Meru National Park

White Water in Meru

Travel to Meru National Park – Wilderness & Wildlife

Meru National Park is an explorer’s paradise. The least visited of Kenya’s larger parks and reserves, this remote region is a lush green eden. From the parks southern boundary, seemingly endless series of streams branch out from the Tana River bringing life to the land.

Meru’s thick forests, tall grass and stands of Doum Palm are surrounded by rolling hills and stark Kopjes. This is the wild country, this isolated unspoilt wilderness lets the visitor have the freedom to explore the park at a relaxed pace without encountering other people. Game tracking can be challenging but very rewarding. Lion are often seen on high rocky outposts, and large herds of buffalo and elephant can also be found. Other species include Reticulated giraffe, oryx, Lesser kudu and eland.

Meru district is named after the Meru – a collective tribe united by a common heritage. The Meru group incorporates the Igembe, Igoji, Imenti, Muitini, Tigania, Muthambi, Mwimbi and Chuka people. The uniting term Meru comes from the Maasai, who called the forests of Tigania and Imenti Mieru, meaning basically “a quiet place”.

Meru was also the backdrop for one of the world’s best known nature stories. This was the place where, in the 1950’s George and Joy Adamson released a captive lioness into the wild. This story became a bestselling book ‘Born Free’ and then an Academy Award winning film. The story is considered a remarkable testament to man’s ability to live with wild animals, and a powerful call for conservation of wildlife and its habitat.

The thick jungle of vegetation in Meru makes game viewing both challenging and rewarding. A wildlife safari through Meru involves tracking and locating game through a range of habitats.

The Hills and Kopjes make good game spotting outposts, and getting up high is the best way to scan the horizons for herds of game. Lions are known to also take advantage of this opportunity, and can be seen hunting on these slopes for buffalo or oryx.

The waters of the Tana river and its many streams always attract plenty of wildlife. The thick riverine forests are the best places to locate game, and are excellent birding country. Large numbers of Reticulated giraffe, impala, Lesser kudu and eland can be found around these water sources.

The Meru area is excellent birding country, there have been recorded sightings of Saddle Billed Stork, Pel’s Fishing Owl and African Finfoots in the swamps and along the river.

Further along the Tana river from Meru, there is access to the smaller Kora National Park, and three reserves Bisanadi, North Kitui, and Rahole. This entire area is sparsely populated and wild, a place that rewards the visitor with untold natural riches.

The most common means of game viewing here is in customised vehicles, with open roofs or sides designed for photography.

White Water Rafting trips on the Tana River are possible. Stretches of White Water are alternated with relaxing drifts through open country with plenty of game viewing along the way.

Fishing trips on the Tana River provide a perfect relaxing break from your safari. They provide a great opportunity to explore the region by boat, and spend a day game and bird watching on the river.

In and around Meru town, many small markets and shops can be found selling local handicrafts. The decorative leatherwork of the Tharaka people is highly regarded, and the finest examples of this craft can be found in this area. The Tharaka also produce excellent spears, arrows, and traditional weapons.

Northern Kenya is also a good place to find handicrafts from further North. Somali Bracelets and Daggers are often found, as are items of silver Ethiopian Jewellery.

Road access to Meru is via Meru town, a three hour drive from Nairobi. The park has well established internal roads and tracks.

  • Former home of George and Joy Adamson and Elsa the lioness.
  • Escape from other tourists and visit one of Kenya’s least visited large parks.
  • White water raft down the Tana River.


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