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Meru National Park Safaris

A safari in Meru National Park is a wonderfully exciting experience. Less visited than some of Kenya’s other parks and reserves, it makes for a perfect ‘off the beaten track’ safari holiday.


Meru was made famous by George and Joy Adamson who reared Elsa the lion here, a story which was later turned into the book and film ‘Born Free’. It’s easy to become captivated by the untamed wilderness while searching for the park’s wildlife, and a tailor-made Meru safari is certainly a memorable one. There is a limited choice of accommodation in Meru National Park but what is available is fantastic quality.

Meru National Park is located in the foothills of the Nyambene Hills in northern Kenya. Few safari destinations in east Africa provide the same feeling of escaping into the wild. Thick bush, verdant savannah and acacia woodland make up the 870 km² Meru National Park, with a network of 13 tributary rivers and smaller streams combining to feed into the Tana River. It is this network of water that sustains both the vegetation and the animals in this region.


Access to Meru from Nairobi by road is relatively simple, and the park is well connected to the rest of the country by tarmac roads. The drive time from Nairobi to the park is under 6 hours, but it is advisable to break the drive up with a stop in Laikipia. Daily flights to Meru National Park from Nairobi are available as well.

Image by Henrik Hansen
Image by Zoë Reeve

The quantity of wildlife in Meru is growing each year, and game viewing can be as good as in Kenya’s busier parks, although of course this isn’t guaranteed. The park was heavily poached through the 80s and early 90s, and the current animal population is a sign of what can be achieved through dedicated conservation efforts. Today the park boasts a higher biodiversity than any other in Kenya.


Sightings of elephant and buffalo are common on luxury Meru safaris, and there is also a rhino protection zone where sightings of both black and white rhino are common. Lions are regularly spotted, and sometimes even leopard and cheetah can be seen on safaris in Meru. Kenya’s rarer species like the Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, gerenuk, lesser kudu, Beisa oryx and Grevy’s Zebra can also be found in the park.


Near the rivers and streams visitors can expect to see hippos and crocodiles while birders will enjoy potential sightings of the African fish eagle and Pel’s fishing owl as well as other common water birds. Meru National Park is home to over 400 recorded bird species, some of which are endemic.

Elsa’a Kopje is undoubtedly the pick of the accommodation in Meru National Park. It is located on the Mughwango Hill above the site of George Adamson’s original lion rescue camp. A series of stylish cottages built around the hill’s rocks offer guests a quintessential safari lodge experience with awe-inspiring views over the park. There are other options for family safari camps and luxury honeymoon lodges in Meru, so have a chat with our team to find out what will best suit you.

Image by Harshil Gudka
Image by David Clode

Game viewing in Meru is best during the dry season between June and October, when the vegetation in the park is thinner making game easier to spot. With less surface water around animals tend to stay close to the river making them easier to find.


During the wet seasons between March and May and then again between October and November game viewing becomes trickier. Animals are harder to find due to longer grass and thicker bushes. In these months some elephants will also migrate out of the park.

To discuss your Kenya safari holiday, Meru safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Kenya experts today by contacting us here.


Take a look at our recommended Meru safari itineraries and hand-picked Meru lodges and camps for a bit of inspiration to get you started.

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