Meru National Park

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

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Born Free & Meru National Park

Meru National Park in Kenya became famous as the original home of Elsa, the orphaned lioness reared by George and Joy Adamson. And then 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. It is its sheer unspoilt wilderness that is the attraction. It is often overlooked by visitors migrating to the popular Masai Mara. In Meru you might enjoy a game drive of several hours without seeing another vehicle. But wildlife you will see. Elsa’s descendants hunt the shy but plentiful plains game whilst bush babies and hyrax live on Mughwango Hill.

Elsa's Kopje, safaris in Meru National Park, Kenya

Meru National Park is renowned for its elephant herds. And 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. This diversity of habitats – savanna, forest and wetlands – offers regular sightings of plains game, hippo, giraffe, lion, elephant and rhino within a rhino sanctuary. The birdlife is also impressive. With 280 recorded species in Meru. The sheer size of the Rhino Sanctuary, which protects approx 45 white rhino and 20 black rhino from the ever-present risk of poaching elsewhere in Kenya, means that there is still an element of tracking the rhino within the sanctuary.

The high rainfall means that the grasses are tall making game-viewing much easier in the dry season when the grass is shorter and the migrating elephants have returned.

The Meru lodges and camps we recommend are the multi-award winning Elsa’s Kopje lodge which overlooks the savanna plains, or Offbeat Meru Camp for a more modest option.