Meru National Park
is a a pleasantly remote and little-visited reserve lying to the east of Mount Kenya in Central Kenya
As the foothills of Mount Kenya fall away eastward, the land becomes increasingly less well-watered and fertile, eventually running out onto arid semi-desert plains. The park forms part of an important conservation buffer between the heavily populated farmlands of the higher ground and the wide open savannah below.
The reserve itself is largely comprised of dry acacia scrub, with stretches of open grasslands and strings of riverine forest featuring the characteristic doum palm. Maybe it's not as naturally beautiful as other parks, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Wildlife here may not be so naturally abundant as more inherently fertile areas like the Maasai Mara
, but there should be plenty to keep you interested. Almost all of the main safari animals are present, as well as northern specialities including gerenuks, reticulated giraffes and Somali ostriches. There are also good populations of predators including lions, cheetahs, leopards and spotted hyenas.
Meru was virtually poached out in the 1980's by Somali raiders and although security has long since been restored and wildlife numbers recovered, large scale tourism has yet to take hold. Visitor number remain blissfully low.
Another big advantage is the Meru is one of the only national parks to permit walking safari, which has become something of a speciality, notably with approaches onto elephants.
Meru is one of our favourite reserves in Kenya. We tend to recommend it most to more experienced safari travellers who are keen to steer clear of the main tourist grooves.Elsa's Kopje
... is undoubtedly the best known camp in the area, a very polished high-end operation in the heart of the reserve.
Meru is usually accessed by air, with guests typically staying for 2 to 4 nights in one camp, usually in combination with at least one other area in this Kenya Central
region, as well as the Maasai Mara
way off to the southwest.
Some people prefer to overland through this central region, typically flying into Meru at the start and then travelling by road through any or all of Lewa Downs
, Il Ngwesi Valley
, Mathew's Range
and Laikipia North