Meru National Park,Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park and Arawale National Reserve
Meru National Park
The Park is most famous as it is the setting for Joy Adamson’s book “Born Free” – the story of the Adamson’s life and research amongst lion and cheetah. It is an especially wild and beautiful area of Kenya, straddling the equator and bisected by 13 rivers and numerous mountain-fed streams.If you value seclusion and wilderness, it’s well worth visiting. Game in Meru has also recovered from poaching at an encouraging rate, and today, the Elephant populations have recovered significantly, lion and leopard are difficult to find, but numbers are rising and Meru is somewhere you can come with a good expectation of seeing what they call the northern five – Oryx, Grevy’s Zebra, Gerenuk, lesser Kudu and Reticulated giraffe. One of the most significant expressions of confidence in Meru’s reincarnation was the creation of a 40 square kilometre Rhino Sanctuary; people just don’t go giving Rhino’s away lightly, but so far this project, which is home to both white rhino and the indigenous black rhino is doing well. This park has diverse scenery – woodlands to wide open plains with wandering riverbanks dotted with doum palms. Game includes : lions, elephants, cheetah, leopard and some of the rarer antelopes, lesser kudu, duiker, dik dik – one of Africa’s smallest antelopes. The rivers abound with hippo and crocodile. This park is also home to wonderful birds, Over 300 species of birds have been recorded including – Peter’s Finfoot which inhabits the Murera and Ura Rivers, kingfishers, rollers, bee-eaters, starlings and numerous weavers, Vulturine guinea foul strut self consciously along the edges of the road and the river lines are full of brightly coloured bee eaters and kingfishers. If you’re really lucky this is somewhere you could find the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl. So if you do have interest in birdlife, this is well worth the visit.
Area: 870 square kilometers
By Road: 8 hours from Nairobi
By Air: Nairobi/Meru/Nairobi, accessible by scheduled flight on Sun/Wed/Fri. Safari link and Air Kenya.(Charter Flights on request)
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
The Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is located about 85km north-east of Nairob. The ecosystem constitutes a mountain which is entirely covered with dense montane forest except for a small area at the top.
Buffalo are the dominant animals in the ecosystem. Other wildlife include bushbuck, leopard, olive baboon, colobus monkey, vervet monkey, Sykes’ monkey, Kirk’s dik-dik, bush pig, common duiker, reedbuck, rock hyrax, bush-baby, tree and ground squirrel, aardvark, porcupine, mongoose, python and monitor lizard.
The park is home to 45 species of birds and tare easily spotted. These includes:white-browed sparrow weaver, grey- headed sparrow weaver, African pied wagtail, mourning dove, augur buzzard, African hawk eagle, purple-breasted sunbird, yellow-vented bulbul, speckled mousebird, helmeted guinea fowl, black-headed oriole, grey tit, ring-necked dove, bateleur, great sparrow- hawk, bronze sunbird, etc
January-March is hot and dry, April-June is hot and wet, July-October is very warm and dry, November and December are warm and wet
Arawale National Reserve (533 sq km – 206 sq miles)
Arawale and its surrounding country is important as one of only two remaining world locations – both in Kenya – where Hunter’s hartebeest (Damaliscus hunteri) are found, the world’s most endangered antelope. The other is in the Tsavo East National Park into which some have been translocated.
The name for Hunter’s hartebeest in Kenya is the rather more attractive ‘Hirola’ and the two small groups in Arawale and Tsavo are all that remain of a species which once ranged the whole of the African continent. The Hirola is distinguished from other hartebeest — the Coke’s (Alcelaphus buselaphus cokei), the Jackson’s (Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni) the Lelwel (Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel) and Lichtenstein’s (Alcelaphus lichtensteini) by its elegantly-shaped horns and the white chevron between its eyes. It is also smaller.
Much anxiety has been felt for the Hirola since, from an estimated 14,000 in l976, surveys conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service that year revealed that only 350 remained. Of those, 300 were near the Kenya-Somalia border and the remaining 50 in Tsavo East National Park to where 19 were trans-located. The alarming decline, which makes it a very sad story indeed, has been attributed to poaching, drought, disease and human and livestock pressures.
Arawale is also home to many other wildlife species including topi, buffalo, zebra, lesser kudu, giraffe, diverse bird life and endemic plant species