Intimate and inspiring, Meru National Park is one of East Africa's hidden gems. Over the years we've been impressed by how the frequency of big five sightings has increased. And with volcanic Mount Kenya providing the distant backdrop, we think Meru is the most mystical in Africa for encountering black and white rhinos.
Meru National Park is full of rich history and heritage.
Meru has a special history and was where George and Joy Adamson released lioness Elsa back into the wild during the 60s, a story immortalised in the film Born Free. But it was neglected for two decades and fell off most safari itineraries. Recently restored to its former glory, it's yet to attract the attention it deserves. The guarded rhino sanctuary is an exhilarating highlight and you're virtually guaranteed to both see black and white rhinos in their wild habitat.
What wildlife will you see in Meru National Park?
Predator sightings have been magnificent in recent years, the resident lions and cheetahs are a compelling part of most game drives. Buffalos roam in their thousands and the distinctive grazers of northern Kenya are very much in evidence; admire the regal beisa oryx, be baffled by the long-necked gerenuk, and enjoy the marking on two less-abundant sub-species, the reticulated giraffe and Grevy's zebra. Soaring above it all is a phenomenal cast of birds, including the unforgettable red-necked falcon.
When is the best time to visit Meru National Park?
Most of Meru is a flat grassy savannah, scattered with baobab trees. From April to June the grass is high after the rains, which is steadily grazed as the landscape dries up, before it rains again in November. January to March and September to October are the optimum times as the shorter grass allows better visibility and easier game viewing. Outside these months it's still worth visiting Meru for the rhinos and memorable landscape.
Idyllic and intimate accommodation.
The camps here are unashamedly romantic and boutique, making Meru a delightful place to rest, relax, and indulge in a park that should be much more popular than it is. On our various visits we've found that this national park feels like African safari in miniature, a charming enclave of the big five and much much more.