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This park is most famous as the setting of Joy Adamson's book "Born Free" and is where the Adamson's lived and researched the lion and cheetah. The lioness "Elsa" is the most well known and her grave is marked here. Its other major attractions are the views of Mt Kenya, its rivers and riverine habitats, the Tana River and Adamson's Falls.

Despite the fame of the area it is not as well visited as other parks. Offering spectacular scenery encompassing a variety of terrains, and a wide range of wildlife and bird life, it is a park that should not be missed.

Meru National Park straddles the equator and is about 80 kilometres east of Meru town. It is situated in the Eastern Province of Kenya and is ease-north-east of Mount Kenya and the Nyambene Hills.

All of the Big Five can be seen here: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. Other mammals found here include Beisaoryx, cheetah, gerenuk, Grant's gazelle, Grevy's zebra, hartebeest, hippo, lesser kudu, plains zebra, reticulated giraffe,

Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in this national park including the much sought after African finfoot and Pel's fishing owl, and including the Somali ostrich. Between October and March Eurasian bee-eaters and rollers stop over here on their northward migration.

The Tana River forms the parks southern boundary. The main rivers are the Rojerwero, the Ura and the Tana River, and there are 10 other rivers flowing through the park as well as various mountain streams. There are several prominent inselbergs of basement rock, notably Mughwango and Leopard rock. The park affords superb views of Mt Kenya. The road conditions and accessibility of the western part of the park is much better than the east where a 4WD vehicle is necessary particularly in wet conditions. The road network in the park has recently been upgraded. However due to the nature of soil, some roads are easily destroyed by vehicles during the rains.


Meru National Park has the widest variety of landscapes and habitats. Vegetation types found here include mainly thorny bush land in the north, wooded savannah grasslands in the west, and open grassland in the east and south. The rivers are lined with dense riverine forests of doum and raffia palm, and the riverine swamps are covered with sedges. The vegetation along the riverbanks and in the swamps is particularly dense and thus makes game viewing and bird watching more challenging than it is in parks like the Masai Mara.

Owing to the proximity of the park to Mt Kenya and the Nyambene Hills the park has a high rainfall particularly in its western part. (635-762mm in the west and 305-356mm in the east. The eastern section of the park is drier and can become very hot. 

Activities on offer here include game drives, bird watching, and guided walks.

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By Air

There is a main airstrip at Kina & the Mulika airstrip is next to Meru Mulika Lodge. Charter flights can land at either.

By road 

There are 2 routes from Nairobi: either via Nyeri-Nanyuki- Meru to the Murera Gate (348 kilometres), or via Embuto the Ura Gate (290 kilometres). The main route into the park is from Meru along the C91 to the Murera Gate. The UraGate is best reached from the C92 Meru-Tunya road, followed by a small track from the C92 to Gatunga.

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