Meru National Park, where George and Joy Adamson released their most famous lioness, Elsa, back into the wild (a story immortalized in the book and film Born Free), has been making a comeback on the African safari destination radar after falling into neglect and poaching through the 80’s and 90’s. Championed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the park be has been comprehensively restored, with newly cut earth roads, a dedicated force of rangers led by a new warden (Peter Jenkins, who is the son of park founder Mark Jenkins), and a veritable poacher-proof rhino sanctuary which is home to both white and black rhinos.
Despite its relaunch, Meru is still one of the least visited of Kenya’s big parks, which makes a safari through the park incredibly exclusive and unique. This unspoiled 335 square mile stretch of well-watered, dense bush, acacia woodland and verdant, tall grasslands spiked with exotic doum palms is ripe for discovery. The safari game viewing at Meru now easily matches or exceeds a safari experience in popular parks such as Tsavo West or Tsavo East, with increasingly frequent sightings of all the ‘Big Five’, plus cheetah and numerous other savannah species. There is effectively only one safari lodge in the park so visitors have the unique experience of rarely spotting another vehicle while out on game drives in this lovely park.
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