“The Complete wilderness”
Which is the best place in Kenya to see Black and white Rhino? Meru National Park. I can walk you through this underrated and trivialized park blindfolded.
I have been here for more than 4 months in a row. Most of the time I was in the field doing game drives and nature trails.
Your scent can linger for long. There`s one Matriarch I liked which I nicknamed “Kasisi” (Priest) since she used to lead her family just the way priests lead mass.
I shall be giving you her story shortly but first things first. Why is Meru National Park untapped and unexplored unlike the other parks yet you will still get the Big 5 Animals? We shall also be seeing why.
However, something that is diminishing by the day placed Meru National Park on the Map, your guess is right. Elsa the Lioness adopted by Joy and George Adamson.
Here is the Snippet of the Story to start us off.
Elsa the Lioness at Meru National Park.
February 01, 1956, when George Adamson was on patrol with other wardens. He almost lost his life when they came across a recently birthed Lioness.
Whose maternal instincts were still on high alert. Sensing Danger the lioness charged. You know mothers can take a bullet for you and this is sadly what happened.
Probably one of the most difficult decisions he has ever made. George had no choice other than to take a fatal shot. The cool, still and invigorating day, graced by sweet melodious songbirds came to astounding cessation.
Guilt for taking the shot at the same time lauding his swift wit for surviving this vicious attack by a whisker.
He walked towards the lioness but before he could get where it was lying. He noticed some slight movement in the nearby bush. After a close inspection in those tiny bushes, he realized three little cubs huddled together.
Guilt kicked in, even more, when he noticed he just orphaned these cute little cubs. He couldn`t leave them in the wild alone. They will obviously die out of hunger or be eaten by fierce & hungry Hyenas.
He took the cubs home so that he could take care of them. After 6 months they couldn`t be domesticated anymore and reality was painfully downing on Joy and George.
Two of the cubs were taken to a zoo in the Netherlands though Joy was not buying the idea she believed animals should be free and not caged.
Elsa Wild instincts Activated.
They were left with Elsa who was the smallest, and after a while, there were suggestions that Elsa should join her sisters in the Netherlands Zoo, but Joy was adamant this time. She pleaded to be given time to teach Elsa how to live in the wild free rather than in a cage.
After several attempts to couch her, Elsa failed terribly and it seemed hard for her to adapt in the wild alone.
The pressure was mounting on Joy and George to release her but Joy would hear none of it.
She requested for three more months and if Elsa didn`t adapt to the wild then she would have no choice other than to surrender her to Netherland.
However, she knew 3 Months was more than enough and she would do everything within her power to coach Elsa with the help of her husband.
True to her words this time Elsa`s natural wild instincts kicked in and the couple Joy and George couldn`t be any happier for setting Elsa free.
After this successful turnover, Joy and George flew out of Kenya and stayed for a while without returning.
When they finally came back, they headed straight to Meru National Park. At Adamson falls they tried tracing Elsa but they couldn`t.
After almost giving up, Elsa showed up with her Family (3 cute cubs). It was such an emotional reunion. Elsa introduced her family and bid them goodbye. I now belong to the wild, thank you for taking care of me.
What are the Attractions in Meru National Park?
Numerous Attractions in Meru National Park should pull you to drive or fly in this underrated and trivialized Park. Here are the Attractions.
The former home of Joy and George Adamson and Elsa the lioness.
The place these three called home is still in existence. Joy met her 3rd Husband George Adamson who was a senior warden in Kenya in 1940 while she was on a Kenyan Safari and Married in 1944 whereby, they made Meru National Park their home.
Elsa the Lioness Grave.
She was buried near the banks of the river where she used to quench herself. Some of the Ashes of Joy are also buried in the same place.
Probably you are wondering how she died, well she passed when she was only 5years. A premature death since the lifespan of a lion is 10-15 years. Babesiosis is the disease that killed her, a type of tick disease that attacks Cats.
But before she passed on, she did something that dumbfounded everyone to date. I think she had a premonition.
When she realized she was about to die. She went back to her roots, her home where she was raised by Joy and George.
She found George who was astonished by the eminent visit. They interacted, she had her final moment with him and before George realized what was going on, she had already died on his lap.
In the movie Born free, you will notice a particular stone where Elsa was ever-present. We can say this was her territory.
She loved the rock and every time Joy and George would want a quick chat this is the place, they never missed her.
The rock is still there so, next time you`re in Meru national park make sure to visit her base area. The Kopje Rock.
These are the falls where Elsa and her sisters, Big one and Lustica used to frequent when they were growing up.
It is remarkable since besides the memory of Elsa, Joy and George the falls are naturally beautiful and I would visit even when there was no such existence of Elsa.
