Meru County is synonymous with the miraa (Khat) growing culture. As such one would imagine that the most interesting activities this region has to offer are only centered on the stimulating plant.
However, Meru is a hotbed of tourist attraction. Located on the North East slope of Mount Kenya and five miles north of the equator, Meru is nestled within hilly surroundings and evergreen vegetation. It is a traveler’s paradise where one can indulge in a number of fun-filled and breathtaking activities so make sure you are ready to be captivated and have a good camera with lots of memory space.
Bird watching and Wildlife Spotting
Meru.go.ke indicates that the gazetted game parks and forests such as the Meru National Park, Mt. Kenya National Park and Imenti forest are host to the colobus monkey, white elephant, baboons, giraffe, gazelle, buffalos, black and white rhino, cheetah, zebras and lots of different birds’ species such as the Bustard, Plover, Coursers and birds of prey.
In addition to the game drives at the Meru National Park, keen historians can visit the famed Joy and George Adamson’s House of popular ‘Born Free’ movie and the grave of Elsa the Lion at Adamson Falls.
The privately owned Lewa wildlife conservancy (Lewa Downs) is an ideal location to see the big five. It is also home to the Guenther’s Dikdik, the giraffe-necked Gerenuk and the beautiful blue-legged Somali Ostrich. And seasonally, the lance-like horned Beisa Oryx and the rare Greater Kudu.
The swamp in Lewa has become a sanctuary in itself for the rare and fascinating semi-aquatic Sitatunga Antelope and its primary predator, the Leopard. At night, visitors can spot bush-babies, aardvarks, bat-eared foxes, caracal, various mongooses, genets and civets according to porini.com.
All these can be viewed on a private tour or during one of the many marathons or charity events held at the conservancy.
Camping, Hiking and Mountain climbing
Located within Meru town and its’ outskirts are many comfortable hotels and campsites that provides ideal venues for team building retreats, recreational camping and intimate getaways – anyone planning a memorable engagement?
Meru is the place to be if you want to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, and for those fit and adventurous enough, Meru also provides experienced guides and porters to scale Africa’s second highest mountain. Having climbed the mighty Mt. Kenya myself, I’d advice that the best times to visit for camping and trekking are June to October and December to March, so for this worthwhile experience, don’t miss out on the current mountain climbing season at its peak, Meru awaits you.
Exploring culture and history
An old historic structure built in 1916 now stands as the Meru Museum. Here, one is able to interact with the rich Meru culture exhibited. Museums.or.ke highlights some outstanding features viewed by visitors as a garden of indigenous medicinal shrubs and herbs together with an indigenous operating theatre. A compound of traditional huts. And an outdoor platform for the performance of indigenous dance and music.
13 Kilometers North of Meru town is another historical structure of cultural significance worth exploring. The Meru council of elders court also known as ‘Njuuri Ncheke’. Here, the elders conserve traditional worship places and practices, enforce and revise laws that govern the community to date.
The Municipal market within Meru town offers a wide variety of colorful arts, crafts, attires and foodstuff that capture the cultural essence, all at a bargain price including Meru green gold (Miraa) as well.
Mwende Maritim is a budding freelance writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has always had a passion for well written content but began writing professionally in 2014. Her writing mainly covers lifestyle issues and anything to inspire people especially the teenagers she mentors.