Meru national park

Meru national park is north-east of Mount Kenya and covers a massive area of pristine wilderness. Meru National Park comprises 1800 square kilometers and is the heart of an ecosystem that includes the Kora, Bisandi, North Kitui, and Rahole Reserves, totaling over 5000 square kilometers.

Elsa’s Kopje is located in the center of the park, on a small, rocky Mughwango hill with 360-degree views stretching from Mount Kenya‘s 17,000-foot top to nearly infinity to the east. Below the hill sits George Adamson’s camp, and the hill was Elsa the lion’s playtime. A fertile spring is to the east of the hill, and guests may see enormous herds of elephant, buffalo, and giraffe traverse the plains below. Because Elsa’s Kopje is one of only two lodges in the National Park, guests will have the wide wilderness almost entirely to themselves.

Joy and George Adamson, who reintroduced their pet lioness “Elsa” into the wild in Meru National Park in the 1960s, made the park famous. They authored a book about their experience, which was adapted into a feature film, “Born Free,” starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers. It was a groundbreaking film, the first to portray wild animals as endearing creatures whose predicament the viewer could sympathize with. George Adamson worked with lions until his death in 1989, living to the south of Meru National Park. Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness were both laid to rest in Meru National Park.

The park features a vast range of environment and wildlife, ranging from cold woods at 3400 ft. to semi-desert plains with big baobab and Commiphora trees at 1000 ft. It is home to basking hippo and thirteen clean, spring-fed rivers flanked with palms and riverine woodland. Meru is lion and elephant country, but it also includes numerous uncommon species such as the caracal, the gorgeous Lesser Kudu, the aardwolf, and over 400 bird species.

The park also features an 84-square-kilometer rhino sanctuary with around 60 black and white rhinos. Because the territory is so large, finding the rhino can still be difficult. Meru suffered greatly during the harsh poaching years of the 1980s, and as a result, it has not been a popular tourist destination for as long as other Kenyan attractions. The game watching is good, if a little unpredictable at times, and with only a few camps or lodges, Meru provides true exclusivity.


Meru has been a popular safari destination since it was formed in 1966, thanks to the success of Born Free. However, its popularity declined in the 1980s and early 1990s, allowing poachers to control the area for many years. But everything was to change around the turn of the century, when the International Fund for Animal Welfare, with the help of the Kenya Wildlife Service, set out to restore Meru to its former splendor. Highways were repaired, rangers were rehired, and a rhino sanctuary was established. The park has been revived!


Precipitation amounts vary drastically throughout the course of a year. There is extremely little rain throughout the dry season (June to October). This changes in October, when rainfall begins to increase in anticipation of the wet season (November to May), with a peak of rainy weather in April. On the other hand, temperatures at Meru are stable at roughly 32°C (90 °F) due to its proximity to the equator.


Meru’s terrain is responsible for drawing its swarms of creatures. The park contains 870 square kilometers of wide meadows, lush bush, and acacia woodland. The Big Five (lion, rhino, leopard, Cape buffalo, and African elephant) are all present, as are numerous other species such as cheetah, giraffe, zebra, Oryx, kudu, and gazelle. The park’s picturesque rivers and streams also attract a large number of hippo, crocodiles, and freshwater turtles.

Meru’s birdlife is also magnificent, with ostriches, several raptors, Pel’s fishing owl, stunning sunbirds and starlings, and uncommon species like the enormous kingfisher! This is truly a birder’s delight.

Meru national park
Meru national park


  • Wild, untamed, and beautiful national park
  • Made famous by Joy and George Adamson’s lions
  • One of the least visited national parks, it offers a superb safari experience.
  • Home to the Big 5 and a huge variety of games
  • Only 300 km from Nairobi
  • Rivers and streams teeming with crocodiles and hippos


Meru National Park is wild, undeveloped, and breathtakingly beautiful. The equator runs through the park, which is crisscrossed by several rivers and streams, transforming it into a lush, tropical paradise. The setting is breathtaking, with broad grasslands, hilly slopes, twisting rivers, and dense palm groves.

Meru’s activities revolve around seeing all of this wildlife, including game drives and game walks. Because the park is not overrun with people, it offers a very true Kenya safari experience. A visit to the successful rhino sanctuary is highly recommended, and the location of Elsa’s tomb—the lonely north bank of the Ura River in the deep south of Meru—is also well worth a visit.


Joy Adamson’s book “Born Free” (1960) made the park renowned as the setting for the account of the years she and her husband spent in the area investigating the local lion and cheetah populations. Elsa, the lioness featured in “Born Free” who won the hearts of the world, is buried by her favorite stream in Meru National Park.


The park was brutally poached in the mid-1980s and has just lately been relaunched with successful animal conservation and stable breeding herds. Despite being one of Kenya’s most rewarding game viewing areas, it remains one of the country’s least visited Kenya parks.

Large prides of lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, black rhino, zebra, gazelle, Oryx, uncommon antelope such as the Lesser Kudu and duiker, the more frequent Dik-Dik, Africa’s smallest antelope, and some of Kenya’s largest herds of buffalo are also possible. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles abound in the rivers. Barbus and catfish fishing are permitted at campgrounds and along the Tana River. More than 300 bird species have been identified here.


Meru National Park is quite easy to reach by road, with a variety of routes available depending on the season. Airstrips are also accessible for fly-ins. We’ll plan the optimal itinerary for you based on your time, money, and the season of your Meru National Park safari.


Because of the lack of rain during the dry season (June to October), this is the best time to visit Meru. The grass doesn’t grow as much, making wildlife easier to observe, and the circumstances are generally better for exploring the park’s beautiful terrain. High grass obscures the animals during the rainy months, and elephants migrate to drier terrain.