Sheer, sharp cliffs, a dramatic crater and an ash cone, characterise Mt Meru, the fourth highest mountain in Africa, the second highest in Tanzania. Trekking Meru offers an unforgettable experience and a more technical challenge than its famous neighbour Mt Kilimanjaro. The trek offers dramatic scenes of the volcanic crater and ash cone; and an opportunity for excellent views of Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance. Large number of crowds on the track are less common.
As part of the Arusha National park eco-system, you will pass dense highland forest where black and white collobus monkey play and buffalo graze, before sand, volcanic ash and rocks lead the path to the top.
Normally ascents of Mt Meru are over four days. For the fit and adventurous, the ascent can be done in three days. Mount Meru is recommended for optimal acclimatizing before a Kilimanjaro expedition. Climbing Mt Meru in the rainy season in April and May is not advised.
The Recommended Route
Day 1 - Momella Gate (1,500m) - Miriakamba Hut (2,500m)
The trek begins at Momella Gate, within Arusha National Park, accompanied by an armed park ranger. Walking through the grasslands towards the acacia forest on the southern route, giraffes and buffaloes maybe spotted lazily grazing on the lush vegetation. After roughly 2 hours trekking lunch is had at Maio Falls. The trek continues through the “fig tree arch”, an unusual tree formation created by the wild fig Ficus Thonningii. Another two hours of trekking onto Miriakamba Hut where the first night is spent.
Day 2 Miriakamba Hut (2,500m) - Saddle Hut (3,550m)
Today the trek continues 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. The uphill trek goes to “Mgongo wa Tembo” (elephant back) at a height of 3,200 m after approximately 2 hours, before heading onward to Saddle Hut (3,550 m) where the night is spent. On the way the vegetation changes from rainforest to heather and moorland. After reaching Saddle Hut there is an option to hike to Little Meru (3,820 m), a 1 to 1½ hours hike for fantastic views over Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro about 80 km away. .
Day 3 Saddle Hut (3,550m) - Socialist Peak (4,562m) - Miriakamba Hut (2,500m)
The wake-up call will be just after midnight to prepare for the final ascent. The trek follows 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, trekking on frozen volcanic ash and rocks, before reaching the summit, Socialist Peak, will be reached in about 4 – 5 hours. There are breath-taking views of the sun rising above Mt Kilimanjaro and of Mt Meru’s crater with its steep sides and the “ash cone” in the middle. The descent is on the same route back to via Saddle Hut (3,550 m) then to Miriakamba Hut (2,500 m) for the overnight
Day 4 Miriakamba Hut (2,500m) - Momella Gate (1,500m)
The final descent is via northern route back to the Momella gate. On this 2 to 3 hour trek there is the chance to see giraffes, buffaloes, elephants as well as the black and white colobus monkeys.
#Note: The summit stage contains a few easy but unsecured climbing passages. A good head for heights and surefootedness are absolutely necessary. In adverse weather conditions (heavy rain, icy rocks or thick fog) the park ranger can call off the summit attempt.
The armed ranger is mandatory and provided by the National Park according to their regulations.
You will sleep in huts with 2 bunk beds and sanitary facilities are available at each ranger station.