Meru National Park

The Meru National Park has a chequered history and fared terribly during the late 1980’s when poaching became rife and the entire white rhino population which had been introduced into the park was annihilated. The Kenyan government responded decisively and drove out the poachers and restored strong security. Although tourist numbers are still down on the pre-poaching era, wildlife numbers are encouragingly on the increase. The Kenyan Wildlife Service relocated elephants from the Laikipia plateau to Meru in 2001. This success led to the relocation of a number of other species during that decade and you can now see both black and white rhino as well as healthy herds of reedbuck.

Meru became more famous after the worldwide release of the 1966 film ‘Born Free’ which charted the story of a hand-reared orphan lioness named “Elsa” by animal conservationist Joy Adamson. (George, Joy’s husband, had been forced into shooting Elsa’s mother after she attacked him). When Elsa eventually died, Joy buried her and is herself buried at the same site – Adamson’s Falls – next to the Tana river. A small plaque marks the grave among the often abstract shaped weathered granite blocks that have been formed by the waters.