MERU NATIONAL PARK

Altitude: 1,000-3,400 Ft
Area: 870 Sq. Kms.
Distance from Nairobi: 348 Kms.
Opened April 1968
Beautiful landscape, 13 rivers
Former home of George & Joy Adamson & “Elsa” the Lioness
Game viewing: elephant, hippo, lion, leopard, cheetah
Campers paradise
Excellent views of Mount Kenya

This lush park east of Meru, is one of Kenya’s lesser known and visited reserves. As it benefits from Mt Kenya’s generous rainfall, it has abundant jungle, tall grass and swamps and it is not as easy to spot game here as in other parks. This is where George and Joy Adamson released several hand-reared animals, including the son of the famous lioness Elsa (immortalised in the book Born Free) and their cheetah Pippa. George’s stint here as Park Warden meant the park had a high profile in the 1970’s and ’80’s. But it has sadly gone through very dark days.

The area was hard hit by poachers, who murdered Joy Adamson in Meru National Park and later George, at the nearby Kora National Reserve. Elephant numbers were decimated and a herd of white rhino that were imported from South Africa and lovingly protected by rangers, were shot along with their keepers by heavily armed poachers. Security since then has been beefed up, but it is best to enquire about conditions, before arranging a trip. Having said that it has lovely views, with Mt Kenya as a backdrop, and there are plenty of animals these days.

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