The Meru National Park is a must go-to destination if you are planning a safari holiday in Kenya.
It is over 320 km from Nairobi, on the slopes of the Nyambeni Mountain range to the northeast of Mount Kenya at an altitude of between 1000-3400 Ft and has an area of over 850 sq km.
It has been in existence since 1968 and became famous as the home of George & Joy Adamson and Elsa the Lioness, whose grave is marked here, who lived in the Kora National Reserve, which along with the Bisanadi, Rahole & Mwingi National Reserves are associated with Meru.
Meru is a great place to go for a Kenya Safari Holiday because not only is it wild, beautiful, and relatively uncrowded, because it is the least visited of Kenya’s larger Parks, but it also has a good cross-section of game to view.
This is brought about firstly by the position of Meru which lies across the Equator and is split by thirteen rivers and many mountain streams, which branch out from the Tana River at the southern border.
In terms of scenery, there is everything from high woodlands to wide open plains with a huge number of riverbanks.
A section of the park has been designated as a wilderness area, and so there are no roads there, although the rest of the park has decent access roads and tracks, which deteriorate quite dramatically in the rains.
The game you should expect to see will include large prides of lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, and Lesser Kudu duiker and Dik Dik antelopes. You may also see some of the largest herds of buffalo in Kenya, with a lot of hippo and crocodiles in the rivers. Meru was one of the areas that suffered most through poaching twenty years ago, but good policing and security patrols have driven out the poachers.
There are believed to be over 300 different species of birds here at Meru so if your Kenya Safari Holiday is primarily one of ornithology then you should be more than happy to see species including Peter’s Finfoot, Pel’s fishing owl, kingfishers, bee-eaters to name just a few.
The beauty of Meru is that you will not encounter many other tourists when out on a game drive.
To get to Meru is a question of driving for around eight hours from Nairobi to Meru town. In all probability, you’ll need to organize a Safari Lodge package, and this would be part of it. If you want to access Kora National Reserve, along with the Bisanadi, Rahole & Mwingi, then this can be difficult and needs organizing in advance.
There are three airstrips that you can use to access Meru on your Kenya Safari Tour.
The times to visit Meru on your Kenya Safari Holiday are definitely the dry months, and the climate is generally hot and dry with an average altitude of around 2000 feet. You’ll find the nights are quite pleasantly cool, even a jersey in the evenings!!
The summer months are December through March, the rain then falls between March and May. The winter is July to September, and it rains again between November and December.
At Meru you will need to take precautions as it is a malaria area, so wear light long-sleeved clothing and long trousers with DEET sprayed on as the most effective insect repellent.
You need to sleep under treated mosquito netting, and the doors and windows should be screened against mosquitos. If you are lucky enough to have a fan or even air conditioning then even better, but just remember malaria prophylaxis doesn’t totally prevent Malaria, it’s best to cover up and spray.
The Meru is probably not the best National Park to visit if this is your first ever Kenya Safari Holiday, but if you have an eye for detail and previous experience then you must not leave it out as part of your next Kenya Safari Tour.