Meru is a savanna National Park, 35km east of Maua town in the north eastern lowlands below the Nyambeni hills. Meru is part of a complex of protected areas along the Tana river that includes the adjacent Bisanadi and Mwingi National Reserves (to the east and south respectively), Kora national park and Rahole national reserve. The wetter North Western sector is hilly, with rich volcanic soils. The land flattens towards the East, where grey alluvial volcanic soils appear.
The area is crossed by numerous permanent streams, draining from the Nyambenes and flowing in parallel between tounges of lava, south eastwards towards the Tana River. As well as the many streams that cross it, the park is bounded by three large rivers: the Tana to the South, the Ura to the South West and the Rojeweru to the East. There are several prominent inselbergs of basement rock, notably Mughwango and Leopard rock.
A section of the park has been designated as a wilderness area in which are no roads. The park is part of the domain made famous by the writings of Joy Adamson.
East-north-east of Mount Kenya in Meru District of Eastern Province, coverig 870km2.
Rainfall is 635-762mm in the west and 305-356mm in the east.
Former home of Joy and George Adamson and Elsa the lioness,
Views of Mt Kenya,
Rivers and riverine habitats,
Tana river and
Special Campsites:- (no facilities, prior booking with Kshs. 5000 needed). Kampi Baridi; Kitanga; Makutano; Rojoweru; Mugunga; Ken Mare and Kanjoo.
Public campsite:- (with toilets and showers). Bwatherongi.
Most of the park is covered by bush, thornbush and wooded grassland of varying densities with Combretum prevailing in the north and Commiphora in the south. In the extreme north there is a small remnant outliner of rain forest, the Ngaia forest.
The vegetation on the ridges is Combretum wooded grassland, dominated by Combretum apiculatum. This grades into acacia wooded grassland to the east with Acacia tortilis and Acacia senegal on the rocky ridges, in riverine thickets and dotted over open country. To the west the Combretum merges into Terminalia wooded grasslands.
On the plains Sehima nervosa, Chloris gayana, Chloris roxburghiana, and other species of Pennisetum are the dominant grasses.
Dense riverine forests of doum and raffia palms Hyphaene and Raphia spp. grow along the watercourses and in the swamps near the rivers. Along the Tana river is found the Tana river poplar, Populus ilicifolia. Other riverine trees include Phoenix reclinata, Ficus sycomorus, Newtonia hildebrandtii, Acacia elatior and Acacia robusta. The red-flowered Parasitic Loranthus grows on the branches of Acacia reficiens trees along the rivers.
There are numerous riverine swamps with sedges Cyprus sp. and grasses Echinochloa haplacelada and Pennisetum mezianum.