Best known as the spot where George and Joy Adamson re-introduced the orphaned lioness Elsa (forever immortalized in the film Born Free), Meru National Park is a spellbindingly beautiful grassland park to the east of Mount Kenya. Often overlooked by those who favor the more famous Masai Mara, Meru offers similarly great game viewing as well as the chance to drive for hours on end without seeing another vehicle.
Renowned for its elephant herds, Meru National Park is a truly idyllic place with jaw dropping views of Mount Kenya from throughout the park. The habitats range from forests to wetlands to savannah, and each have their own distinct look and feel. Expect to see plenty giraffe, lion, hippo and elephant throughout the park. There are also over 280 species of birds recorded, so bring those binoculars!
Recently the focus of a complete rehabilitation, Meru National Park has become Kenya Wildlife Service’s model park and boasts excellent facilities. Home to a Rhino Sanctuary that protects approximately 70 white and black rhinos from the ever-present scourge of poachers, Meru offers the chance to observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
Although you could visit Meru National Park all year round, we recommend the dry season as the high rainfall results in pretty high grass and low animal visibility. While there are several great accommodation options in Meru, we tend to favor the multiple award-winning Elsa’s Koppie Lodge, named after the orphaned lioness, with its rock pool and private terraces looking out onto the expansive plains of Meru below.