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Meru National Park
Meru National Park
Meru National Park

Meru National Park is a little visited park east of Mount Kenya.

It offers some excellent wildlife-viewing…

Expert Africa offers just a handful of small camps and lodges here.

Meru National Park

Meru National Park

Immortalised in the book and film Born Free, Meru National Park is where Elsa the lioness was released into the wild.

Meru National Park is increasingly re-appearing on safari itineraries. After it was founded in 1966, the park, run by one of Kenya’s most energetic wardens, Peter Jenkins, was a popular destination for safaris. But it fell into neglect in the 1980s, and for more than a decade, into the late 1990s, this entrancing wilderness was virtually off limits due to out-of-control poaching. Then, championed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, with the support of the EU, the park became a KWS cause célèbre and was comprehensively restored, with newly cut earth roads, a dedicated force of rangers led by a new warden (Peter Jenkins’ son Mark Jenkins), and a poacher-proof rhino sanctuary near the main gate 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 from the visitor's point of view is all to the good: this unspoiled 870km² stretch of well-watered, dense bush, acacia woodland and verdant, tall grasslands spiked with weird-looking doum palms is ripe for discovery. It has game viewing which now easily matches or exceeds the sort of safari experience you’ll have 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. And its handful of camps and lodges includes the exceptionally beautiful Elsa’s Kopje and two boutique, riverside safari camps (both with swimming pools) – Rhino River Camp and Offbeat Meru.

Meru National Park

Meru National Park: in detail

Safaris visiting Meru

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Black Kite Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Explore Kenya in-depth with visits to Nairobi and Meru National Parks, the Mara Conservancies and Amboseli. Nestled in remoter regions, four camps provide fantastic access to rich game, a range of activities and beautifully diverse landscapes.

Visiting Nairobi, Mara Conservancies and 2 other areas

US$8,380 - US$9,630 per person

Read more about the Black Kite Fly-in Safari

Map

Peregrine Falcon Fly-In Safari

6 days • 2 locations • 1 country
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Discover two of Kenya’s quieter wildlife havens with visits to Meru National Park and Mara North Conservancy. Top-quality sister-camps provide considerable comfort and a range of activities by which to explore the game-rich surroundings.

Visiting Mara Conservancies, Meru

US$5,710 - US$6,550 per person

Read more about the Peregrine Falcon Fly-In Safari

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Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Meru

This is their success for sightings in Meru National Park.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Buffalo

100% success

Gerenuk

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

White Rhino

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Elephant

86% success

Eland

86% success

Oryx

40% success

Black Rhino

33% success

Leopard

29% success

Cheetah

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Striped Hyena

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Map of Meru National Park

Choices for where to stay in Meru National Park


Reference map

Most recent reviews of our safaris to Meru

Click below to browse all 29 reviews from Meru National Park.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


99%
29 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
28
Good
1
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
SueD from UK

Arrived 28 Jan 2020, 8 nights

"Kenya in a nutshell"

"Excellent. Enjoyed being in two contrasting locations. …" Read SueD’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr V from Texas

Arrived 23 Jan 2020, 16 nights

"It Rains in Kenya"

"Excellent… [rains] in no way dampened (pun intended) our enjoyment of the trip. …" Read Mr V’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms. N from Montana

Arrived 30 Nov 2019, 9 nights

"Kenya in Nov. and Dec."

"I do so appreciate the detail that Olivia put into my trip. …" Read Ms. N’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Traveller from Canada

Arrived 17 Nov 2019, 19 nights

"Great service with Expert Africa"

"Richard was excellent in making ground arrangements. Everything ran smoothly. …" Read Traveller’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs H from Lisvane

Arrived 17 Oct 2019, 10 nights

"Our October 2019 trip"

"Our overall experience was good with certain aspects being very good. …" Read Mr & Mrs H’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Two Travellers from UK

Arrived 2 Feb 2019, 8 nights

"Meru and Amboseli trip"

"Excellent...We really enjoyed visiting these two contrasting parks. …" Read Two Travellers’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms M. from London

Arrived 28 Jan 2019, 13 nights

"My Jan 2019 trip"

"We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday and can’t wait to go again! …" Read Ms M.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs C from Berwick

Arrived 17 Jan 2018, 18 nights

"Terrific introduction to Kenya"

"A terrific trip and an introduction to Kenya that will probably be hard to beat. …" Read Mr & Mrs C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs M from E Sussex

Arrived 22 Sep 2016, 8 nights

"My September 2016 holiday"

"We had the most amazing time. …" Read Mr & Mrs M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms R from North Carolina

Arrived 25 Dec 2015, 15 nights

"My Dec 2015 trip"

"Very good trip...All the places we stayed were very good. …" Read Ms R’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Meru National Park reviews

