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Nairobi Royal National Park - A travel report by Africa
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Nairobi Royal National Park,  Kenya - flag Kenya -  Nairobi Area
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africhoice's travel reports

On a mission to look for Lioness Elsa’s Grave.

  8 votes
ADVENTURE IN MERU. Joy Adamson chose the wilds of meru National park to return Elsa and pippa in the1960s.She succeeded and formed a bond deeper than she had ever experienced with any human, for Elsa was a lioness and Pippa, a she- Cheetah.


Our mission on this trip is to find the secret grave of Elsa. For years nobody was allowed to visit the grave, which gave it an aura of mystery. Full of excitement, we packed our lunches and water into the car to search for the grave. This was after the early birds had seen the “fattest” (not the fastest) cheater ever in the glow of the rising sun. Meru National park is no ordinary park. After the devastating era of the poachers in the 1970s to the end of the 80s,almost all the big game had been wiped out ,save for a few frightened herds of elephants and one lone rhino by the end of the 90s.Returning to the park a decade later ,the change was unbelievable –where previously the plains had been devoid of life ,there were now herds of elephants ,giraffes ,zebras and rhino sanctuary with more than 50 rhinos in it .”We had the biggest ever translocation of wild animals in the world” explains the our Driver guide.” Over a five year period, we had 1750 animals Translocated from other parks”.

Since we thought we had time to drive to Elsas grave, we stopped at the murera Bandas to check them out and to visit the education center where, for the first time we saw the naked mole rat whioch is born blind ,lives under the surface burrowing tunnels which keeps the soil aerated and alive .The little heroes ,not great in looks but mighty important for the dry land where it is found ,also have no far hence the ‘naked’ tag.

Done with the visit, we make our way to Elsa-my childhood star. The Nyambene hills from where more than 14 rivers flow through the park, line the skyline with just a faint outline of Mt.Kenyas peak. Baboons play on the doum palms with their forked branches while the beautiful reticulated giraffe stroll elegantly in their midst. It’s getting hotter in the lowlands until we reach a huge, gigantic rock insel like the Mudanda roch in Tsavo East. Our Guide announces we are near the grave and our faces light up.


Favourite spots:
HOW TO GET THERE. Meru-It is easy 5 hours Drive from Nairobi via Embu or Nanyuki Meru National Park is 72 Km from meru town-a busy place with a thriving miraa market. 870 squire Km. Visit the diverse communities living around like borana ,orma,meru/Tharaka in what was once the inhospitable Northern frontier District. Visit Adamson’s falls -Elsa lived from 1956 to 1961 and pippa from 1964 to 1969-both graves are in the park. Place to stay. Kinnas bandas- formerly bwatherongi. They are clean and inexpensive –each banda with a bedroom, wash room, living room, verandah and an outside grill for cooking –carry your own utensils ,food and charcoal. There is also a beautiful campsite with clean wash rooms and a barbecue area, including a swimming pool. Carry insect repellant cream because tsetse flies in some areas and touches Recommended Tour Companies for organized trip and bookings. If not self Drive you can Contact : -www.opulentafricatours.com

What's really great:
We are at ranger’s outpost and the news is that ewe cannot access the grave from this side because the path is overgrown and unusable since nobody has used it in a long while.
‘But’ says the guide ‘you can drive around to the other side and the grave is just there’ Simple instructions. By now, it’s close to 3 pm and we break for lunch, taking over the-a simple structure of twigs in a circular pattern to pray in.

After that we went to the bridge which was made up of wires tied between two sturdy trees on each bank of the river. To cross it, one had to hold the wires above and walk sideways as if on a tight rope. It’s made for short people, or for people with fear of heights or for drunks-only for the Guide to o to the Tharaka village or for the villagers to visit someone at the camp.

The guide climbs on it from a ladder of shorts by trunk .Galiab, the good nephew does likewise but after a few steps looking down into the fast flowing river, is suddenly rooted to the spot .

Sights:
Elsas grave

Accommodations:
Meru bandas

Published on Monday August 17th, 2009


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Tue, Aug 18 2009 - 05:15 PM rating by bootlegga

The narrative is great, with pictures it would be a **** at least. Keep it up!

Mon, Aug 17 2009 - 03:02 PM rating by krisek

Hey Africhoice, many thanks for sharing your experiences in Meru National Park. You use words like a painter uses a brush for watercolours! Lovely! I went to see Elsa's grave a few years ago, and I found it very easy to reach from the expensive but absolutely wonderful lodge Elsa's Kopje inside the park. The path was passable and a young family of giraffes kept jogging alongside my jeep when I visited. I think that your report would benefit from some photographs and a little closer alignment with the structure of the template. I was also wondering if it would be better to post it as Meru National Park and not the Nairobi Park.

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