At a height of 4,562 m, Mount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and the fifth highest on the African Continent. Its distinct appearance was formed around 250 000 years ago by a tremendous volcanic eruption that destroyed the entire eastern flank, leaving a horseshoe-shaped crater. Not only does Mt Meru boast impressive views and diverse vegetation, it also gives you the chance to see some wildlife in the form of a walking safari. On your trek you might come across large game such as giraffes, buffaloes, baboons, elephants, antelopes and colobus monkeys. As the vegetation changes from dense mountain rainforest into heather and moorland and finally alpine desert, the frequency of animals you will see becomes scarcer, shifting your focus from animals to landscape. You will be accompanied by an armed park ranger on your tour. The mountain became well known mainly because it is only 70 km from Mount Kilimanjaro. Mt. Meru has become a popular “warm up” trek for Kilimanjaro climbers. It offers you a taste of what you can expect on Kili:
- You trek in a group with porters, cook and guides,
- You climb through different vegetation zones over several days,
- You start your summit attempt around midnight and reach the peak around sunrise,
- You then descend an awesome 2000 meters on the same day, very similar to your Kilimanjaro summit day.
Most importantly, at a height of 4562 metres (14967 feet) Mt. Meru requires your body to make changes to adapt to the altitude.
4 Day Mount Meru Itinerary
DAY 1: Arusha – Momella Gate (1,500 m) – Miriakamba Hut (2,500 m)
In the morning you will be met at your hotel and after a briefing about your upcoming trek start the scenic drive to Arusha National Park. Arriving at the gate, your guide will complete the registration forms and gather the hiking team before you will start your journey up Mount Meru accompanied by an armed park ranger. Walking through the grasslands towards the acacia forest on the southern route, you might spot giraffes and buffaloes lazily grazing on the lush vegetation. After roughly 2 hours you will reach the Maio Falls, where you can stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic lunch. Thereafter the journey continues through the “fig tree arch”, an unusual tree formation created by the wild fig Ficus Thonningii. Another two hours of hiking takes you to Miriakamba Hut where afternoon tea and snacks await you. The night will be spent at the MIRIAKAMBA HUT. Meal plan (Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 2: Miriakamba Hut (2,500 m) – Saddle Hut (3,550 m)
After breakfast you will continue on wooden steps along a steep track. The shift in altitude brings about a noticeable drop in temperature and walking may seem easier. The low hanging clouds often shrouds the rainforest in mist, creating a moody atmosphere in the lush vegetation. Your uphill trek will take you to “Mgongo wa Tembo” (elephant back) at a height of 3,200 m after approximately 2 hours, where you can take in the scenery and rest, before heading onward to Saddle Hut (3,550 m). On the way you will see the vegetation changing from rainforest to heather and moorland. After reaching Saddle Hut you can opt to hike to Little Meru (3,820 m), a 1 to 1½ hours hike from where you will have a fantastic view over Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro about 70 km away. A warm meal and an early night await you back at SADDLE HUT. You will be woken up just after midnight. Meal Plan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 3: Saddle Hut (3,550 m) – Socialist Peak (4,562 m) – Miriakamba Hut (2,500 m)
You will be awakened with a small snack and warm tea, after which you will start your final ascent. Headlamps light your way as you follow the trail through bush land to Rhino Point (3,821 m). The path becomes more challenging and occasionally climbing will be required. Following the crater rim, you will walk on frozen volcanic ash and rocks, before reaching the summit, Socialist Peak, in about 4 – 5 hours. Standing at the peak you will enjoy the breath-taking view of the sun rising above Mt Kilimanjaro as well as have a fantastic view of Mt Meru’s crater with its steep sides and the “ash cone” in the middle. After taking a few deep fresh breaths you will start your descent on the same route back to Saddle Hut (3,550 m) where you can recuperate with hot soup and tea. Once rested, you will continue the descent to MIRIAKAMBA HUT (2,500 m). Tired and happy you will have your evening meal and doze off with the views of the day filling your thoughts. Meal plan (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 4: Miriakamba Hut (2,500 m) – Momella Gate (1,500 m)
After breakfast you will start your final stretch on the so-called “northern route back to Momella gate. On this 2 to 3 hour trek you will once again have the chance to see giraffes, buffaloes elephants as well as the black and white colobus monkeys. Arriving at the gate you will say farewell to your hiking crew and be taken back to Arusha. Meal plan (Breakfast)