Meru Wilderness - Kenya
Join on this wonderful safari into one of Kenya's hidden gems! Meru National Park remained closed for many years and in turn is rich in wildlife without the crowds often experienced in some of the countires more well known parks or reserves. Meru is main attraction is the sheer abundance of exciting wildlife, beautiful waterfalls and a varied landscape that includes riverside forests, open and wooded grasslands and thorn bush savannah all of which combine to give you an amzing experience.
Meru National Park is the least visited of Kenya’s larger parks and reserves; this remote region is a lush green Eden. Its isolated unspoilt wilderness lets the visitor have the freedom to explore the park at a relaxed pace without encountering other people. A section of the park has been designated a wilderness area with no roads, which adds to the air of wild, secluded isolation that is characteristic of this wonderful park.
Of all the Kenyan parks, Meru provides the widest variety of beautiful scenery and diverse habitats, featuring 15 perennial rivers all flowing from the impressive and close by Mount Kenya and destined for the Tana river. The rivers pierce through forest, swamp and savannah. All the Big Five are here and the park is one of the best for spotting cheetah and leopard. It is also a paradise for bird watchers and home to several rare species.
Meru National Park was made world famous by George and Joy Adamson, naturalists who pioneered research in the park by associating with cheetahs and lions, particularly Elsa the lioness that was returned to the wild in the 1950’s. Joy wrote a book that was made into the film ‘Born Free’, which, in turn, brought the park to public attention. Located in the Eastern region of Kenya, the Meru National Park lies 350 kilometres from Nairobi and takes around 7 or 8 hours to reach by road.
West of Meru lies Aberdare National Park, a paradise of waterfalls and sensational views found nowhere else. The striking mountain scenery stretch over moorland creating deep V-shaped valleys with streams and rivers cascading over spectacular waterfalls. An abundance of wildlife including buffalos, elephants, lions, leopard, warthogs as well as black rhinos and the rare bongo antelope inhabit the park.
Parks and Animals
Meru National Park
Straddling the equator and bisected by 15 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams, Meru National Park is wild and one of the most beautiful parks in Kenya. A green paradise compared to the dry savannah of Kenya's parks, this was the wilderness into which George & Joy Adamson released Elsa the lioness, creating the much-loved film 'Born Free'. It has diverse scenery from woodlands to wide-open plains, meandering riverbanks, hilly landscapes and rich grey aluvial volcanic soil deposits. Three large rivers border the reserve: the Tana to the south, the Ura to the south-west and the Rojeweru to the east.
All of the natural beauty in the park provides good cover for the wildlife which can sometimes make game tracking challenging, but nevertheless it is very rewarding. Lion are often seen on high rocky outposts, and large herds of buffalo, elephants and reticulated giraffe are also present alongside hippos and cheetahs. In the more open areas of the park you will find generuks, zebras and ostriches. While Antelopes are pretty rare, white rhinos have been introduced to the park and now number around 40. Leopards have also been released in the Lakipia area.
Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including the Peter’s Finfoot, the Pel’s Fishing Owl, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and numerous weavers. There is also a wealth of ostriches, hornbills, secretary birds, eagles and other smaller birds. Animals easily observed in the park include the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and Sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, the golden cat and the bongo - an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest.
Aberdares National Park
Located is in the Central Highlands of Kenya. The topography of the Aberdares is diverse with rugged terrain, deep ravines and many clear streams and waterfalls that combine to create an area of great scenic beauty. The mountain air is pure and crisp as water cascades over spectacular waterfalls and into rivers packed with trout.
The Park was a hiding place for the Kenyan Freedom fighters (Mau Mau) and the park still retains its air of mystery, with its thick wooded hills and mountain ranges that one could easily get lost in.
Animals easily observed in the park include the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and Sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include lions, the golden cat and the bongo - an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest.
Activities and Highlights
- Game drives during the day to spot the Big Five.
- Breakfast in the bush to provide a real wilderness experience.
- Sundowners to relax.
- With all the rivers and streams the park offers great opportunities for fishing.
- Bird watching for ornithologists can be a real treat for this rarely visited park.
- A visit to the Boran cultural centre can display a sample of varied Kenyan cultures to-date.
- Camel walks for adventurous guests.
