Meru National Park

Part of a great swath of protected areas to the north of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak, Meru National Park tends to be a much more relaxed and exclusive affair than Kenya’s better-known parks, with lower visitor numbers but still a great array of game.

The setting for the book, and later movie, Born Free, visits to Meru National Park marry some of Kenya’s least habituated animals with vistas which drift between distant horizons and the gentle shapes of the Nyambene Mountains.

No less than 13 rivers – including the Tana, Ura, and Rojerwero – come together to provide steady supplies of fresh water from the mountains. This water helps support a rich column of riverine forest, which in turn provides food and habit for species as diverse as leopard and baboon, their favorite prey.

Away from its rivers, Meru’s landscapes evolve into quintessential East African savanna shaded by lone acacia trees. Here safari goers will find the big hitters of the safari circuit – lion, elephant, and both black and white rhino – watched by rangers 24 hours a day in a dedicated reserve to prevent poaching.

The lion are particularly unusual since the males lack the manes of mature adults elsewhere. While scientists are still unsure of the exact reasoning for this, they all agree that Meru’s maneless lions have plenty of potential prey to target, with prides hunting everything from Grevy’s zebra to beisa oryx.

The park’s network of vehicle tracks allow traditional Land Rover-based game drives to watch these hunts take place, while away from these roads it’s also possible to explore much of what Meru National Park has to offer on foot, making a memorable trip quite simply unforgettable.

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Top Kenya Travel Destinations

Amboseli National Park / Laikipia Plateau / Masai Mara National Reserve / Mombasa / Nairobi / Samburu National Reserve / Tsavo East National Park / Tsavo West National Park

The Big Five

African Elephant / Cape Buffalo / Leopard / Lion / Rhino

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