The Ameru claim a place called Mbwa, which is somewhere at the coast (probably Manda island) as their area of origin. However, historians believe that this tradition of Mbwa fits very well with Bantu dispersal from Shungwaya.
By late 15th century, ancestors of the Ameru had begun arriving in Meru. Ameru migration from the coast was mainly due to Oromo pressure.
From Shungwaya, the Ameru moved westwards along the river Tana and pushed into Igembe and Tigania regions. Around 1400AD, the Ameru and other Mount Kenya groups were living as hunters and pastoralists.
They moved farther into the interior, crossing river Tana. Some, especially the Tharaka, finally settled to the east of River Tana as others such as the Chuka, Muimbi, Imenti, Tigania and Igembe settled in the area west of the River Tana.
The Ameru and Agikuyu are believed to have initially migrated as one group until the 15th and 16th centuries, when the Agikuyu took their separate direction. The traditions of the two groups and those of the Aembu and Mbeere seem to confirm this view.
Aembu and mbeere ancestors are believed to have initially migrated with those of the Ameru and Agikuyu from the Kilimanjaro area before going their separate way.
By 1500, the Mbeere had settled in their present homeland. However, the Aembu crossed River Thuci and moved north-westwards to the area east of mount Kenya, where they settled and interacted with the Athi and Gumba, who they later assimilated and from who they learnt the art of bee keeping, ironworking and circumcision.