Mount Meru is a dormant stratovolcano located 70 kilometers (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the south of the Arusha Region, Tanzania. At a height of 4,562.13 meters (14,968 ft), Mount Kilimanjaro is visible on a clear day and is the fifth highest peak of the highest mountain in Africa, by definition.
Visitors to Mount Meru are more likely to spot wildlife on the trail, especially on the first few days of the hike. Often the wanderers will accompany the trekking team on the first day of the journey to make it safely to the first campsite.
From there, the route wanders to the northern side of Meru’s molar crater, before reaching the actual summit itself. At the top, the views are outstanding, especially with Kilimanjaro gleaming tantalizingly in the distance.
Mount Meru Climb usually takes four days, but it is possible to complete the trek to the top in 3 days as even at this lower peak, acclimatization is key to success. All trekking groups take the same mountain route that starts from Porta Momella.
Hikers will stay in a series of huts on the way to the top, with basic but comfortable accommodations located in two different campsites, before going to the top, which is located in a place called Socialist Peak.
Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain on the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania and dominates the Arusha National Park with its huge cliffs. The mountain is often used as warm-up hiking in preparation for the Kilimanjaro.
However, the technical requirements are greater on Mount Meru than on the Kilimanjaro Routes. On the four-day trekking tour, you are more than likely to see giraffes, buffalos, antelopes and baboons; therefore, a park ranger will accompany you for your safety.
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.
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 80 km away. A warm meal and an early night awaits you back at Saddle Hut as your wake-up call will be just after midnight.
Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
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. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
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.
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. We do not advise to climb Mt Meru in the rainy season in April and May.