In a remote wilderness region just north of the Meru National Park in Kenya, rests the unrivalled Bisanadi National Reserve. The arid terrain is unforgiving but does provide the perfect habitat for a host of predators and other big game to thrive. A few popular species to spot include lion, cheetah, rhino and buffalo.
The landscape is characterized by iconic acacia thorn bushveld and dense thickets. The savannah flows into dense woodlands, providing contrast in scenes. Three rivers border the park, fringed by typical riverine vegetation and picturesque forests of raffia palm.
The 605 square kilometre park is ideal for a range of safari activities and is a relatively unknown reserve. From fishing to game drives and wild camping, this is an ideal safari destination. There is an airstrip, serving Meru National Park and Bisanadi National Reserve, called Korbessa and serves Mount Meru.
The unusually diverse habitat supports plenty of species of land mammals and birdlife. Wildlife moves across from Meru National Park, and into Bisanadi. The main species to spot include lions, cheetahs, rhinos, buffaloes, elephants, giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodile, wildebeest and impala. Unusual species such as the aardwolf and mongoose also occur in abundance.
The prolific buffalo herd provide abundant sources of prey for hefty lion prides. Lucky visitors might be able to spot an epic showdown between predator and prey.
There are over 400 species of bird in the reserve, both water birds and typical savannah species. A few species to spot include malachite kingfishers, sunbirds, African fish eagles, woodpeckers, red-necked falcon, palm-nut vulture and the Pel’s fishing-owl (a lifer for many birders). The reserve is an underrated pocket of Kenya when it comes to safari experiences.
This section of Kenya is warm and has little rainfall. It’s a good year-round destination as it’s dry for 12 months of the year. However, two seasons do bring in the rain. The short rains are from November to December and the long rains from March to May. Jan to March and June to July is the best time of year to visit the reserve, as this is the dry season. During the dry season, it’s easier to spot wildlife and the big game often filter down to available water sources.
Bisanadi is adjacent to Meru National Park and offers a similar safari experience to its more well-known counterpart. Those entering Meru get a free pass to Bisanadi, a lesser-known and hidden secret of this safari route.
As with most safari experiences, visitors can expect daily guided game drives in modified game viewers, led by experienced rangers. Most of the vehicles have rooftop viewpoints for a more thrilling experience. These game drives take place in the morning and evening and can either be organized through an accommodation provider or a day trip into the park.
There are guided walks, visits to the rhino sanctuary and fishing trips along the Tana and the Rojewero rivers. It is recommended that visitors combine a trip to Bisanadi with a safari to the world-renowned Meru region. If visiting Meru, a trip to Adamson’s Falls is a must. Cultural tours to discover the wonders to the local Meru tribes are encouraged.
There is no accommodation inside the reserve, but the adjacent Meru National Park boasts an array of accommodation options. These accommodation options are mainly classic tented camps. There are a few lodges in Meru that are located close to the border of the reserve, all of which have swimming pools and unsurpassed wilderness views.