Although Meru National Park was made famous by Joy Adamson's "Born Free" books, it remains largely undiscovered and untamed. With its rugged jungle, rivers, swamps and grasslands, game viewing opportunities are excellent. Neglected on safari bucket lists for years, it has been restored to its former glory while evading the hordes of safari visitors.

Highlights
  • Wild, untamed and beautiful national park
  • Made famous by Joy and George Adamson's lions
  • One of the least visited national parks, it offers a superb safari experience
  • Home to the Big 5 and a huge variety of game
  • Only 300 km from Nairobi
  • Rivers and streams teeming with crocodile and hippo

Meru National Park is unspoiled, untamed and exceptionally beautiful. The equator cuts through the park which is crisscrossed by many rivers and streams, making it a lush, tropical paradise. The scenery is spectacular and ranges from sweeping grasslands and mountainous slopes to winding rivers and Doum-palm forests.

"Born Free" fame

The park was made famous as the setting for Joy Adamson's book "Born Free" (1960), which details the story of the years she and her husband spent in the area researching the local lion and cheetah population. Elsa, the lioness who features in "Born Free" and who captured the world's heart, is buried near her favourite stream in Meru National Park.

Recently re-opened

In the mid-1980s, the park was heavily poached and has only recently been 'relaunched' with successful wildlife conservation and stable, breeding herds. It remains one of the least-visited parks in Kenya despite being incredibly rewarding for game viewing.

Meru National Park Kenya Sunset stop Elewana Elsas Kopje Meru

Sunset stop inside Meru National Park

(Image: Elewana Elsas Kopje Meru)

You're likely to see large prides of lion, elephant, cheetah, leopard, black rhino, zebra, gazelle, oryx, some of the rarer antelope such as the Lesser Kudu and duiker, the more common Dik Dik, one of Africa's smallest antelope, and some of Kenya's largest herds of buffalo. The rivers teem with hippo and crocodile. Fishing for Barbus and catfish is permitted at campsites and along the Tana River. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded here.

Convenient and easy to get to

Meru National Park is fairly easy to reach by road, with several route options depending on the season. There are also airstrips available for fly-ins. We'll arrange the best route for you, depending on your time, budget and time of year you're planning your Meru National Park safari.

Mount Kenya

Kenya's highest mountain, known as the "Place of Light", is a 3 million year old extinct volcano.

Elsa's Kopje Meru
Elsa's Kopje - Meru National Park - Kenya

Named for Joy Adamson's famous lioness, Elsa's Kopje in Meru National Park reflects Joy's "Born Free" legacy and era. The park is wild, remote and wonderfully uncrowded. Situated in a very scenic part of Kenya, just 10 km north of the equator, between Mount Kenya and the Nyambeni Mountains, its landscape is incredibly diverse, ranging from open plains to dense thickets and wooded grasslands, which also attracts a surprising variety of game.

Nairobi
Africa Travel Nairobi Giraffe Looks at Capital City Skyline from Nairobi National Park

Nairobi is usually your gateway into Kenya. While most safari visitors spend one night in the city on their way to or from their wildlife experience, Nairobi has great lodges and unique boutique hotels. The city is bursting with life from informal Maasai Markets lining the streets selling handmade arts and crafts to local tailors who can finish a beautifully made, bargain-friendly safari suit in 24 hours. Nairobi National Park with its dense concentration of black rhino is no more than 7 km from Nairobi's city centre.

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