Meru National Park in Kenya

Lush, sloping green hills, dense forest, sprawling plains and rivers filled with hippos, backdropped by Mount Kenya’s enchanting snow-crowned peak – Meru National Park is Kenya’s best, underrated jewel. Like the proverbial diamond in the rough, Meru is not a popular park, and is so rarely visited, that it is mostly empty throughout the year. This provides a rare, peaceful safari for those who discover this beautiful landscape.

  • Best Time to Go

    June – September

  • Average Safari Cost

    $100 - $850 pp/day

  • Highlights

    The Big Five, rarely busy, very stunning scenery, over 300 recorded bird species, and more.

Why Visit Meru National Park

For the scenery

With a diverse landscape consisting of forests, savannahs, swamps and rivers, Meru is beautifully scenic. A Scenic Safari Drive provides the perfect opportunity to view all the beauty that Meru has to offer.

For the wildlife

Meru offers visitors great game viewing opportunities, including the Big Five, although rhinos may be more difficult to spot. There is a large pride of lions in the park, and elephant and buffalo roam in large herds, while leopards are as elusive as ever. The park is also home to the mysterious lesser kudu and the shy dik-dik. Meru is a very underrated park, and it rarely gets crowded.

For the bird life

With over 300 recorded species, bird watching is sure to interesting in Meru. The endemic Golden Palm Weaver and Hinde’s Pied Babbler can be found here, as well as Pel’s Fishing-Owl, the Somali Ostrich and Somali Bee-eater. Bird life is always more vibrant during the wetter months (March – May, and November), as migratory specials will be present and birds will be in their mating plumage.

Pros and Cons

We know there are challenges to every safari, that is why we are here to help you choose the safari that’s right for you.
  • Wonderful wildlife viewing, including the Big Five
  • Very scenic and beautiful
  • The park is hardly ever busy
  • Lots of great options for accommodation
  • Great bird life
  • Wildlife can be shy
  • Sightings of predators are unpredictable

Best Time to Go

Meru can easily be visited throughout the year. There is one long dry season from June to February, when wildlife viewing is at its best. It does rain a bit in October and November, as well, but by December the rains have stopped.

From March to May is the wet season and is it great for bird watching and seeing newborn animals.

For more information when to visit see our Kenya Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

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Wildlife and Birds

While the Big Five is present, rhinos are difficult to spot in the thick vegetation of the rhino sanctuary, and predator sightings are unpredictable, despite the large pride of lions. Elephants and buffalos are easier to see, and the Tana River is home to large populations of Nile crocodiles and hippo. There are also rare antelope species such as the lesser kudu, the dik-dik and the gerenuk.</
List of Animals
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Leopard
  • Hippo
  • Buffalo
  • Hyena
  • Giraffe
  • Black Rhino
  • Kudu
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra
  • Crocodile

Rare Animals

  • White rhino, Black rhino, Cheetah, Wild dog

Infrequently Seen Animals

  • Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Lesser kudu, Beisa oryx, Gerenuk, Bush pig, Waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Dik-dik, Duiker

Frequently Seen Animals

  • Elephant, Giraffe, Hippo, Buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, Wildebeest, Nile crocodile, Eland, Hartebeest Gazelle

Birding is good in Meru, with over 300 recorded species. Notable birds include two endemics: Golden Palm Weaver and Hinde’s Pied Babbler. Other notable birds include the African Fish Eagle, Vulturine Guineafowl and Golden-breasted Starling. From November to March is the best time for bird watching, as migratory birds will be present, and it is the breeding season.

Endangered Birds:

For a complete list of endangered birds in Kenya see our Kenya Safari - Complete Travel Guide.

Endemic and Near Endemic Birds

  • African Finfoot
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Bat Hawk
  • Black-faced Sandgrouse
  • Boran Cisticola
  • Buff-crested Bustard
  • Eastern Chanting Goshawk
  • Golden Palm Weaver (endemic)
  • Golden-breasted Starling
  • Grant’s Wood-hoopoe
  • Hartluab’s Bustard
  • Hinde’s Pied Babbler (endemic)
  • Long-tailed Fiscal
  • Martial Eagle
  • Northern Pied Babbler
  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Pel’s Fishing-Owl
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • Somali Bee-eater
  • Somali Ostrich
  • Taita Fiscal
  • Vulturine Guineafowl
  • Wattled Starling
  • Yellow-necked Spurfowl