Meru National Park Ura Gate. PHOTO/PRESS POINT

Full of diverse, astounding scenery and warm climate, Meru National Park is home to the famous big five and a host of over 400 recorded species of birds and amazing natural vegetation making it a gem for tourists.

The vast park covering 870 square kilometers is mainly thorny bushland in the North, wooded grasslands in the West and open grassland on some parts.

The park caved mainly from Tharaka constituency also has dense forests along the 13 permanent rivers that traverse from the upper sides of the Nyambene Hills towards Tana River that separates Tharaka-Nithi County with Kitui County.

Meru National Park is most famous as the setting for Joy Adamson’s book “Born Free”, which is a story of the Adamson’s life and research amongst lion and cheetah but the glory is slowly fading due to poor infrastructure that disappoints tourists from touring.

There are two routes to the park from Nairobi; the 348-kilometer Nyeri-Nanyuki –Meru road that ends to Murera gate and the 290-kilometer through Embu-Kathwana-Gatunga that takes one to the Ura Gate.

The two roads have been in a bad state for many years with the stretch of 16-kilometer Gatunga Ura Gate that is in a deplorable state rendering the entrance almost dormant.

Inside the park, access roads are also almost impassable making it a nightmare, the movement of tourists around the precious park that was once the pride of the sector.

The park does not have enough lodges and the few available are archaic and ruined, putting off visitors who like elegant accommodation facilities.

To lift it to the required standards, the park needs a total overhaul.

Recently, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said during the launch of launch construction of a 53-kilometer electric fence that will cost Sh96 millions that the part is a sleeping giant.

He said most of the local leaders blame Kenya Tourism Board is always for not marketing the parks and other tourism cites while they don’t play their role of ensuring the accessibility of the facilities.

He said lack of modern lodges in most of the parks discourages tourists and asked local investors to put up classy facilities on the outskirts for the accommodation.

“Meru National Park is amazing and it’s of its kind in the country but is potential has not been fully exploited because of the poor roads and accommodation among other problems,” said Mr Balala.


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