Stay at the Elsa’s Kopje
A white rhino trundles past, horn proudly pointing skywards. Up ahead there’s an even rarer sight, a black rhino mother and her calf. You’re sharing the land with these majestic creatures and you’re not alone. Hippos, lions, elephants, giraffes, buffalo…the list goes on as you explore one of Africa’s great success stories, the revitalised and re-populated Meru National Park. While the safari isn’t as famous here as the Masai Mara or Samburu, combine the abundant wildlife with this outstanding lodge and you have a premier safari experience.
Elsa’s is named after Elsa, the lioness raised by George and Joy Adamson that was immortalised in the book and film Born Free. The lodge is located just above the Adamsons’ original campsite, in the heart of Meru National Park. We love how the lodge blends into its surroundings. It’s almost hidden from view, making it more romantic and less intrusive for resident wildlife. Reach Meru on a scheduled safari flight from Nairobi or air transfer from another Kenya safari destination. Samburu is about three hours away by road.
It’s colonial in style but not the stuffy old-world colonial approach from a bygone era. Elsa’s Kopje is romantically rustic but brought into the 21st century. You stay in a cottage that’s wrapped into the granite hillside, featuring a private deck, open-fronted bedroom and separate sitting area. We love the honeymoon suites with their open-air baths. The Private House is good for families or four people travelling together.
Who is it for
This is a more off the beaten path style safari experience and we think it’s perfect as one stop among a two or three-stop Kenyan safari. Families are very well accommodated and children aged over five are welcomed. Couples will find privacy and an intimate hideaway. Just note, this isn’t a classic big five safari destination and you won’t see the big herds of the Mara, which is why we see it as a complement rather than an alternative to Kenya’s more famous destinations.
Amenities & Activities
Meru was devastated by poaching during the seventies and eighties but the recent recovery is remarkable. Not only has wildlife returned in large numbers, Meru now provides great sightings of some of East Africa’s rarest and most vulnerable animals. In particular, don’t miss a game drive in the rhino sanctuary. Daytime drives combine well with nighttime drives and you should do the tough but short walk to the summit of Elsa’s Kopje, where the views rival anywhere in Africa.