Very much like the Samburu, Meru became famous through Joy Adamson’s novel ‘Born Free’ which was published in 1960 and later became a well known movie.

The touching story of Elsa the orphaned lion cub who was raised by George and Joy Adamson in an attempt to rehabilitate her is well known. The success of the rehabilitation is brought to life in this park and it is easy to get caught up in the tale when you take the time to visit their former home and Elsa’s grave which can be found here.

The story of Elsa isn’t the only lure to this equator straddling park. The traffic here is minimal compared to the bustle of the Mara but the key to Meru is that you get all the same magnificent game (minus the migration) with less people to share it with.

Fringed by a chain of hills on its western edge, Meru has an abundance of water with plentiful rainfall and some 13 rivers coursing their way across the landscape. Swamps, forests, savannah and bush form a varied patchwork in which you can find equally diverse range of wildlife. There are white and black rhino, some free roaming within a special sanctuary, as well as elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, innumerable plains game and over 300 bird species. There are also mammals typical of northern Kenya such as Grevy’s zebra, the long-necked gerenuk, reticulated giraffe and beisa oryx.


When to go

December to March and July to October are dry and make for the best game viewing. April to June are beautifully green but can be very wet.


What to do

  • Excellent game drives
  • Birdwatching
  • Visit Elsa's grave

Camps and lodges in Meru National Park

Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options