Hello everyone! This post is about our game drive in Meru National Park.
Meru National Park is located east of Meru, 350 km from Nairobi. It took us almost 6 hours to get there. Covering an area of 870 km², it is one of the most famous known parks of Kenya and one of the oldest (opened in 1968). It is a component of a single extensive ecosystem, encompassing the Bisanadi, Kora and Rahole reserves.
Thanks to the diversity of its habitats, Meru offers unique wildlife watching opportunities. It has a wide range of wild beasts like elephant, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, cheetah, black rhinoceros and some rare antelopes.
in 1970s, with as many as 50,000 tourists visiting the park and adjacent conservation areas nearby, Meru was the jewel of Kenya's National tourism. Then the tragedy happened. Between 1980 and 1990, poachers slaughtered 90% of the Park's elephants; rhinos were completely extinct; disease took a terrible toll on wildlife: and lawlessness and land conflicts devastated the area. The park's infrastructure was deadened and decayed.
Much effort, including improved security and increased conservation awareness have helped to restore Meru's ecosystem and brought Park into the spotlight.
However perhaps one of the greatest bonuses of Meru is the limited number of visitors meaning that you can be in the park for an entire day without seeing another vehicle which really helps you feel that you are alone in Africa!
In Meru National Park we have seen for the first time gerenuks. The gerenuk is also known as the Waller's gazelle. It is a long-necked specie of antelope found in dry thorn bushes and desert in East Africa, from Somalia, Djibouti and eastern Ethiopia through northern and eastern Kenya to northeastern Tanzania. The word gerenuk comes from the Somali language, meaning "giraffe-necked" that is why it is sometimes called giraffe-necked antelope.
One of the first thing we noticed in Meru was its vegetation peculiarities. This park featured dense riverine forests of Doum Palm. Here are some photos of reticulated giraffes with the beautiful park background.
Meru's character is defined by the rivers that form its perimeters. There are 3 rivers: the Taha (south), the Ura (sough-west), the Rojeweru (east). The park also has 14 permanent streams which drain off the nearby Nyambeni Hills.
Sometimes one need to cross these abundant park's waters. This is how it looks in a reality.
When in Meru National Park, do not miss Hippo water pool to see hippos from the closest distance possible. After Hippo Boat Safaris on Lake Naivasha we were not really looking forward to see hippos in Meru, we actually even didn't expect to see them there. Thus you can imagine our excitement when we watched the whole family in the river.
The swampy grasslands are grazed by shifting herds of Buffalo. While driving in this park we stumbled with a herd crossing the river.
There are also families of elephants in Meru National Park.
Here in Kenya, we have seen waterbucks (a large antelope found widely in sub-Saharan Africa) almost in every National Park and even strolling in private lodges (Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort). Meru National Park was not an exception, although these animals were much more relaxed and posed for the camera for a long time before running away.