Kenya // The National Parks and Mombasa Highway //

Meru National Park

You still don’t see Meru National Park on many safari itineraries. Of the main parks covered in this section, it is the least visited and most unspoilt and pristine. Abundantly traversed by streams flowing into the Tana River on its southern boundary, and luxuriantly rained upon, the rolling jungle of tall grass, riverine forest and swamp is lent a hypnotic, other-worldly quality by wonderful stands of prehistoric-looking doum palms.

True, the animals aren’t always as much in evidence here as they can be in some other Kenyan parks, though in recent years the wildlife numbers have been much improved, but the even more noticeable absence of minibuses and Land Cruisers more than compensates. After visiting some of the less bushy parks, where the animals can be spotted from far away, Meru’s intimate, unusual landscape is quickly entrancing.

Kora National Park, and the three national reserves south and east of Meru – Bisanadi, Mwingi and Rahole – are all in the Land-Rover-expedition category, a total of 4500 square kilometres of scrub and semi-desert, and dense forest where they fringe the Tana River. Because of the history of poor security in the area (though there have been no recent incidents), you do need to check out the situation very carefully with KWS in Meru National Park if you’re considering entering the Kora area.

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