Jump to content



Recommended Posts


It was some years ago now, when Meru had only one lodge, Meru Mulika, which was at this time(1980's) in need of a lot of TLC. It's condition was the result of years of neglect as Meru was no longer on northern Kenya's safari circuit due to problems with Shifta(bandits).

Our journey to Meru was an adventure in itself. The roads to Embu were ok by African standards, but from there on it was a competition to who could stay in their seat longest. We arrived at the lodge around 3pm, hot, dusty & exhausted. While checking in we were informed that there had been a fire in the staff quarters & they were now occupying the main block normally reserved for the tourists as there was not enough rondavel's to accommodate them all. As there was only two other guest's and us four it made sense and we were in no mood to argue. As it was the Rondavel's were very nice.post-50530-0-52598000-1483021121_thumb.jpg

Although the lodge was in need of some TLC, the park was in pristine condition, due mainly to the 13 rivers that bisect the park, and with the Nyambeni hills as it's backdrop the park was looking good and lifted our spirits after our long drive. After our evening meal and a good nights sleep we were ready for all that Meru could offer. As you are all aware African sunrise's can be very special, depending on where you are of course.

On our first morning I was up around dawn, I had awoken earlier than normal and was standing outside of our rondavel which overlooked a marsh in the depression below. The sun was rising slowly from behind the Nyembeni hills.post-50530-0-49833200-1483021466_thumb.jpg The sky was a mixture of reds & oranges and slowly the sun began to show itself over the rim of the hills, and the Doum palms began to cast their dancing shadows across the marsh. The sound of birdsong was in the air, and the sweet smell of dew laden grasses drifted on the gentle morning breeze. The cool morning air was slowly being replaced by much warmer air as the sun broke free of the hills. As I stood there trying to take in the abundance of smells, sounds, & colours, I heard a soft rustling sound coming from behind me to my left. I looked around to see a large herd of buffalo a short distance away passing by the lodge. They were making their way down to the marsh to drink. These magnificent animals moved in unison, with just the occasional lowing and sound of dry grass being brushed aside giving away their presence.post-50530-0-70442000-1483021597_thumb.jpg

Like Samburu, Meru is blessed with an abundance of Kenya's Northern species. Gerenuk, Grevy Zebra, Somali Ostrich, Beisa Oryx, Lesser Kudu and last but definitely not least the beautiful Reticulated Giraffe. Meru is also blessed with many Elephant, though sadly at this time no Rhino. When in Meru Some years earlier, before the poaching, we were privileged to see the six White Rhino Meru was famous for. Sadly That privilege was removed in 1988 when 5 of them were killed along with two Rangers. But Meru was peaceful now and once again a joy to visit.post-50530-0-04704500-1483021767_thumb.jpg

But I digress. Our morning drive was wonderful seeing almost all of the northern species and much more. Our afternoon drive continued in the same mode with the addition of Elephants. It was beginning to get late and our search for Lions, which we were told were around the swamp area, had proven fruitless, so we stopped for a final photo of the sun setting behind the Doum palms on the other side of the swamp. It was dusk and the Lions would have to wait until tomorrow, though we were reasonably sure that they were not far away, hidden deep in the long grasses. We settled down for the drive back, Peter, our driver, started the engine, put it in gear, and NOTHING! The engine was powering away but we were not moving? Engine off, out of the vehicle, and as we walked around the rear of the vehicle we saw the problem. The back wheels had almost vanished into the mire. We had pulled off of the road so as not to block it for others, not realizing that the swamp was partially on the other side of the road. The front wheels were fine, and if we had pulled over a few meters ahead we would have been ok! and on our way back to the lodge. However, our vehicle was not a 4x4 but a regular mini bus so we had no front wheel traction. It was back to basics. Out came the jack, under it went and we just hoped it would hold being we only had a small area of firm ground to work with. Gently the vehicle rose enough for us to get as much debris, rocks & lumps of wood, as we could find under the wheels, then as it was lowered we were a little concerned as all the debris disappeared into the mire. Up she went again, more debris went in, and as we lowered her again, there was total dismay! as it all disappeared into the mire again. The ground seemed to be bottomless, and now it was getting dark. To find more debris we would need to go further a field, but our wives who were keeping a look out did not think that was a good idea as they reminded us we were looking for Lions around here. Baring this in mind Peter called a halt to the proceedings, put the jack in the back, and we all got into the vehicle pulling down the roof which made it hot inside, but opening the windows was not an option as we were next to a swamp and it was Mosquito time. It would be dark in about fifteen minutes and Peter's only concern was for our safety. Peter looking back at us he said "there are some blankets & water in the back if you would like to get them". Suddenly it all became very real, we could be here all night. post-50530-0-85288400-1483022260_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy