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Meru National Park

Ewaso Nyiro River, Kenya - Eco-resorts.

Best time to visit: June, July, August, December

Safaris: Art Safari, Kenya Luxury Safari, Introduction to Kenya, Explore Kenya Safari

Activities: Bird Watching, Game Walks, Horse Riding, Camel Trekking, Canoeing

Accommodation: Ol Malo, Mobile Camping, Lewa Downs, Adventure Camping, Loisaba

Day: 24-31° C, 75-88° F
Night: 15-18° C, 59-68° F

Meru National Park is approximately 870 square km, straddling the equator. With an average altitude of 2,000 feet, the climate is generally hot and dry, with the nights pleasantly cool and comfortable.

The Meru National Park first became famous as the home of Elsa, the lioness of "Born Free" fame. Located to the northeast of Mount Kenya, Meru is an arid area mostly covered with thorny bushes and wooded grasslands.

Rocky outcrops spring out of the ground, forming well-used lookout points for the abundant lion in the area. Along the riverbanks, dense riverine forest has sprouted, as have the ubiquitous doum palms.

Heavily poached in the 1970s, Meru has made an amazing recovery in the last few years. Game has returned to the Park in large numbers, with lion, leopard, cheetah, large herds of elephant, giraffe, oryx, hartebeest and gazelle easily spotted. The Lesser kudu, a rarity in Kenya, is also found in some numbers in this area.

The animals are unused to vehicles, as the area has not been used on the tourist circuit for many years. This makes them somewhat shy, but half the fun of a safari is in the searching! The benefit is that when you do find the animals, you are not sharing your view with many other travelers.

Nearly fifty elephant and many black rhino have been transported and released into the Park, where they are settling into their new homes away from the more populated Laikipia area. This was an historic event as the largest successful translocation of its kind.

The bird life in Meru is also spectacular, with Somali ostrich, ground hornbills, secretary birds, Bateleur eagles, oxpeckers, egrets, starlings, bee-eaters and starlings in profusion.

The spectacular northern Kenyan plains in Laikipia.

There are several places to stay in Meru, ranging from the totally luxurious to self-catering bandas (huts) and campsites. The amount of accommodation remains small though, limiting the number of visitors and allowing you to explore a truly 'wild' wilderness.

Why not try something a little different and put Meru on your list of places to visit? But do it soon before the rest of the world discovers it too!

Copyright Melinda Rees of Eco-resorts

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