Meru National Park Rhino Sanctuary.
Probably you were wondering if Meru National Park is all about Elsa, Joy and George Adamson. Well, maybe but this is the part that touched my nerves.
How comes In the end both George and Joy were never murdered by wild animals but, the most ferocious and ruthless predator ever to exist, us humans?
Trying to move on swiftly.
Rhino Sanctuary is a well-protected area again from us ferocious humans though not all are rapacious. The Sanctuary has black and white rhinos, if doing a game drive, you will come close and personal with the rhinos. The Sanctuary is such a pull to Meru National Park.
The Rhinos are doing well only that they seem to be affected by the Tsetse Flies when I last visited but I believe measures were put in place.
Meru National Park Animals.
Just like any other park not only in Kenya but in Africa. The main attraction is the wild Animals.
Meru National Park is home to the Big Five Animals, i.e. The Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard and Elephant.
The Park is known as the complete wilderness. It is literally flat with few hills. The other remarkable animals not to miss in The Park are the Giraffes, the most dangerous land mammal in Africa the Hippopotamus, Hyenas, the special animals of Samburu, the Gerenuk Gazelle, GREVY Zebra and Beisa Oryx. The fastest land Mammal, Cheetah.
Meru National Park has the largest population of Buffalos than anywhere else in Kenya.
Meru National Park Safari. Why is it Unpopular?
I promised to reveal why Meru National Park is not as popular for safaris. Here`s what they never tell you?
This trivialized park is located in an off location from the normal itineraries most tourists and tour operators not used to.
Unless you`re doing a dedicated Meru National Park, it becomes challenging connecting with other parks unless you`re doing an Air safari of which only a few can afford.
On the other hand, many tourists avoid visiting only one place and if you must visit Meru National Park together with other parks. This will mean Long Transit which many tourists Avoid.
Tip: Meru National Park is a Gem, less explored, less crowded. Visit this park in Dry season that is, between June – October. Do a 3 Day Safari and you will be startled why it took you so long to feast this gem.
Meru National Park Lodges.
Elsa Kopje Meru.
Talk of modern Architectural design, an array of homey hues, for the cottages give a sense of home away from home, a place of nurturing safety.
Elsa Kopje has spacious rooms bathed in hues of nature and a breath-taking view experienced from the private Verandas.
Elsa’s Kopje is sculpted into Mughwango Hill, above the site of George Adamson’s original camp where he raised and released orphan Elsa.
Rhino River Camp.
Tucked at Kindani River where the story of Elsa the lioness started. Rhino River Camp is built out of the coveted caramel canvas.
It has 7 Tents, so booking in advance is highly recommended lest you miss the chance. Your night at Rhino rock will be graced by the melodious kindani river water coursing through the rocks harmoniously and coherently until you close your eyes for the night.
For those who like it quiet and serene, a further 2 tents are facing the indigenous forest away from the River.
Leopard rock lodge.
It is a Five Star Lodge, boasting 15 beautifully designed tents and can host up to 50 Pax.
It is overlooking the Murera river and Bisanadi National Reserve. Each cottage has a large private stunning Terrance.
The Lodge is not fenced, meaning no surprise to brush shoulders with the likes of Giraffes and lions roars being your lullaby song.
Meru National Park, popularly known as the complete wilderness is a Campers dream. Boasting of 10+ Campsites within the park.
The camps have structures like bathrooms modern and long drop toilets, a bonfire place and a cooking space.
Bandas at Meru National Park.
The KWs manage them and they are as follows-:
- Kinna Cottages 1 Bedroom Citizen Kes3,500 Non-Resident $80
- Kinna Guest House 4 Bedroom Citizen Kes18,000 Non-Resident $250
- Murera Cottages 1 Bedroom Citizen Kes3,500 Non-Resident $80
- Meru Guest House 3 Bedroom Citizen Kes8,000 Non-Resident $150
Meru National Park Location.
You can access the park either by Road or Air.
To use the road: You have two choices depending on your choices and interest.
- Access from Nairobi (350 km) via Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru or via Embu all-weather roads. Access into the park from Maua to Murera Gate (35 km) and 350 km from Nairobi.
- The other access is via Embu to Ura Gate (120 km), 290 km from Nairobi.
By Air: There`s the Kinna Airstrip and Mughwango Airstrip which is a (private airstrip).
How far is Meru National Park from Meru Town? (65Kms) About 1 Hour and 30 Minutes drive.
Park fees at Meru National Park.
Also, Read -:
To book a custom Meru NP Package, Reach out to Incredible Kenya Adventures.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Thanks for the read, feel free to share.