Meru County

Discover Meru County

Spatial Location of Meru County in Kenya
Spatial Location of Meru County in Kenya

Brief Overview of Meru County

Many travellers to Meru County arrive along the A2 Nairobi-Meru Road – more proper Cape-Cairo Road extending from Kenya-Tanzania border at Namanga to the Ethiopian border at Moyale, or along the B6 Embu-Meru Road. Either way, both these good roads travel through the southern quarter of Meru County and across a cornucopia of indelible landscapes with the flanks of Mount Kenya, the attractive township of Meru and the picture-postcard series of volcanic hills of Nyambeni Range piecing together one of the most pleasing landscapes in Kenya from the point of view of scenery. Along the A2 Road between Nanyuki to Meru Towns (76 kms apart) one enjoys great wide-angle views of a fairytale ecological gamut as the road bends and drops some 2000 ft down the Timau Escarpment, after crossing the salubrious farmlands at Timau, to jaw dropping views across the plains below through Isiolo and to the turnoff into Buffalo Springs Reserve.

The much-prized but seldom talked about motoring pilgrimage around Mount Kenya, a journey of 290 kms along the A2 and B6 through the towns of Embu, Chuka, Meru, Timau, Nanyuki and Karatina is a long-standing adventure. From Nanyuki it is possible to to take your vehicle to 13,000 feet to the far end of the Sirimon Track. Those who plan a quick yatra trip around Mount Kenya would be well advised to plan their journey over the drier months of the year, and best soon after the rains when the flourishing and graminaceous countryside is at its very best. Meru County has five recognizable topographic areas of interest: the lower north-eastern flanks of Mount Kenya alluded to above; the north-east to south-west Nyambeni Range and its associated hillocks, forests and craters; the upstanding monadnocks along the north-western boundary; the protuberant rock mountains of Mpogoro Forest; and the Nyambeni lowlands which consist of the lower and terminal lavas of both Mount Kenya and the Nyambeni Range.

Generally speaking, the physical condition of Kenya plays a critical role in Meru County.  The hills which run parallel to the Coast Region of Kenya, a few miles inland, divide the semi-arid shrubland from the coastal region by considerably influencing the distribution of rain.  These particular hills check the rain clouds and the dried-up vegetation which marches along the entire western flank only disappears when the higher ranges of Mount Kenya are reached; which breaks-up the clouds that pass over the lower coastal hills. The result is higher average rainfall in Meru County and its surrounding areas. This, in addition to the rich volcanic soil, makes Meru one of the most fertile places in Kenya. The Mau and other higher ranges like Aberdare in the interior break up other clouds passing over the lower coastal hills. By the same token, the highest rainfall in Kenya is found in these three zones which are plateaus of remarkable highland greenery.

View near Timau Escarpment.  Image Courtesy of WikiMedia
View near Timau Escarpment. Image Courtesy of WikiMedia

Salient Features of Meru County

  • County Number 12
  • Area – 5127 km2
  • Altitude – 5000 ft
  • Major Towns – Meru, Maua, Nkubu
  • Borders – Isiolo, Nyeri, Tharaka-Nithi, Laikipia, Kitui, Tana River
Meru County Map

Brief History of Meru County

The chronicles of the struggle for independence in Kenya so far appears to be selective to Nyeri area and the southern half of Mount Kenya. While plenty has been written about the role of the Kikuyu in this struggle, the fast-disappearing role of the opposite-number Ameru is not much over with, yet, their pertinent contributions sealed an immutable bond among the tribes living around Mount Kenya. Indeed, the Ameru played an invaluable role in the mobilization and participation of the Mau Mau rebellions. Hitherto, Ameru Tribe was carefully structured and controlled by the powerful Njuri Ncheke council of elders. Njuri was the traditional system of governance for the entire Ameru community, with its headquarters at Nchiru in Tigania west. The fertile highland areas around Meru were always going to be a great prospect for the colonial settlers and as it were, in 1903, Edward B. Horne was appointed the first District Commissioner of Meru. His office, now housing Meru National Museum, was the first building erected with stone in Meru.  Soon after his arrival he declared the area within a radius of one mile from his headquarter and a township under the Ordinance Act of 1903 advanced. Conjectures about the newcomers were many and varied.

Makutano Junction, Meru. Image Courtesy of Meru Government
Makutano Junction. Image Courtesy of Meru Government
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45 Attractions in Meru County, arranged as one would visit these - south, north, east then west - with the aid of in-depth narratives, images, strip maps and distance chart:

Kierra Valley, Kierra Ridge, St. Mary’s High School, Igoji, Devil’s Bridge Falls, Tharuu Springs, Giitune Sacred Forest, Tamaduni Cultural Centre, Meru Museum, St. Joseph's Cathedral, Kathita Falls, Kaaga War Memorial, Kaithandu Hill, Mpogoro Forest, Stone Woman at Kieiga Forest, Njuri Ncheke Headquarters at Nchiru, Ngaya Forest, Meru National Park, Twin Baobab Tree, Elsa’s Kopje, Adamsons Falls Bridge, Rhino River Camp, The Giant Footprints, Giant Meru Oak, Lake Nkunga, Mucheene Forest Station, Mucheene Caves, Lake Thai, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Nyambene Forest Reserve, Iga Ria Ngutu, Magado Crater, Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve, Mount Kenya National Park, Sirimon Route, Mount Kenya One-Day Trips, Theemwe Route, Theemwe Mineral Springs, Marania Route, Lake Rutundu, Rutundu Log Cabins, Lake Alice, Lake Ellis, Lake Michaelson, Timau River Lodge, Farms at Timau, 
Geography, Land-Use, Highlights, Population, Roads, Airports, Climate & National Monuments in Meru County