Located in the East of Meru city, 350km from Nairobi city, in the Eastern province of Kenya covering 870sqkm. It was established in 1966 to protect wildlife in the area after a long period of poaching. The park is a home for a number of wildlife species and efforts of putting patrols are done by the Kenyan government to protect animals from poachers. Lately it has reduced and now the park boosts in huge numbers of rhinos, buffalos, and elephants among others. The popularity of the park has been accredited to two conservationists; Joy Adamson and George Adamson for raising Elsa the Lioness and wrote a bestselling book ‘born free’, and an Award winning Movie Born free. Elsa was buried in the park.
How to access the park
The park can be accessed by road and air transport.
Road transport, there two routes, one is using the main road via Nyeri, Nanyuki, to Meru, and another is via Embu-Meru road. It’s the best route to Ura gate.
Air transport, you should use a chartered air craft that can land in the main airstrip in Kina, Mulika close to places of accommodation.
What to go with
The park experiences a dry and wet seasons. Tourists should carry clothes for both weather conditions and also make sure they have, foot wear (hiking boots and sandals), long sleeved shirts, trousers, light rain coat, sunglasses, a hat, bottled drinking water, snacks, a camera, binoculars, among other things.
Things to do
There many activities that you can engage in the park, and even at your place of accommodation. Below is a highlight of the most exciting activities that we think you shouldn’t miss out.
Watching the game
Be part of the arranged guided game drives and watch wildlife. These are normally done during day, and on rare cases, night drives are arranged. This is an interesting experience for you will have a moment of seeing wildlife in the park as they graze, some even come closer to the car. You will have an opportunity of taking photos of them, and enjoying how they spend their time. Better views are got along water bodies when many of them can be seen taking water.
This is another interesting activity. Mostly enjoyed by bird lovers. You don’t have to be a bird lover to enjoy this. Create some time during day and join the group to look out for birds in the place. Along with your binoculars, you will be amazed at what you will see. Birds of different colors, so unique and beautiful at sight. This activity is mostly enjoyed in the early wet season.
The park lies on a large piece of land that can’t be explored only on game drives. Take time and explore the park on foot. You will follow the trails in the park and enjoy the vegetation. Explore the woodlands, rivers and streams. Take a moment and visit Elsa’s graveyard. These are some of the highlights of the place.
Explore the park on a bike. Bikes can be hired from places of residence. You will have wonderful views of the park, the best being sight of the snowcapped Mountain Kenya. You will also see wildlife and birds, and best views of swamps, rivers, and green vegetation.
Have a Picnic
The park is a wonderful ground for a picnic. Plan having lunch in the wilderness while having sight of the animals and birds. As day breaks, you will enjoy sights of the sunset that are so rewarding.
Visit close villages
Enjoy visits to the villages nearby. Your adventure will fill complete with a tour to close by towns. Have a chat with locals and learn their culture and way of life. You can even stop by close shopping centers and buy a souvenir.
When to go
The park is enjoyed throughout the year, but the dry season has been recommended as the best time to visit the park compared to the wet season. Below is a highlight of the status of the park in all seasons for you to plan better.
Dry Season (June-September and January-February)
The period is characterized of sunny weather, it barely rains. A condition that favors both animals and tourists.
Wildlife in the park is easily spotted for the grass is short and the trees and not so thick. Besides, it’s in this season that animals gather around water bodies for water hence clear views are got.
The park never gets busy or crowded, so tourists can even enjoy exclusivity in the park.
It should be noted however that sometimes it gets so hot and dry in the park and dust in the sky can be seen.
Wet season (October-November and March-May)
The period is characterized of short and heavy rains and a few days of sunny weather. The period of short rains doesn’t affect game viewing.
This period registers the peak season of bird watching. Resident birds in th park are joined by migratory birds in the early season.
The park is barely visited during this time, and therefore prices are discounted compared to the dry season.
It’s in this season when most animal species give birth. You might get a chance seeing them giving birth or seeing the newly born animals.
The best views of the park are seen in the wet season, the grass all green, trees and plants are at their best, flowers are all over the place.
However sights of the game may be hard later in the season. The grass are long and trees very thick for visibility. Sometimes animals disperse for shelter during the rains. Roads also can be bad during this period and tourism activities can be interfered.
The park has breathtaking features that will leave you wanting. Below are the must-sees of the park.
The park has had struggles to fight poaching and has yielded positive results. The park has vast wildlife that will be at your disposal. The park isn’t frequently visited so you will enjoy exclusivity in this wilderness. Prepare to have sights of black and white rhinos, elephants, African antelopes, duku, dik dik, lions, cheetahs, Grevy’s Zebras, buffaloes, and giraffes, among others that roam the park especially I the wet season. These will be seen at close range along water bodies and while on game drive in the park. You can’t afford to miss out on this.
The park has over 300 species of birds that can be watched by a serious bird lover during the day. These are inclusive of the migratory birds that visit the park in the wet season. You will be able to see most of the rare bird species. With the help of binoculars, you see the likes of weavers, sunbirds, starlings, rollers, brown backed woodpeckers, Red necked falcon, Peter’s finfoot, Heuglins courser, and Pel’s fishing owl, bee eaters, kingfishers, ostriches, secretary birds, and hornbills, among others. Guides will lead you to the best places where you can see these birds.
The famous orphan lioness that was exposed to the world by the conservationists was buried in the park. Close to where the Adamson and wife used to stay. As a lover of wildlife, this is a must visit place and the work of the conservationists deserves to be appreciated.
River Tana and Adamson Falls
Plan to tour River Tana, which is 1000m long, the longest river in the country will many tributaries. On the same river you will also enjoy Adamson falls, named after the conservationists. Such beauty needs to be explored.
Have an adventure as you walk through the landscape of the park. Tour through the swamps, rivers, woodlands, savannah, and bushes and enjoy wildlife and birds along. A total wilderness awaits you.
Views of Mountain Kenya
Visiting this park will give you the best views of Mountain Kenya. It is snowcapped on top and sight of it from a distance is marvelous. You can take pictures of it especially after morning hours.
The park is endowed with lodges, hotels, guest houses, campsites, apartments, and bandas. All tourists of different status can be accommodated. Accommodation is offered in 3 categories, such as luxury, midrange and budget.
These offer the best services but it comes at a price. They have a number of facilities and provide visitors with more activities. These include; Elsa’s Kopje Luxury Camp, Leopard rock Lodge, Offbeat Meru Camp, Rhino River Camp among others.
These provide standard service and facilities and activities. They include: Murera Springs Eco Lodge, Jambo Golo Camp among others.
There may camps and bandas that can be used, like Ikweta Safari Camp, Kenya Wildlife Service, and Leopard Rock banda.
In conclusion, the park will be a great relaxing ground and a total satisfaction to a lover of wildlife, birds, and exploration. The catchy and unique features it possesses are worth a visit. So make arrangements to travel with family and friends and have a trip to remember.