Meru National Park in Kenya

Guests overlooking the Meru National Park.
Meru was once home to Elsa - the 'Born Free' lion cub raised by Joy and George Adamson. Their pioneering work of releasing captive-raised lions back into the wild, became famous after Joy's book was made into a film. Once on Kenya's main tourist circuit, Meru fell from grace after a period of intensive and violent poaching in the late 1980's and the shooting of George Adamson at his nearby camp. The international outcry that followed galvanised the Kenyan government into action to drive out poachers and restore security. Now Meru is Kenya's greatest forgotten game reserve and you can go for hours without seeing another vehicle.Although there is plenty of large game, a drive through Meru is more orientated towards the 'small stuff' such as its astonishing variety of birds like Kingfishers, Bee Eaters and the wonderful electric blue-winged Lilac Breasted Roller.Meru has not been top of the list for first-time safari visitors, but some say it's time is soon coming. The opening of an exclusive architecturally-inspired 'Elsa's Kopje' lodge, sitting atop an isolated hill overlooking the plains, is one step towards a new beginning for this park. Meru is one of the few national parks that allow walking safaris.Meru National Park lies to the east of Mount Kenya - Kenya's highest mountain and Africa's 2nd highest after Mt. Kilimanjaro. This permanently snow-capped peak lies just 10 miles south of the equator. Meru National Park is in complete contrast to the arid Samburu and Shaba parks not far to the north, as it lies in the watershed of Mt. Kenya. The many permanent water-courses create a luxuriant tangle of forests, swamps, reeds and bushland.Meru has not been top of the list for first-time safari visitors, but some say it's time is soon coming. The opening of an exclusive architecturally-inspired 'Elsa's Kopje' lodge, sitting atop an isolated hill overlooking the plains, is one step towards a new beginning for this park.

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