- Guided nature walks by naturalists.
- Picnic at the Tana River Adamson's Falls.
Dates and Itinerary
We run trips to the Meru area at all times of the year
Our tailor-made safaris give you the freedom to choose your program - tell us when you want to go and any preferences you have, and we will help you to design your safari holiday.
For those who are budget travellers we have mid range lodges and permanent camps in and out of the National reserves.
Beginning in Nairobi, we drive for around 8hours along the east side of the beautiful Mount Kenya, via the town of Embu to reach the secluded Meru National Park. The journey will offer impressive views of the mountain, mixed forest, small African towns, villages and rural farms.
This trip is 4 days long with accommodation of your choice in either comfortable safari tents or lodges. Transport will be in our safari minivan with pop-up roof and cool box, and the safari will be led by our experienced and friendly staff! The four-day safari includes two full days of activities, two nights stay in the Meru National Park and one night in the Aberdares National Park for game drives and other activities during the day, and two half days for travel.
|1||4.5hours||Depart for Meru, on a scenic drive along the east side of the impressive Mount Kenya, (Africa’s second highest mountain after Kilimanjaro) via the town of Embu, for views of the mountain, mixed forest, small towns, villages and rural African farms (8hour drive). Enjoy an afternoon game drive and camping overnight in a lodge or tented camp.|
|2||Enjoy a full day safari in the Meru National Park. Search for wild game including lion and large herds of buffalo, elephants and reticulated giraffe. Hippos, cheetahs and leopards are also present in the park and in the more open areas you will find generuks, zebras and ostriches. The first game drive will start early in the morning at around 6:30am, for around two hours to spot Africa’s ‘Big Five’ before the midday sun, and return to your accommodation for breakfast. The second game drive will be in the late afternoon (after you’ve spent time relaxing by the swimming pool) for a couple of hours, to return in time for dinner and the beautiful sunset; a truly incredible spectacle that must be not missed.|
|3||1 hour||At the break of dawn you enjoy your final game drive in the Meru followed by breakfast and departure for Aberdare National Park (about 4 hours) to arrive in time for a late afternoon game drive. Keep a look out At the break of dawn you enjoy your final game drive in the Meru followed by breakfast and departure for Aberdare National Park (about 4 hours) to arrive in time for a late afternoon game drive. Keep a look out for the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and Sykes monkey. You may also see lions, the golden cat and the bongo - an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Relax for the evening, enjoying your dinner and the sounds of the birds and wildlife while the sun sets.|
|4||2-3 hours||An early morning game drive and departure from Aberdares Park to Nairboi, will have you back in Nairobi in the late afternoon, in time for your transfer to the airport for your flight home.|
Meru Wilderness cost: £595.00
- Safari Vehicle for 4 days (with pop up roof for game viewing) including fuel
- Driver & Guide/Cook for full 4 days
- Park entry fees as per the itinerary
- Activities in Meru & Aberdare
- Food (3 meals per day) prepared by our staff and bottled water throughout the safari
- Accommodation in lodge and Adventure Alternative ‘walk in’ safari tents
- UK/Kenya Administration and Staff Support
- Any activities not mentioned in the inclusions
- (Hippo Pool & Jacuzzi located inside the Leopard lodge)
- Alcohol/additional drinks, meals in restaurants, personal expenses for souvenirs, laundry, phone calls, etc
- Safari Staff Tips (estimate £20)
- Vaccinations/personal medication
- International Travel/Visa/Personal Trip Insurance
Integral to our business model is the principle that we provide full time salaries and benefits to our core staff in Kenya, in order to prevent the tactic of skimming budgets and reducing variable costs (such as staff wages). We avoid paying ‘per trip’ to an outsourced agency and not having a contract which defines issues such as workers conditions.
This represents a long term commitment and involves a strategic plan of investment for training, equipment and the usual benefits one would find in a west European work place. We have found that this practice ensures staff loyalty and makes for a happier holiday.
We also train our staff to attract local clientele with the same approach to workers conditions, providing a high quality service and thus promoting a business model that will allow people to properly benefit from the income from tourism.
