Standing at 4566 meters high, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain in Africa and the second highest in Tanzania.
The History About 250,000 years ago, a massive volcanic blast blew away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the characteristic and distinctive appearance it has today. The last recorded eruption was in 1910.
The Climb – Mount Meru’s ascent passes through many different vegetation zones. The dry forest of the lower region gives way to a dense mountain rainforest, which then turns into a scrubland. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation consists of heath and moorland and is then finally replaced by the stunning barren alpine deserts.
As the flora shifts, the wildlife goes through its own changes, which is diverse and equally impressive. During the ascent, you will regularly catch sight of large game such as elephants and buffalo, but you may also come across leopards. Due to this, it is obligatory to be accompanied by an armed park ranger throughout your trek.
What to Expect
Mount Meru is a rough, but beautiful climb that any adventurous trekker would enjoy.
Day 1 Arusha – Momella Gate (1500m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m)
In the morning, you will be collected from your hotel and after a 45-minute drive, you will arrive at the Arusha National Park Gate. At the national park gate, your guide will complete the obligatory entry forms. During that time, you can peruse the information boards of the national park. Once the formalities have been completed and the hiking team consisting of porters from the surrounding villages is formed, you will then be driven a little further to Momella Gate.
An armed park ranger will accompany you as you start your hike and catch your first glimpse of the wonderful giraffes and buffalos. Once you have left the buffalo herds and giraffes behind, you will enter the acacia forest in which you will follow the Southern Route. After a steady 2-hour climb, you will reach Maio Falls and some beautiful meadows that offer the idyllic location for a picnic.
After a rest, you will again be on your way and soon reach the infamous ‘Arched Fig Tree’. Here your park ranger will tell you about the formation of this tree and how it gained its shape, forming an arch over the path. After another 1½ – 2 hours, you will reach the Miriakamba Hut.
Evening meal and overnight stay at the Miriakamba Hut. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Day 2 Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Saddle Hut (3550m)
In the morning, you will take off from the Miriakamba Hut and follow a steep track with wooden steps upward. Due to the gain in height, it will be noticeably cooler than the previous day. Due to this, the hike will seem to get easier. The clouds also often hang in the rainforest and cause a distinctly moody atmosphere to drop over the lush vegation.
After approximately 2 hours, you will reach the vantage point ‘Mgongo wa Tembo’ (Elephant back) at an elevation of 3200m, where you will enjoy a well-earned break.
After another hike in which the vegetation changes from rainforest into an airy bush land, you will reach Saddle Hut (3550m) at midday for a relaxing lunch break. During the afternoon, you have the option of a side trip to Little Meru (3820m) which takes approx. 1 – 1 ½ hours and from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro (approx. 80 km away).
Back at the hut, a warm dinner is waiting for you before you will have the final preliminary talk in preparation for the following day’s climb to the summit. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Day 3 Saddle Hut – Socialist Peak (4562m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m)
After an early start with tea and biscuits, you will leave for the summit at 02:00 hrs. By torchlight, you will follow the trail through bush land to the so-called Rhino Point (3821m) in which the path turns into a little more challenging trek with occasional light climbs.
You will follow the north ridge to the summit on which you walk on ground that is a mix of lava ash and rock. After approximately 4 – 5 hours, you will catch sight of the summit and the Tanzanian flag. From the summit, you will be able to enjoy the sun rising above Kilimanjaro and the fantastic view of Mount Meru’s crater with its steep sides and the “Ash Cone” in the middle.
As you descend, you will follow the same route back to Saddle Hut (3550m) where you will take a well-deserved long break and recuperate with hot soup and tea. Once refreshed, you will continue with the descent.
During the early afternoon, you will reach Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – tired but happy. At this hut, you can relax and think about the last stage that you have completed.
Evening meal and overnight stay at Miriakamba Hut (2500m). Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Day 4 Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Momella Gate (1500m)
After breakfast, you will follow a 2 – 3 hour trek over the so-called ‘Northern Route’ back to Momella Gate. The descent is shorter than the ascent. There will be another opportunity to catch glimpses of elephants, buffalo, giraffes, as well as black and white colobus monkeys.
At the gate, you will say farewell to your hiking crew and your driver will take you back to Arusha. Breakfast
The summit stage contains a few simple but unsecured climbing passages. A good head for heights and sure footedness are absolutely necessary. In adverse weather conditions (heavy rain, icy rocks and paths of thick fog) the park ranger can call off the climb to the summit. We do not advise climbs in the rain season (April and May)
Source: Tanzania Tourist Board