial eagle.
Best time to visit Meru National Park
The ideal months to visit Meru National Park for wildlife viewing are from June through September. The dry season, which lasts through these months, makes it easier to see wildlife. The park is covered in high grass during Kenya’s short and long rains, making it more difficult to see game.
The best months to go are November through April if you want to go bird watching. Several migrating bird species from North Africa and Europe are beginning to arrive in the area around Meru National Park during these months.
Tourist Attractions: what to see in meru national park
A sanctuary for black and white rhinos, both black and white rhinos are housed in the rhino sanctuary. These animals require urgent protection due to decades of poaching, and there are numerous conservation programs in Kenya aimed at preserving rhinos. The 80km2 refuge is cordoned off and secured against poachers. The population of rhinos has increased as a result of this.
The Tana River, The enormous Tana River is the source of the majority of the 13 rivers that divide Meru National Park. The river is the longest in Kenya and has a length of more than 1000 kilometers. The river flows from Nyambene Hills down the sloping foothills before separating into smaller rivers at the opposite end of the park. Meru National Park depends heavily on its water networks.
The lioness Elsa, Elsa the lioness will be recognized by viewers of the 1966 movie Born Free. The story of Elsa, who was tragically abandoned by her mother and raised as an orphan by George and Joy Adamson, was made into a movie in 1966. The Adamson family’s former encampment is not far from Elsa the lioness’s burial place.
The Adamson Falls, Adams Falls, named for renowned wildlife conservationists George and Joy Adamson, is a 50-meter-high waterfall in the Hastings cavern that provides some sightings. Depending on the hikers’ level of fitness, it takes two to three hours to reach the top of the falls, but the challenging climb is well worth it.
Tourist Activities: what to do in Meru National Park
Self-drive or guided game drives provided by most Safari Company or resort you stay at are available common activities in the national park. Elsa’s Kopje has a special permit that allows it to lead wildlife walks and night safaris inside the park. The following are the other tourist activities in meru national park
The Big Five—the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo—as well as a wide range of other species can be found in the park. Many parts of the park are known to be home to zebras and gazelles that freely roam while feeding on dry yellow grass tufts.
There is a lot of wildlife in the rivers near the park. Crocodiles are waiting to pounce on anyone bold enough to visit these shores as they lurk in the murky depths. On the banks of the numerous rivers and lakes located throughout the park, hippos can frequently be spotted sunning.
Visitors can witness more than 300 different bird species in the area, including Maasai Ostriches, Guinea fowl, Fish Eagles, Kori Bustards, Palm Weavers, African Fin foots, Secretary Birds, Wattled Starlings, Martial Eagles, and Boran Cisticola.
Nature hikes/ walking safari
A walking safari through Meru National Park enables visitors to concentrate on the park’s smaller details and may lead to the discovery of wildlife like the bohor reedbuck, mooching buffalos, the secretive caracal, and more than 400 different types of animated birds.
The Cultural Safari
The Meru National Park serves as a crossroads of cultures. The locals’ generosity has contributed to the park’s prosperity. The Meru people, who are mainly farmers with hectares of Catha edulis plants (Miraa) and coffee, live on the slopes of the Nyambene hills to the west of the park. The pastoralist settlements of Kamba, Borana, and Orma also border the park. Visitors who are interested in learning more about these people’s luxurious way of life might benefit from their vast cultural diversity and experiences.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Meru National Park
The following are the Camps where you can stay in your safari visit to Meru National Park
Offbeat Safaris camp is a great place to see the big five, go bird watching, take guided hikes, go fishing, and visit local towns, schools, and rhino sanctuaries. Offbeat Safaris is situated in the Bisandi National Reserve, on the outskirts of Meru National Park. It is a well-equipped tent camp that is lit by both Tilley lamps and solar energy.
Elsa’s Kopje camp: Elsa’s Kopje, named for the lioness of the same name, is situated above the campground of George and Joy Adamson, who liberated Elsa. Before Elsa’s Kopje, the park was on the verge of extinction. There were plans to convert the area into rice farms, but the camp’s lovely setting was a crucial factor in reviving Meru. In addition to possessing a swimming pool, it provides cultural trips, massages, escorted walks, river fishing, and excursions to the Tana River.
Rhino River Camp: Like Offbeat Safaris, Rhino River Camp is situated on the outskirts of Meru National Park. The camp offers a bar, a restaurant, a massage area, and a swimming pool. Big five sightings, wildlife drives, and bush walks are available. Other accommodations in meru national park includes:
- Ikweta Safari Camp:
- Rhino River Camp
- Merera Springs Eco-lodge
- The Stansted Annex Hotel
- The Westwind Hotel
- Elemana Elsa’s Kopje
- Meru Alba Hotel
- Leopard Rock Lodge