Wild and beautiful, Meru National Park is one of Kenya’s most celebrated parks, made legendary for its former resident celebrities, conservationists George and Joy Adamson and their famous Elsa the Lioness. Immortalized through the bestselling book and subsequent award-winning movie, Born Free, Meru National Park will always serve as ground zero for the modern conservation movement, welcoming visitors from all over the world as they pay homage to Elsa and Joy’s shared resting place in the park.
Historically, Meru National Park has always been one of the most popular safari destinations in Kenya. Yet during the 1980s and 1990s, this beautiful wilderness remained off limits to visitors due to excessive poaching, which had wiped out over 80-percent of the wildlife population. Come the turn of the millennium, the Kenya Wildlife Service, championed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, worked to comprehensively restore Meru National Park from ruin, improving infrastructure, recruiting rangers and law enforcement, and even establishing a poacher-proof rhino sanctuary near the park’s main gate, now home to more than 60 white and black rhino.
Despite this revival, Meru National Park is still one of the least visited parks in Kenya, allowing for untamed and virtually tourist-less safari experiences. Within the park, visitors will find nearly 540 square-miles of horizon straddling the equator and bisected by 13 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams. This landscape, coupled with abundant rainfall, has sustained an enormous diversity of habitat and wildlife. Between the hippo making their home in the spring-fed rivers and the increasingly-frequent Big Five and Big Cat encounters on the savannahs, the game viewing in Meru National Park easily matches or exceeds the safari experiences of the more popular destinations. Here, the Masai lion, Tanzanian cheetah, and African elephant roam the plains; the rare caracal, Lesser Kudu, and aardwolf hide within the woodlands, and more than 420 species of exceptional birds take to the land and sky.
Little visited and utterly unspoiled, Meru National Park remains one of Kenya’s best-kept secrets. Add to this the beautiful accommodations of Elsa’s Kopje, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable Kenya luxury safari with Ker & Downey.