User Reviews – Meru NP
Email NewbyGaronga | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
The Complete Wilderness", far away from the madding crowd.
This was my seventh visit to Meru since 2010. It is probably the most scenic park in Kenya; criss-crossed by 13 permanent rivers fed from the Nyambene Hills which form a beautiful backdrop to the west of the park giving occasional glimpses of Mount Kenya.
One of the highlights of my visits is to be out and about to watch the sunrise silhouetting the Duom palms that are everywhere. My last visit in June was just after the rains and the vegetation was lush and green providing ample food for the browsing and grazing wildlife. During times of plenty the wildlife will sometimes gather in huge numbers and I was lucky enough to see herds of 80+ elephants and san incredible herd of 400-500 buffalo. Predators were difficult to find due to the lush vegetation which gives them plenty of cover but with a good guide which I had and a little patience they can be found. There are also plenty of unusual species not seen in the Mara such as Reticulated Giraffe, Besia Oryx, Gerenuk and Grevy"s Zebra. Meru is also one of the best birding destinations in Kenya and when the mammals prove illusive, the birds are always there.
For me the highlight of Meru is its feeling of remoteness and isolation (although only 45 mins. flying time from Nairobi. I could go out for the whole day with my wonderful guide and we would be lucky to see another vehicle; we never had to share a sighting with anyone else. I felt at times I had the whole park to myself.
If there are any drawbacks it is that the wildlife can be illusive and at times it can get very hot being directly on the Equator and at a fairly low altitude compared to the majority of other parks but it is my favourite park in Kenya.
Email Cookswell Jikos | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Email mwangee | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
It doesn't get wilder than this.
Being mostly bushland, it isn't easy to spot the cats in Meru National Park. There are however lots of grazers like the rare gerenuk, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, antelopes, hundreds of bird species from grouses to fiscals to hornbills, baboons and elephants. Temperatures are usually high during the day and it isn't rare for the Mercury to hit 30 Celsius. Roads are gravelled and well marked so it's easy to navigate using GPS or traditional map. I stayed at Bwatherongi Campsite which had clean public showers and toilets as well as a pool.
Email sebastian brandner | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Solitude, Great scenery and wildlife
This was our first visit to East Africa and also the first time that we went on Safari. We combined this travel with a work-related trip to Uganda, and all booking of the Kenya Itinerary (Meru, Samburu, Mara Mara) was arranged through Imagine Africa UK, which made the organisation and the entire journey hassle free.
Our first stop was Meru, and we stayed in the Offbeat Meru Camp. It is a beautiful place, unfenced, located near a river and we saw lots of wildlife just at the front of our tent (Elephants, Baboons, warthogs, Impalas, birds, and more). The overall service was absolutely excellent, and it was to our advantage that we were the only guests. The food was on the basic side. No electricity (you can give your batteries/chargers to Craig, the camp manager, and there is no Wifi. There is no running water generaly (water is provided in a large pot) but thy provide a hot shower in the evening which is basic, but fully sufficient, and pleasant. We had a safari guide who was excellent (the best of all the three that we had throughout our journey) and we were lucky to be in a location in the conservancy where we met very few other travellers. In fact we had only two or three encounters with other safarigoers throughout our entire stay in Meru.
The camp is located in an area where five rivers pass through, making it a rich environment to see a wide spectrum of wildlife. With our excellent guide (Stanley from the Offbeat Meru) it was a truly extraordinary experience, he explained the traces, we understood how he tracked animals, how to distinguish them, their habits etc. He also had a very god understanding of a photographer’s need, he know when the sunrise would happen and positioned the Vehicle in a suitable spot, he understood the importance of the best illumination, the angle of light in relation to the animals, and much more. He soon figured out that I was a photo-enthusiast and pointed me to all sorts of wildlife, including rare birds, small mammals etc.
Rhinos were abundant in the Rhino conservatory, but they are nowhere else.
All three places (Meru, Samburu, Masai Mara) had their specific charm, and I would recommend Meru for its solitude, richness in wildlife, gorgeous scenery. The Offbeat Meru is on the basic side, but with excellent service, and unbeatable for its integration into nature and wildlife
Email Sue Green LRPS (suebg1) | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Has great scenery
20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
We stayed at Elsa's Kopje, which was an absolutely extraordinary lodge with outstanding guides and spectacular views. As our first stop on a safari honeymoon, it delivered in spades. The wildlife was great, though different than the Mara with not necessarily the same diversity. The birds were incredible!
Email Sakshi Verma (www.sakshi.photography) | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
An unforgettable bush experience- hidden and undervalued
Meru was the Africa debut for my husband and me. We initially looked into Meru because of my childhood dream of visiting Elsa's(Born Free) home. Every review that we read, only assured us of a brilliant experience. Truth be told, Meru never disappointed us.
