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Overview of Elsa’s Kopje Meru

Unashamedly heartfelt and perfectly styled, Elsa’s Kopje is etched into Mughwango Hill, over the site of George Adamson’s unique camp where he raised and delivered vagrant lions, well before protection got trendy. Every bungalow is made around the stones, with a huge room, open parlor, veranda, and extensive washroom, each with stunning perspectives.

What could be compared to 215,000 sections of land, of the bona fide African scene? The recreation center offers a flourishing rhino asylum, and is renowned for enormous elephant groups, hippo, lion, and birdlife; Meru National Park is perceived as having more variety of creature species than some other parks in East Africa. The tough and distant Meru National Park has been safeguarded from blankness because of Elsa’s Kopje, a naturally grant-winning, shop stop. Champ of the Good Safari Guide’s ‘Best Safari Property in Africa’ grant,

Elsa’s Kopje is generally famous as perhaps the most exquisite hotel in Africa. Elsa’s Kopje was planned and worked by Stefano Cheli, formally opened by Dr. Richard Leakey (Director of Kenya Wildlife Service at that point), and Virginia McKenna of Born Free acclaim in 1999. Perhaps the most wonderful parks in Kenya, Liz and Stefano remembered Meru National Park for the majority of their portable rose safaris.


Nestled into the hillside, and overlooking the vast plains of Meru National Park, each of Elsa’s Kopje’s open-fronted cottages is unique in design and offers an elegant safari style.


  • 5 doubles and 1 twin/double
  • Each cottage consists of the main bedroom, en suite bathroom, and private deck or verandah. N.B. Cottage 3 has a private sitting room rather than a deck.
  • 2 rooms can fit one extra bed, to accommodate children under the age of 16yrs.

Family Cottage

Brand new and with panoramic views of the Park. The Family Cottage is a spacious 2-bedroom cottage with a double and a twin room, both en-suite, a beautiful living room, a large private deck, and an outside bath by the master bedroom.

Honeymoon Suites

Overlooking the vast plains of Meru National Park, Elsa’s has three Honeymoon Suites.  Two of the suites have romantic outside baths and one suite has three levels featuring a private sitting room, main bedroom with en-suite bathroom, and a small private deck. For families with small children, two of the Suites can accommodate an extra bed suitable for children under 16.

Private House

Overlooking the vast plains of Meru National Park and facing Mt Kenya, Elsa’s Private House consists of one en-suite master bedroom with dressing room, one en-suite twin bedroom, a large dining and sitting room, a private garden, and an infinity swimming pool. The Private House can fit two extra beds, for children under 16yrs.

Guiding & Activities


The Elsa’s Kopje guides are based at the lodge in Meru National Park, they have the whole park to themselves, and know their backyard intimately. All the guides are Bronze or Silver level Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association certified. The National Park is one of the most beautiful in Africa, and apart from being home to plentiful lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant, and rhino, it is known for its diversity of habitat and wildlife, including the rare and beautiful lesser Kudu. The guides know every stunning corner, from the palm-fringed springs to the sandy beaches of the Tana river. A birders paradise, Meru boasts over 400 species, as well as surprising botanical treasures including the giant baobab tree and rare paper bark Albizia. Our guides know the territory of the Meru lions and leopards, but also in a habitat so diverse, they know the medicinal properties of the unusual plants, are keen birders, and can show you the home of the tiny naked mole-rat!


