| Wildlife in Meru
Like in Samburu,
Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves in the same region, you may see
reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx and Grevy's zebra, which are absent in the parks
further south in Kenya. Leopards and cheetahs are seen regularly, and there are
also lions, elephants, African buffalos, some black rhinos, hippos, antelopes
and other mammals.
2030 years ago, Meru was haunted by poachers and
bandits. Since those days, conservation, wildlife translocation and security efforts
have turned Meru into a park that offers a good safari experience. White rhinos
were reintroduced in the early 2000's. Other species, including elephants, have
also been translocated from other areas in Kenya. The formerly very poor roads
in the park have been much improved. Meru cannot compete with for example Masai
Mara as to wildlife densities, but has a great deal fewer visitors, a good
size, and the Big
Meru is known for Joy Adamson, who raised
the lioness Elsa there and later reintroduced it in the wilderness. The story
is told in her book Born free.
Rahole and Mwingi
Meru borders four parks that are fairly undeveloped
for tourism: Kora National Park (1,787 km2/690 sq mi), Bisanadi National
Reserve (600 km2/230 sq mi), Rahole National Reserve (1,270 km2/490
sq mi) and Mwingi National Reserve (former North Kitui) (745 km2/288 sq
mi). You need a permit to visit these parks.
The wildlife is mainly the
same as in Meru, although the numbers of animals are lower. In Kora, which is
mainly covered by dense woodland and scrub, some 50 mammal species, 200 bird species
and 40 reptile species have been recorded. The mammals include classic safari
species such as lions, elephants and giraffes. The rare African wild dog is also
Four-wheel drive is required to visit these
parks. Kora National Park has some passable roads, while there are only few and
very poor roads in the national reserves. Bisanadi can be accessed from northern
and southern Meru.
You may fish in the Tana River, where some 20 species
of fish have been recorded. Other activities in the area are bush walks and camel
tours. Camping is the only accommodation available apart from the lodges and camps
listed for Meru below.
Lodges and camps
Leopard Rock Lodge is an upmarket lodge on the border between Meru National
Park and Bisanadi National Reserve in the northern part of Meru. The lodge has
15 cottages (5 of these are family cottages) with ensuite bathrooms, private verandas,
Lamu style furniture and Persian carpets. There are dining and lounge areas, bars,
a swimming pool (with a glass partition for watching crocodiles from the pool),
jacuzzi, and conference facilities. The activities include game drives, bush walks,
fishing, camel walks and bird watching. The lodge recommends formal dress for
Web site: www.leopardmico.com
Elsa's Kopje is an elegant lodge in the middle of Meru National Park, built
in an elevated position on Mughwango Hill and offering good views of the park.
The overall style is that of a traditional bush lodge, with materials such as
stone, wood and thatch, but all with a contemporary touch. The lodge has 9 individually
designed cottages, all with en suite bathrooms. There is a dining room, an open
bar, a lounge and a pool with views of the plains. Elsa's Private House is set
apart from the rest of the lodge for privacy. It has three bedrooms with ensuite
bathrooms, living area and private swimming pool. The main safari activities are
game drives and bush walks. The lodge employs certified KPSGA guides.
Web site: www.chelipeacock.com
Offbeat Meru Camp is a small tented camp in Bisanadi, on the border to
Meru National Park. The camp has six tents with ensuite bathrooms (safari style
bucket showers), solar lighting and the bush right outside the canvas. There is
also a mess and lounge tent, a camp fire, and an infinity swimming pool with views
of the Bisanadi River. The camp offers game drives, bush walks and fly fishing
in the rivers. Contrary to Leopard Rock Lodge, which is set in the same part of
the area, Offbeat offers an informal atmosphere and a bush style safari experience.
Web site: www.offbeatsafaris.com