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Elewana Elsa’s Kopje

Elewana Elsa’s Kopje perches on Mughwango Hill offering wonderful views looking out over the vastness of Meru National Park

Elewana Elsa’s Kopje is an established and exclusive safari lodge in the heart of Meru and is named after Elsa the lioness made famous by George and Joy Adamson’s well-loved book ‘Born Free’. It is a lovely property with a relaxing feel and magnificent views over Meru. Whilst the property is extremely comfortable and well managed, it should not be considered as a genuine five star option as it maintains an authentic safari feel in both the build and décor. The lay out of the lodge means that guests are afforded high levels of privacy in their rooms and consequently the lodge can feel very quiet, something that often appeals to many guests! Game viewing in Meru is varied and potentially very good, but not nearly as guaranteed as other areas of Kenya, especially when it comes to predators. We feel Elsa’s is best suited to travellers seeking to enjoy a little escapism and the wilderness of Meru in addition to both birding and game viewing.


Elewana Elsa’s Kopje has nine individual accommodations set around the hillside, often built between and around the rocks of the kopje with views out over the bush. In addition to these one bedroomed chalets, there is also a two bedroomed Family Cottage and a larger two bedroomed Private House. Of the nine chalets, six are categorised as Cottages whilst three are Honeymoon suites with very private, elevated positions. Each spacious chalet is built from wood, stone and thatch and is very comfortably furnished. The style of the build is authentic African rather than contemporary luxury, but the privacy and views from private balconies give the accommodation a special feel. The spacious en suite bathrooms have plumbed facilities, some with sunken baths. The Family Cottage has two en suite bedrooms linked by a lounge and deck, whilst the Private House, also with two en suite bedrooms, has a very spacious central lounge which leads out to a small private swimming pool and garden – perfect for families or friends travelling together (the private house can sleep 2 extra children to cater for 6 if needed). All rooms are open-fronted, with canvas blinds that can be rolled down if required.

Central Areas

The lounge and bar area, with a separate dining room, are situated within the saddle of the hill and overlook the swimming pool with beautiful views of the bush below. As the lodge is spread out along the hill, it may not be suitable for those with walking difficulties.


Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

Meru lies to the north-east of Mount Kenya and covers a huge area of 870 sq. kms. The north-west of the park is significantly wetter and more hilly, whilst to the south-east the land flattens (the elevation varies from 4,000′ to 1,500′). The region consists of a large semi-arid area of scenic bush country where the wildlife is found in scattered ‘pockets’ near the many swamps and nine watercourses. These occur mainly in the northern and western parts of the Park, forming lovely palm-fringed oases with clear streams.
Animals encountered include elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, lesser kudu, waterbuck, Burchell’s zebra, Grevy zebra, Grant’s gazelle, gerenuk, dik dik, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, etc. are all found here. One section of the park has been fenced as a rhino sanctuary, the first stage of reintroducing both species back into Meru. There is a programme to constantly increase the size of the fenced section as the population numbers grow (currently some 45 rhino have already been translocated). The bird life in the park is exceptional, especially during the winter months when migrants from Europe can be found.


The main activity in Meru is game drives by day and whilst normal morning and afternoon drives are usual, for longer stays it possible to spend the whole day out in the park, perhaps visiting the far southern reaches along the Tana River. Night drives are possible after sunset drinks on the way back to camp, though an extra park fee needs to be paid locally for this. Walking is also possible with an additional fee also payable locally. Walks tend to be fairly short, often just to the top of Mughwango Hill, so we don’t think of Elsa’s as a destination for serious walkers. Cultural excursions are available with the local Tharaka community outside the park.


Elewana Elsa’s Kopje is open all year. Whilst game viewing is never totally guaranteed in Meru, the best time to see big game is during the dry season from July to October.

Elewana Elsa’s Kopje accepts children of all ages but due to the terrain is not especially suited to families with very young children, despite the family friendly accommodation options. However, for families with children approximately 10 years and older, Elsa’s is a great option if the exclusivity of Meru is appealing. The two bedroomed family cottage and private house are extremely suitable in accommodation terms, the latter offering a genuinely luxurious retreat for families groups of up to 6 people (including 2 children under 16 years old).

Elewana Collection, owners of Elewana Elsa’s Kopje, support the Land & Life Foundation ensuring relationships between rural communities and their natural environment that benefit wildlife conservation. The Foundation carries out work in the areas in which Elewana operates, supporting nature conservation, local schools, education and medical centres.

Elewana Elsa’s Kopje also contributes to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) through lease payments and park fees. KWS have set up a rhino sanctuary and relocated more than 1000 animals to Meru National Park some of which include Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, elephant and leopard. Elsa’s also supports the Born Free Foundation animal rights organisation.

Elsa’s is reducing energy through the use of solar power, LED and energy saving lighting. Some fresh produce is sourced locally, timber is taken from renewable sources and waste is recycled where possible.