Meru National Park

Original home of Elsa, the orphaned lioness made famous by George and Joy Adamson and 'Born Free'


Meru National Park in Kenya became famous as the original home of Elsa, the orphaned lioness reared by George and Joy Adamson. Later she was re-introduced in the Kenyan wilderness – immortalised in the film Born Free.

However Meru National Park has much more to offer than its famous offspring. Its sheer untouched wilderness is the attraction. It is often overlooked by visitors swarming to the popular Masai Mara, but Elsa’s descendants hunt the plentiful plains game, whilst bush babies and hyrax live on Mughwango Hill.

Meru National Park has fantastic scenery with great views of Mount Kenya. The park is mainly arid with Doum palms and Baobab trees. But its 13 rivers allow for thriving riverine habitats as well.

The sheer size of the Rhino Sanctuary means that there is still an element of tracking the rhino. It protects approx 45 white rhino and 20 black rhino from the ever-present risk of poaching.

The high rainfall means that the grasses are tall making game-viewing much easier in the dry season when the grass is shorter. This is the time that the migrating elephants return to the park.
We recommend the multi-award winning Elsa’s Kopje lodge which overlooks the savanna plains, or Offbeat Meru Camp for a more modest Meru lodge.

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Mari Jacobs

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.


Why you may love it

  • Unspoilt wilderness away from the madding Mara crowds
  • Enjoy a game drive of several hours without seeing another vehicle
  • Game-viewing is still plentiful
  • Known for its migrating elephant herds
  • Diversity of habitats offers regular sightings of hippo, giraffe, lion, elephant and rhino within a rhino sanctuary
  • Impressive birdlife with 280 recorded species in Meru

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Did you know
  • SizeCovers an area of 870 km²
  • Location350km's from Nairobi