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Mount Meru National Park, Kenya

Overlooking Mt Kenya and Tana river, home of Elsa the Lioness and her adopted human parents, Meru National Park has become the most famous safari drive in East Africa after the book and movie ‘Born Free’. Both the book and the movie based on it narrate the story of three lion cubs who were left orphaned after the death of their mother and were raised by a couple of conservationists, George and Joy Adamson. Two of the lions eventually were transported to live in a zoo but the third, a female named Elsa, accustomed to the life in the wilderness and was released to live on her own in Meru National Park. Later on, in the same park Joy Adamson released into the wild a pet cheetah who also managed to adjust to the new life and produce litter.

 

The Adamson House is now one of the attractions of the National Park, along with Adamson Falls, named after the famous conservationists. The grave of Elsa the Lioness is located in the park and shown to all the travelers, accompanied by this inspiring story of being born in the wilderness, raised as a pet and then returning back to the freedom of wild African savannah.

 

Besides the felines, Mt Meru National park houses large amount of elephants and black rhinos. Due to the climate and precipitation in the area, the grass grows quite tall in the park and makes wildlife spotting a bit difficult. Nevertheless, the plains of Meru have a big population of rare antelopes, zebras, giraffes and waterbucks, while the more humid swampy areas are filled with hippos and over 420 varieties of birds. Meru National Park also has quite a big population of poisonous snakes, such as pythons and cobras. Not many other parks in Africa give such a vibe of complete wilderness and freedom as Meru National Park.

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