When to go to Meru National Park

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Meru in Kenya


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Kenya in January

Clear, hot days and warm nights make this high season a popular time for safaris and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling as water clarity is excellent and gets better as the dry season progresses. Most lodges and tented camps treat January after the New Year week is over, as mid-season, making it a good compromise in terms of value for money with reasonably reliable, dry weather and some greenery left in the landscape. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in January, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, January is the second driest month of the year
  • Elephants dig waterholes in the dry riverbed in the Samburu reserve.
  • Wildebeest and many antelope have their calving season, to February.
  • Migrant birds are seen in huge numbers, especially in the Rift Valley.
  • Sea water clarity around the coral reefs generally good.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in January

Kenya in February

With the long dry season well established, the grass grazed down and wildlife gathering close to water points, this is still a good time for a safari. Good water clarity in the Indian Ocean's coastal waters makes for excellent diving and snorkelling conditions. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in February, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the weather and seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable.

  • On average, February is the driest month of the year.
  • It’s sometimes possible to swim with whale sharks at Diani Beach.
  • Migrant birds are still seen everywhere, especially near water.
  • This is usually peak calving season for wildebeest and many antelopes.
  • This month is often the hottest of the year, especially on the coast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in February

Kenya in March

Hot, increasingly humid weather – with good diving and snorkelling conditions at the start of the month – gives way to rains and lower accommodation costs. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in March, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and predicting the seasons since the beginning of this century has been difficult. March is the month when – traditionally – intensely hot conditions build up until a cloudburst finally happens at the end of the month or in early April, to relieve the humidity. As ever, regional variations across the country can greatly impact on visitors' experiences.

  • Sea-water clarity is best for diving before the long rains start.
  • Visitor numbers are low, though the Easter holidays can be busier.
  • Night skies can be scintillatingly clear in early March.
  • Cropped down savannah grasses can make it easier to see the wildlife.
  • Temperartures climb high, especially at lower elevations.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Kenya in April

April sees the full onset of the southeast monsoon wind or kusi, which heralds the long rains. Temperatures drop soon after the rains are established and you’ll often have facilities largely to yourself in this more affordable low season, sometimes known as the "green season". The bush quickly springs to life, with greenery sprouting almost before your eyes. While you're likely to get a fair number of heavy showers, the breaks in the rain can yield sparklingly clear conditions. With the dust settled and bright sun piercing the clouds, conditions can be sublime for photography, especially first thing in the morning or in the late afternoon with another storm brewing. You may be lucky, or you may find conditions very wet and muddy.

  • A wet month, the coast often gets more than 300mm (12in) of rain.
  • Sunny spells can provide great light for photography.
  • Buffalo and zebra calving season often happens in this month.
  • Baby crocodiles hatch, for example on Central Island in Lake Turkana.
  • Palearctic migrant birds gather to fly north to breeding grounds.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in April

Kenya in May

While game viewing can be trickier as vegetation runs riot, between the cloudbursts the colours and light are great for photography at this time of year. Expert Africa bases its description of climate and weather in May, like the other months of the year, on the climate records of roughly the last 100 years, and while it's reasonable to expect heavy rains in many parts during this month, especially on the coast, the rains don't always come evenly or in some areas come at all. In an El Niño year, the so-called long rains that normally are established across much of the country by May can be meagre, to the despair of farmers. On the other hand in a La Niña year, the long rains can bring floods. On the coast, the monsoon winds make the climate much more predictable, with heavy rains common from throughout this month.

  • Frogs breed in the ponds in the Arabuko Sokoke Forest near Watamu.
  • Wildebeest, impala and other grazers are in rut (the breeding season).
  • Kilimanjaro looks its best as heavy rain falls as snow on the summit.
  • There's a sharp peek of rainfall on the coast with many rainy days.
  • Accommodation prices are uniformly low, while some camps close.

Our view

A time to avoid if possible

Weather in May

Kenya in June

The rains give way to cloudy, cooler weather, often making for comfortable conditions by the end of the month, especially in the highlands. Starting from mid-June or the beginning of July and running until the end of October, this is the high season, and accordingly has higher accommodation rates and – at least until early September – higher numbers of visitors. While the early part of June can often be rainy on the coast, it can be a great time to go on safari, with fresh greenery, many young animals and good photographic conditions with clear air.

  • The Taru Desert, inland from the coast, is carpeted with flowers.
  • The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival is held in Loiyangalani.
  • Madaraka Day (commemorating self rule) is 1 June.
  • The annual Lewa marathon runs a course through the wildlife.
  • The Diani Rules "sports" event rips up the rulebook at Diani Beach.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

Kenya in July

Kenya’s “winter" season sets in (winter is a misnomer but locals feel the change), and the highlands can be rather grey. Skies are often cloudy and the days can be surprisingly cool, with an average daytime high in many highland safari areas of 15-20°C and night-time temperatures dropping below 10°C in Nairobi and the highlands. Lower parts of the country and the coast are usually warm and dry, typically reaching highs of around 25°C with lows in the high teens. As this is the start of the high season, coinciding with the usual arrival of the wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, July is a busy month. Ask your Expert Africa specialist to advise on how to avoid the crowds, which is not that difficult to do.

  • The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Maasai Mara in July.
  • Simbi Lake (Kisumu) and Crater Lake (Naivasha) can attract flamingoes.
  • Watersports start to pick up and some surfing is possible at Malindi.
  • Afternoon thunderstorms are a common feature in the Maasai Mara.
  • The sea can be choppy along the coast, making diving difficult.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in July

Kenya in August

The Great Migration fills the plains of the Maasai Mara, and school’s out, so the park roads are full of tourists – ask your Expert Africa specialist for advice on crowd avoidance tactics. Choose a private conservancy rather than a public national park or national reseve for quieter conditions. Like July, August is generally mild and relatively dry in the safari areas, but it can be very chilly in the highlands, even in the middle of the day, and hail occasionally falls above altitudes of around 2,400m (8,000ft). Nairobi can be disappointingly overcast, with low cloud.

  • Apart from Christmas holidays, this is the busiest month of the year.
  • Late August sees peak wildebeest drama at the Mara River crossings.
  • Coastal winds are good for kite- and wind-surfing.
  • Few mosquitoes are around at this generally dry time of year.
  • The annual Camel Derby takes place in the Samburu capital, Maralal.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in August

Kenya in September

The skies clearing of cloud signals the start of hot, dry weather with little chance of rain – and, after the first few days of the month, far fewer visitors – making the latter part of September a good time for a quieter safari. While early September is often good for dramatic migration crossings along the Mara River, you might consider deliberately postponing your trip until later in the month, when the migration can still be very impressive and visitor numbers fewer. If tourist surges are somewhat predictable, however, the patterns of the wildebeest migration are more volatile, and like all of Expert Africa's climate and weather assessments, they are based on accumulated years of experience rather than guaranteed certainty.

  • This is still high season, with prices to match.
  • Many river crossings take place on the Mara river in both directions.
  • Natural bush fires flush out insects and small animals for predators.
  • The Rift Valley Music Festival takes place by Lake Naivasha.
  • With school holidays over by early September, late-month is quieter.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in September

Kenya in October

Still hot, mostly dry and not too busy, this is many people’s preferred month for a safari, and it’s also good for diving and snorkelling. The wildebeest and zebra herds of the great migration are often still to be seen, though in dwindling numbers. The swamps of Amboseli attract thirsty wildlife including large herds of elephants. While we wouldn't expect much rain across most of the country this month, the climate has become so unpredictable that you can never say never, and the possibiity of the short rains – usually associated with November to mid-December, starting early, can't be discounted.

  • This month sees the tail end of the great migration in the Mara.
  • Palearctic migrant birds start to arrive, staying until March.
  • Turtle nests hatch at Watamu, until November.
  • Amboseli elephants focus on the swamps for their daily water.
  • The Indian Ocean monsoon winds turn from southeast to northeast.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Kenya in November

The northeast monsoon wind or kaskazi heralds the start of the “short rains", usually some time in the second half of the month. From November to mid-December, this is the low season, and accordingly has lower accommodation rates and lower visitor numbers. Across most of the country you can expect warm, somewhat cloudy weather, with occasional heavy showers and localised flooding. Expert Africa bases its description of the climate in November, like the other months of the year, on the records of roughly the last 100 years, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable: some years the short rains don't come at all, or don't reach every part of the country. In an El Niño year, the November short rains can be very heavy, but in a La Niña year, they can fail completely.

  • Swimming with dolphins in Lamu can be done from now until April.
  • Birders gather at Ngulia in Tsavo West to ring Palearctic migrants.
  • The Lamu Cultural Festival takes over the town and Lamu Creek.
  • Agricultural shows often take place regional market towns.
  • This is low season, so camps can be great value, with special offers.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Kenya in December

In a typical December, the rains usually finish by middle of the month, leaving the landscape looking its best, under clear blue skies, and heralding the start of the second peak tourist season from around 20 December to the first week of January. Our assessment of the likely weather in December, like the other months of the year, is based on climate records, and it's fair to say that the seasons since the beginning of this century have been highly irregular and unpredictable. Christmas can sometimes be wet, but most years the rains have finished a week or two earlier, with the festive season ushering in the perfect combination of clear skies and sunshine by day and starry nights.

  • Christmas and New Year are busy, with the lodges and camps full.
  • Rates are highest after 24 Dec, with supplements on public holidays.
  • Republic Day and Independence day are celebrated on 12 December.
  • Good kite- and wind-surfing restarts, with strong northeasterly winds.
  • Mango season begins, providing excitement for primates and elephants.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Kenya fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Meru National Park.


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