From the time that we boarded our flight from Nairobi (the whole flight to us!!), to receiving warm welcomes at the Offbeat Meru camps after every single game drive.. it was an experience that we won't forget for a long time.
Wildlife: We went looking with low expectations. Because of the thick bush, it is definitely not as easy spotting wildlife here as in the Mara. However, we had seen the big five within 20 hours of landing.
Birdlife: I am not a "birder", but my head started spinning as I tried to keep up with all the zillion beautiful varieties that our guide spotted for us. Another thing that we noticed(and liked) was that the wildlife was still "wild" in Meru. Unlike the Mara, most animals try not to come too close to vehicles. Apparently, because of fewer stay options in the park, the animals don't see as many humans around.
Stay: Offbeat Meru was a very warm and welcoming setup. Food was great, and the tents were located to ensure tons of privacy to everyone. I personally enjoyed the bonfire in the evenings, followed by dinner under the most beautiful starry skies.
Guides: The guides at Offbeat Meru were all Silver ranked, and I believe that one of them was going to sit for his Gold exam very soon. If you've been on a safari before, you would know how important it is to have a good guide. Dominic, our guide, was brilliant! He even spotted a python that had just swallowed an impala.. Beat that!!
We also visited the Mara, and that was extraordinary. But somewhere, that cosy and very private feel that Meru offered.. it made a special little place in my heart!
To give you a peek into some of pictures from my Meru experience, you could see this video : http://youtu.be/8vgF9iT0oRY
Everything you could wish for, in a wonderful location
We stayed at Elsa's Kopje for four nights in February 2009. This fabulous lodge is situated high on a giant rocky outcrop that rises above the open savannah. The 9 stone and thatch guest cottages are crafted around the natural features of the hill. Paved paths, lit by lamps at night, lead from each cottage to the comfortable open bar, lounge and dining room. This is by far the best place to enjoy breathtaking views across the savannah. Every need was met by the wonderful friendly staff. This is luxury in the heart of Meru national park. Our game drives didn't leave us at all disappointed. We saw the 'big five' as there is a rhino sanctuary there Activities available include game drives in a 4x4 Land Cruisers. Evening game drives and guided bush walks. Regular sightings include Oryx, Gerenuk, Elephant, Grevy's Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Lesser Kudu, Grant's Gazelle, Leopard, Lion, Cheetah, Rhino and the rare, elusive Greater Kudu. Meru is also famous for its bird life.
The weather averaged about 30 degrees c, which was pleasant. We enjoyed sundowners and beautiful sunsets.
The food was excellent and we could not fault our trip in any way.
Would not hesitate to return.
35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Wildlife encounters in a less visited park
We had a nice experience in Meru National Park with several unique wildlife encounters with wildlife. The landscape is varied, mostly bushland with several waterholes but also several open fields. Meru offer you a chance to see the Reticulated Giraffe, a subspecies not found in the Lake Nakuru or Masai Mara. We also had a chance to see the close-to-extinct black Rhino. Of course we got to see an abundance of other wildlife as well. On our safari we visited both Meru, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara national park and the three all had their own profile and features and is a great combination. Of these three, Meru was the one with the least visitors.
A virgin Park with fewer visitors and scenenic drives.
I first visited Meru National park in December 2007, The first thing that you notice as soon as you enter the National Park is that the landscape, vegetation and soil are very much different from all the other Parks in Kenya.
There are very few open rolling savannah plains you see in Masai Mara. The place is dotted with small hills and kopjes all over and finally you dont get any of the dreaded black cotton soil you find in other parks. The soil here is red in colour and so are the elephants who regularly spray themselves with the soil.
Meru National Park is a very virgin park, in that not many visitors visit the place for many reasons. The main reason I guess is the distance you have to travel, number of animals you get to see and the dreaded Tsetse Fly. But once you are in the Park you get to see all the Big Five of Kenya and much more.
The wildlife of Meru is very shy, in that they are not used to vehicles driving along the roads amongst them. As soon as they hear or see an approaching vehicle their basic instinct is to run into the bushed. This not only happens with the smaller animals but also the bigger Elephant's and Buffalo's. But on the other hand the little you get to see is totally different from the other wildlife watching experience in the other National Parks of Kenya.
You get to see Elephant Bull's whose tusks are so long that you dont get to see the bottom tips because the Bull himself cannot lift his head high up because of the weight. An old hunter tale comes to mind where a Hunter went hunting and tracked a certain Elephant for 7 days waiting to see the bottom tips of his Tusks before he could decide whether to go ahead or not.
Whilst out on a Game Drive you have to frive very slowly and keep looking out for wildlife as they are camouflaged very well and blend into there surroundings amazingly well. You get to see all the common Antelopes, herbivores including the Oryx and Grevy's Zebra which is listed as critically endangered by IUCN. Lion, Cheetah and Leopard are also commonly sighted in the Park.
Generally the experience is very different from any other National Park you visit in Kenya but the memories remain for a longer time.