GAME DRIVES – The Elsa’s Kopje guides are based at the lodge in Meru National Park, they have the whole park to themselves, and know their backyard intimately. All the guides are Bronze or Silver level Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association certified. Elsa’s Kopje has open game drive vehicles. The current fleet is new, specially fitted, 4×4 Toyota Landcruisers. The vehicles are unrivaled with feature enhancements specifically designed for comfort and photography – open-sided with 3 rows of seats, photographic equipment stands, and charging sockets. Clients will share game drives unless “exclusive use of the vehicle” has been prebooked at an extra charge. The park has an enormous diversity of habitat and wildlife, game drives will take you through forests, past giant baobab trees, through clear spring-fed streams lined with palms. This is lion and elephant country, but also Meru has many rare species including caracal, the beautiful Lesser Kudu, aardwolf, and over 400 species of birds.
DAY EXCURSIONS TO THE TANA RIVER – Take a picnic lunch, and take the whole day to explore the sandy Tana River, Kenya’s longest. Rising in the highlands of Mt Kenya and traveling 704kms before emptying into the Indian Ocean.
RHINO SANCTUARY – The National Park incorporates an 84 sq km rhino sanctuary, home to over 70 rhinos, both black and white. The size of the sanctuary ensures that finding the rhino is still a game-driving challenge!
GUIDED WALK – Take the time to leave the car behind and enjoy the small things – tracks, dung beetles, naked mole rats, and micro-ecosystems. Enjoy a climb up to the very top of Mughwango Hill, enjoying a 360-degree view from snow-capped Mt Kenya in the west to the vast Meru plains to the east.
RIVER FISHING – Take your rod, afternoon tipple with some canapés and a good book, and settle on the palm-lined banks of one of Meru’s many rivers. The fishing is fun, with plentiful catfish, tilapia, and barbell. Share your prey with herons, monitor lizards, and spectacular kingfishers.
SWIMMING POOL – Enjoy the cool waters in the heat of the day! An infinity pool perched on the side of the hill, the views are indeed infinite! The pool has a bar service. The Private House has a private swimming pool.
BUSH BREAKFAST AND SUNDOWNERS – Take a moment to sit back, enjoy the spectacular views, the smells, the colors, and the gentle breeze. Bush breakfasts are a chance to enjoy a full breakfast, alfresco, in the middle of the plains, surrounded by wildlife. “Sundowners” are a safari tradition – after a day of safari; stop, watch the spectacular sunset; traditionally with a gin and tonic in hand.
MASSAGES – Safari is also a holiday and a rest – a break from today’s frenetic lifestyle. Elsa’s Kopje offers massages as a wonderful way to ease the stress out of tired shoulders and backs.
CULTURAL VISITS – Elsa’s Kopje works closely with the Tharaka community, and there are ways that you can get involved. Traditionally known for their ornate clothing including distinctive leather skirts and long cowrie shell decorated aprons for women, while the men wore animal skin cloaks and feathered headdresses that were a sign of prestige. Their houses are round with conical-shaped roofs, thatched with grass.


  • Mughwango Airstrip (private airstrip) is a 5 min drive from the lodge; Kinna Airstrip is a 45 min drive from the lodge. Both are a 1hr flight from Wilson Airport.
  • Once-daily scheduled Air Kenya flight departing Nairobi Wilson to Kinna airstrip
  • Private Charters from anywhere into Mughwango Airstrip
  • A helicopter pad is a 1-minute drive from the lodge
  • Road transfer in Elewana vehicle to/from any of Elewana’s other Northern properties or Nanyuki (travel times between 3.5 and 8 hours)
  • Elsa’s Kopje features on the Elewana SkySafari Kenya Classic and Connoisseur itineraries.


  • Mughwango airstrip coordinates:  N00°07.794’ E038°08.022’
  • Kinna airstrip coordinates:  N00°09.905’ E038°11.715’
  • Lodge coordinates:  N00°08.061’ E038°08.232’

Meru National Park covers 1800 sq km and is the core of an ecosystem that includes Kora, Bisandi, North Kitui, and Rahole Reserves, an additional over 5000 sq km of wilderness.

Elsa’s Kopje is in the heart of the park, on small rocky Mughwango hill that affords 360-degree views that stretch from the 17,000-foot peak of Mt Kenya to the east, to virtual infinity to the east. Below the hill is the site of George Adamson’s camp, and the hill was the playground of Elsa the lion. There is a fertile spring to the east of the hill and guests can watch vast herds of elephant, buffalo, and giraffe make their way across the plains below. Elsa’s Kopje is one of only two lodges in the National Park, and so guests will have this vast wilderness practically to themselves.

The park was made famous in the 1960s by Joy & George Adamson, who reintroduced their beloved lioness “Elsa” into the wild in Meru National Park. They wrote a book about their experience which was made into a feature film “Born Free” starring Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers – a groundbreaking movie; the first to depict wild animals as endearing creatures, whose plight the audience could sympathize with. George Adamson continued to work with lions, living to the south of Meru National Park, until he died in 1989. Both Joy Adamson, and Elsa the lioness, are buried in Meru National Park.

The park has an enormous diversity of habitat and wildlife, from cool forests at 3400 ft to the west, dropping down to 1000 ft semi-desert plains with giant baobab and Commiphora trees. It has thirteen clear spring-fed rivers lined with palms and riverine forest and is home to basking hippo. This is lion and elephant country, but also Meru has many rare species including caracal, the beautiful Lesser Kudu, aardwolf, and over 400 species of birds.

The park also has an 84 sq km rhino sanctuary housing over 60 black and white rhino. The area is so large that finding the rhino can still be a game-driving challenge.


The days are warm, rising to a maximum of 30 deg C, but comfortable with minimum humidity, and the evenings are cool. Rainfall is mostly in April and May with an average of 350mm per year.


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    April 2024

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