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
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
- 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.
Start your African Adventure
Popular Tours in Kenya
11 Days Amazing Kenya & Tanzania Safari
Nakuru and Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for its flocks of pink flamingos. Meet the children of the East Africa Mission Organization. Rift Valley Escarpment UNESCO Listed Ngorongoro Crater, a vast unbroken caldera which is a haven for wildlife Kericho and the Gusii Highlands Masai Mara National Park and tribal lands UNESCO Listed Serengeti, Tanzania's flagship national park Musoma - fishing town of the banks of Lake Victoria Nairobi - Kenya's bustling capital. Extend your stay to explore the sites
The Great Migration Safari
Experience East Africa's landscapes and wildlife at their finest on this independent itinerary, embarking on game drives through majestic national parks and reserves in Kenya and Tanzania, keeping watch for the famous "Big Five," and visiting a Maasai village. Stay in the best boutique camp and luxury safari lodge accommodations in East Africa, and discover Africa's astounding diversity, including the iconic "Big Five" Experience six nights in the heart of the Great Migration - three in the Serengeti and three in the Masai Mara Explore Olduvai Gorge on a private visit, where the Leakey family discovered fossils linking man to his distant ancestors Visit a vibrant village in Tanzania to get a sense of daily life, as you ride by tuk-tuk and explore the local market.
4 Days Mara & Nakuru Safari
You'll have a chance to visit Maasai Mara National reserve that's BEST for wildlife and a great probability of seeing the BIG five among other wildlife. This is where the wild beest migration takes place and should visit in the months that the migration takes place you are likely to encounter this beautiful experience. Nakuru will offer you abit of bird watching and a big likelyhood of seeing the rhinos.
Wildlife and Birds
- Black Rhino
- 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.
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
Popular Blog Articles
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, located 15km(9mi) from Nairobi, is the main entry point into the country.
Located 298km (180mi) from Nairobi, it is roughly a 6,5-hour drive to Meru National Park. Since there are two airstrips within the park, you could, alternatively, take a scheduled flight from Nairobi to Meru (which run daily), or a chartered flight from another park.
Traveling as part of an organized safari will ensure that all your transportation is seen to by experienced tour operators for the duration of your stay.
For the flights to Kenya, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Kenya.
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Kenya.
For more information on visas see our Kenya Safari - Complete Country Guide.
Please speak to you doctor or travel clinic about anti-malaria medication, before booking your trip.
For protection against mosquitoes, we recommend that you buy a good insect repellent (30% DEET or more), and keep your arms and legs covered at night.
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Kenya. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.
- Wide-brimmed sunhat
- Sun glasses (optional)
- Insect repellent (30% DEET or more
- Any personal medication
- General clothing
- Backpack – for camera, spare batteries, bottled water, etc.
- Hiking boots
- Trail/running shoes
If you are visiting from March – May and October – November:
- Waterproof backpack
- waterproof jacket and trousers
- Waterproof hiking boots
It is very rare for crime to occur inside any of the parks in Kenya, and Meru is no exception. However, while touring the park, please listen to your guides and never approach an animal without your guide’s consent or knowledge. Remain inside the vehicle unless the guide says otherwise. Please obey the safety precautions that you will no doubt be briefed in.
When travelling through busy areas (cities, bus stations, markets, etc), please practice caution, as muggings and pickpocketing is common in these areas. Basic safety precautions should be followed whenever you are travelling to a new place, and this is no different in Kenya.