How Drought Affects Safaris in Meru, Kenya

We spoke to Piers Winkworth of Offbeat Safaris to get his thoughts on how safaris in Kenya's Meru region are impacted by drought.

Underground springs

"Even when April and May rains are poor game viewing can be excellent, particularly elephant, lion, giraffe and buffalo. These species and others do not seem to be struggling in Meru as there is plenty of water and fodder. All of the park's 13 rivers flow as usual as most of these are fed from underground sources from the Nymabeni Hills and pop up as springs; as a result short-term lack of rain is not a huge problem. It is pretty dry and dusty up but that's very normal for this time of year. Meru gets 80% of its rain in November and if these rains arrive there are no long-term issues.

"There are a few cattle on the park edges, and when the media portrayed thousands of dead cows we had actually seen just two all season. The park is well managed and there seems to be no concern over security issues. The park maintains and improves the road network so when rains do eventually come safaris should not be too effected while game viewing.

Friendly neighbours

"The local tribe to us is the Boran and we know the community well. Where there have been tribal problems it is usually on land where more than one tribe live and are competing for limited grass and water for livestock during dry spells. In Meru this is not the case as we only really have the Boran here next to us."