MERU NATIONAL PARK IN KENYA

Overview

Meru National Park-Kenya was established in 1966 on the eastern side of Meru, approximately 350 km from Nairobi at an elevation of 870 km², it is one of the most famous National Parks in Kenya with abundant rainfall, 635–762 mm in the west of the Park and 305–356 mm in the east, resulting into tall grass and lush swamps. Meru National Park is wild and beautiful straddling the equator and split by 13 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams. Simply a stunning wildlife arena!

Meru National Park-Kenya boasts for its astonishing scenery ranging from woodlands at 3,400ft (1,036m) on the slopes of Nyambeni Mountain Range, north east of Mt. Kenya, to wide open plains with bendy riverbanks dotted with doum palms. This scenery is filled with a wide range of animals including the African bush elephant, East African Lion, African leopard, Kenyan Cheetah, Eastern black rhinoceros, southern white rhinoceros, Grevy`s zebra, Hippopotamus.

Over 300species of birdlife have been recorded in Meru National Park-Kenya, including; 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 among others.

How to Access Meru National Park- Kenya

Two main access routes to Meru National Park-Kenya,

  • Through the Murera Gate – the main gate (tarred all the way)
  • Through the Ura Gate (tarred up to Chiakariga Market and murrammed from there to the gate).

Access through Murera Gate

By public transportation; Maua is well served by public transportation. Buses and Matatu shuttles depart at all times of the day from the neighbourhood of downtown Nairobi popularly known as “Tea Room”, off Accra Road. Transfers from Maua to iKWETA Safari Camp can be arranged. Travel by Matatu is also possible.

Access through Ura Gate

Access to Meru National Park through the Ura Gate is during dry weather. From Nairobi, take the A2 highway in the direction of Nyeri. Drive for about 87 km to Makutano. Turn right to the B6 in the direction Embu-Meru. Drive past Embu town for about 18 km. At Ena market, turn right on the C92 Ena-Mitunguu highway in the direction of Ishiara-Chiakariga.

Indicative distances

Nairobi via Embu-Ura gate-Meru National Park-Murera gate: 312 km.
Nairobi via Embu-Meru-Murera gate: 295 km.
Nairobi via Nanyuki-Meru-Murera Gate: 331 km.
Makutano (Jct Embu-Meru-Nanyuki B6 Highway & Meru-Maua C91 Highway) 70 km

Wildlife in Meru National Park-Kenya.

Mammals in Meru National park-Kenya include; Lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, Lesser Kudu, duiker, Dik-Dik, buffalo, reticulated giraffes, black and white rhinos, endangered Grevy’s zebra eland, Oryx, Impalas, buffaloes, rare Black and white Rhinos). Aquatic life includes hippo and crocodile. Fishing for barbus and catfish is permitted at camp sites and along the Tana River.

Birdlife in Meru National Park-Kenya

Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in Meru National Park-Kenya some of these 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 weaver.

Elsa`s grave in Meru National Park-Kenya

Experience this remarkable TRUE story of a lion cub in transition between the captivity in which she was raised and the wild to which she is returned and captures the abilities of both humans and animals to cross the seemingly unbridgeable gap between their radically different worlds.
It clearly shows that even wild animals are individuals capable of great trust, understanding and affection. You shouldn’t miss Elsa’s headstone!

Lush Swamps of Meru National Park -Kenya

The big swanky swamps of Meru National park like Mughwango swamp, Mulika swamp, Bwatherongi, Mururi and leopard rock swamp, where a diversity of bird species and wildlife congregate especially in the dry season. Feed your eardrum with serene voices of birds woofing in the tall grasses and swamps.

Rivers in Meru National Park-Kenya

Meru national park has a total of 13 permanent rivers and numerous streams including Murera, Rojowero, Kiolu, Ura, Bwatherongi.  Tana River forms its southern boundary. The park is fully packed with enough food and water which feeds the large herds of nutritious animals and diverse bird species.

Rhino sanctuary in Meru National Park-Kenya

Meru’s 48-sq-km Rhino Sanctuary, one of the best places in Kenya to see wild rhinos. At last count, this fenced portion of the park was home to 25 black and 55 white rhinos, many of whom were reintroduced here from Lake Nakuru National Park after the disastrous poaching of the ‘80s. This Rhino sanctuary can be accessed from Murera gate.

Elsa`s Kopje Meru in Meru National Park-Kenya

Elsa’s Kopje is fashioned into Mughwango Hill, above the site of George Adamson’s original camp where he raised and released orphan lions, long before conservation became fashionable. Each cottage is crafted around the rocks, with a large bedroom, open sitting room, veranda and spacious bathroom, each with breathtaking views.

Rhino River Camp in Meru National Park-Kenya

The luxury and uniquely designed canvas cottages of the Camp are built on wooden decks suspended among the trees of the pristine forest edging Kindani river. Each room has its own private relaxation area where you can meditate, re-read your favorite novel, or simply unwind.

iKWETA Safari Camp in Meru National Park-Kenya

iKWETA Safari camp is a small intimate safari camp opened for business in November 2011 to offer personalized service. iKWETA Safari Camp is a convenient base for exploring Mt Kenya region including the complete wilderness of Meru National Park. iKWETA Camp comprises of 10 spacious guest tents, tastefully decorated in safari-style with high quality furnishings.

Meru National Park-Kenya was one of the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness made famous in the bestselling book and award-winning movie ‘Born Free’. Elsa the lioness is buried in the park and part of Joy`s ashes were scattered on her gravesite. Elsa`s Kopje can be sighted in the middle of the park, on a small rocky Mughwango hill that affords 360degree views stretching from the peak of Mt. Kenya to the east, to virtually infinity.

Below the hill is the site of George Adamson`s camp, and the hill was the playground of Elsa the lion. There is a fertile spring below the hill and guests can watch vast herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe make their way across the plains. Meru means ‘people and place’ in Amiiru Language of the bantu Ameru or Ngaa people who inhabit the Meru region.

History of Meru National Park-Kenya

Meru National Park-Kenya is where George and Joy Adamson released their most famous lioness, Elsa, back into the wild (a story eternalized in the book and film Born free). Maru park was founded in 1966, run by one of Kenya`s most energetic warden, Peter Jenkins, was a popular destination for safaris before it fell into neglect in 1980s, and for more than a decade into 1990s, this fascinating wilderness was nearly off limits due to out of control poaching.

Then championed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, with the support of the European Union, the park became a Kenya Wildlife Service protected area and was by far restored, with newly earth roads, a dedicated force of rangers led by a new warden (Peter Jenkin`s son Mark Jenkins), and a poacher-proof rhino sanctuary near the main gate which is home to black and white rhinos.