A safari with Adventure Alternative directly benefits Moving Mountains Kenya and the projects it runs, because Adventure Alternative underwrites the administrative cost of running the charity. Additionally this safari benefits the local staff, guides, drivers and cooks who are all employed full time and in many cases are former street children or beneficiaries of Moving Mountains
Adventure Alternative Kenya is a registered Tour Operator. We provide training, equipment and insurance to our staff and educational grants to other students who are coming through Moving Mountains to gain qualifications in specific areas of tourism. All staff on safari will receive an additional daily allowance for food and accommodation which is not deducted from their monthly salary.
We own a number of specially modified safari vehicles all of which are maintained to high standards and properly serviced and our Guest Houses, offices and projects across Kenya all practice a responsible policy towards the environment, waste management and water usage.
Our safari staff work on high principles and will follow guidelines set in place by Adventure Alternative Kenya to ensure minimal impact on the fragile environments of Kenya’s National Parks and Game Reserves.
We run our own office and staff in Kenya. Our own registered local company is called Adventure Alternative Kenya. We don’t outsource, as we much prefer to give long term employment and training to our own staff. This builds local people and their families and allows us to be in control of exactly how your safari is delivered and arranged so that you get the very best experience in the safest way possible and with excellent support and back up.
Type of Terrain
The park covers 870 sq km, incorporating sandy tracks, a riverine forest, savannahs with long grass and lush swamps. There are three large rivers – the Tana, Ura and Rojeweru rivers and the park is crossed by many other permanent streams. The Western part of the park is rugged and hilly with rich volcanic soils. The vegetation is dense in many parts of the park, with a large area being designated as a wilderness area without any roads.
Adventure Alternative Support
Adventure Alternative Kenya is a fully registered and licensed tour company based in Nairobi. Our staff are professionally trained, experienced and speak excellent English. Osman Mohammed is our senior Safari Guide and Kelly Kioko is Director of Adventure Alternative Kenya. We organise all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. We have many staff acting as organisers, translators, problem-solvers, advisors and the main link between you and the UK office. The Nairobi office talk to the guides every day on the mountain / on safari and can make any arrangements you may need.
The following should give you a good idea as to what is required clothing worn during a safari. You will want to blend into the environment so think greens, browns and khakis, loud colours are not advised.
Due to its altitude, the Aberdare Park has a climate closer to that of Europe than of the tropics. Jumpers, sweaters, jackets, thick socks, waterproofs and, during the April/May rains, even thermal underwear may be needed overnight.
- Short & Long Sleeve Shirts - Long sleeved shirts will protect your skin from the sun and from insects in the evenings.
- Shorts & Trousers - Long trousers will protect you from the sun & insects.
- Safari Hat -Wide brimmed works best, but a cap is a good alternative!
- Jacket/Fleece -It can get cold in the evenings and on the early morning game drive
- Footwear - Comfortable trainers/shoes and a pair of sandals. You will need some type of hiking/safari boot if you plan on any walking safaris.
- Personal first-aid kit
- Small daysack -to carry personal belongings, water bottle, camera, sunscreen, etc.
- African/Kenya Guide Book
- Money belt
- Torch-very important if going on our camping safari.
- Water bottle
- Insect Repellent
- Adventure Alternative is a well run trusted company. We’ve been recognised by a number of industry awards for the work which we do, such as the Responsible Tourism Award in 2009.
- We are active members of industry bodies such as Fair Trade Volunteering and Tourism Concern, and your money is protected by ATO (Association of Tour Operators).
- Adventure Alternative is an organically grown company which is fresh and inspirational. We really make a big difference and promote a type of tourism which is sustainable, developmental and fair.
- We don’t use third party ground suppliers or external sources; we have developed our won in-country presence.
- Adventure Alternative runs its own company in Kenya called Adventure Alternative Kenya. This company is a registered tour operator and headed up by Kelly Kioko (see our staff page). The company looks after all of your daily needs and manages you whilst in Kenya. The company has a large set up in Nairobi with regional bases all over the country. It has qualified and experienced staff, vehicles and a large store of equipment and the expertise to ensure your trip runs smoothly, professionally and safely.
- All the staff have been with us for over a decade and have been trained to a very high standard. They are well used to working with Westerners and will enjoy showing you their country and making sure you have a great time.
- Adventure Alternative is the real deal! We do things the way they should be done and your safety and enjoyment is paramount.