​Wildlife & Animals – Meru NP

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Meru offers good overall wildlife viewing and is home to the Big Five. Elephants are particularly common and relaxed. Big cat sightings are hit-and-miss. There is a chance of spotting a white or black rhino in the drive-in rhino sanctuary, although the vegetation is extremely thick. Hippos and Nile crocodiles are common along the Tana River.


Wildlife Highlights

Most people will appreciate Meru National Park for its northern specials, which are animals that are specially adapted to arid conditions. The reticulated giraffe is distinguishable by its dramatic pattern. Grevy's zebra occur alongside the smaller and more common Burchell's zebra. This is one of few places to encounter the shy lesser kudu and the impressive looking beisa oryx. Most odd of them all is the gerenuk with its elongated neck.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

Meru can be visited throughout the year, but the best time is in the Dry season from June to September, when animals congregate around predictable water sources. Wildlife viewing is usually more difficult during the long rains (March to May) and short rains (October to November). At this time the grass tends to be very high, making spotting animals more difficult. Elephants migrate out of the park in the rainy season.

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