This Park is situated in the east of Meru covering an area of 870 square kilometers with an annual abundant rainfall of 635 – 762 mm in the west of the park and 305–356 mm in the east however, the rainfall results in tall grass and lush swamps.
Meru is among the two areas in which conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson raised ‘’Elsa the Lioness’’ made famous in the best-selling book and award-winning movie known as ‘’Born Free’’. ‘’Elsa the Lioness’’ is buried in this park and part of Joy’s ashes were scattered on her gravesite.
Between 2000 and 2005, the Kenya Wildlife Service aided by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) restored Meru National Park from near ruin to one of the most promising tourist destinations in Eastern Africa through solving the park’s poaching problem.
IFAW donated US$1.25 million to this major restoration project and with this money aided in improving the basic infrastructure and provided essential equipment and vehicles for law enforcement activities. Since 2005, the protected area is considered part of a Lion Conservation Unit.
The Park boosts beautiful scenery that will force many visitors to pull out their cameras and take many photos from the Park.
Although most of Meru is flat, the drier parts of the south and east of the park are scattered with rocky ridges and kopjes of which Mughwango Hill occupied by Elsa’s Kopje is the most iconic example.
The swamps in the northern part of the park are also a major feature of which the most permanent are Mulika, Mururi and Bwatherongi which make particularly good targets for game drives during the dry season when they can be full of buffalo and big herds of elephants.
Mururi swamp and part of Bwatherongi swamp are inside the rhino sanctuary. The other major landmark in the park is Adamson’s Falls, which are a series of fast rapids where the broad Tana River flows through a district of hard rock.
Getting down here takes a good couple of hours, so the area is most commonly visited as a full-day trip.
The park protects a variety of bird species and wildlife species including some big games such as; African bush elephants, African lions, African leopards, eastern black and southern white rhinos, cheetahs, Grévy’s zebras, gazelles, duikers, lesser kudus, and hippopotamuses.
Common dik dik, Oryx, and some of Kenya’s largest herds of buffaloes are also resided in the Park. The rivers abound with many hippos and crocodiles as well as fishing for barbus and catfish is permitted at camp sites and along the Tana River.
In the mid 1980’s, the Park suffered from poaching however, Kenya Wildlife Service armed wildlife security patrols have driven out the poachers and the elephant population has stabilized with breeding herds settling down.
Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Park including; Red-necked falcon, Heuglins courser, brown-backed woodpecker, sunbirds Peter’s Fin-foot.
The Park also inhabits the Murera and Ura Rivers thus protecting some aquatic bird species such as; Pel’s Fishing Owl, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and weavers. One of the Park’s biggest draws is its successful rhino sanctuary.
This secure area within the park, beside the western boundary near the main gate, now covers a substantial 80 square kilometers.
Both black and white number over 60 and are all monitored around the clock and are well habituated to visitors, so sightings can be very good and you should have time to take pictures at close range.
However besides its beautiful scenery, birdlife and abundant wildlife, other tourist attractions in the Park include; the once home of George and Joy Adamson, Adamson’s Falls, splendid views of Mount Kenya (Africa’s second highest and Kenya’s highest mountain), and the Tana River (largest River in Kenya).
The Park is also made up of fascinating accommodations which will make a tourist’s safari more memorable simply because he or she will be sleeping comfortably and in a place offering spectacular views.
Some of the Park’s best accommodations include; Elsa hotel, West-wind hotel, Meru safari hotel, Leopards rock lodge, Offbeat Meru camp, Rhino River camp, Ikweta Country Inn, Murera springs eco lodge and many others.
Meru national park is adjacent to BISANADI NATIONAL RESERVE which is a wildlife reserve in Isiolo County.
Visitors to the reserve can boat/fish on the Tana and Rojewero rivers thus attaining a complete and memorable safari. Therefore, visitors to Meru national park can also give a visit to its nearby reserve and enjoy its beauty too.