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Opened in 1968, Meru National Park is relatively small at 870 kilometres square. Meru’s biggest claim to fame is its involvement with the popular movie, “Born Free” (Elsa the lioness, and her carers Joy and George Adamson).
Formerly one of the country’s most popular national parks, Meru suffered a blight of poachers and bandits during the 1980s and the wildlife was all but decimated - bad press, ill safety and lack of wildlife meant that the national park left the public eye and was left to lick its wounds.
Fortunately in the late 1990s, administration was handed over to Mark Jenkins and Meru National Park has turned around entirely and is making a fantastic recovery. First improving security and the park’s infrastructure, Jenkins then helped establish a translocation programme that successfully renewed the breeding population and the Meru is now returning to its previous glory.
The park itself is stunning, predominantly covered in savannah and woodland. 13 rivers cross its borders, making for beautiful forested areas that support a teeming population of birds, whilst eland, gerenuk, Beisa oryx, Grant’s gazelle, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, cheetah, lion, leopard and elephant are all regularly spotted. There are very good views of Mount Kenya from Meru National Park. The roads within the Meru are very good and make for comfortable game drives, although accessing the park by vehicle is most definitely not one of the most comfortable experiences on the planet! Mulika Lodge Airport provides air links.