Mount Meru is the best for acclimatization prior to Mount Kilimanjaro climbing; The Mountain is the third highest peak in Africa and is the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4,568m.
The mountain is located within Arusha National Park, Tanzania’s gem. This prime location gives trekkers the chance to spot some of wildlife that inhabits the area.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Even with its incredible views, scenery and wildlife, Meru is often overlooked due to its location. 70km away stands Meru’s big brother – Kilimanjaro. This means that most international visitors will either visit Meru as a secondary destination or warmup whilst some visitors will ignore it altogether. Although to climb Mount Meru as a warmup for Kilimanjaro is by no means a bad idea, Meru is a stunning trek by itself!
Lying within Arusha National Park, the lower reaches of Mount Meru are amazingly rich in wildlife. You are almost certain to see monkeys, warthogs, buffaloes and a wide array of birds and, if you’re lucky, elephants and giraffes! The crater rim walk is a spectacular hike and the 360 degree views from the summit of Meru are not to be missed, especially as you can see Kilimanjaro!
Another bonus of climbing Mount Meru is the lack of crowds that can sometimes plague Kilimanjaro. As its little known brother, Meru is a fantastic way to avoid this and get stuck into a peaceful trek.
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 and whilst he does so, 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 while you start your hike and get a 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 picturesque meadows that are a perfect place for a picnic. After a rest, you will again be on your way and soon reach the well-known ‘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
In the morning, you will leave the Miriakamba Hut behind and follow a steep track with wooden steps upwards. Due to the gain in height, it will be noticeably cooler than the previous day and due to this, the hike will seem to get easier. The clouds also often hang in the rainforest and dip the lush vegetation in a moody atmosphere. 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 have wonderful views of Arusha National Park and of the 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
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 alternating between lava ash and rock. After approx. 4 – 5 hours, you will have the summit and the Tanzanian flag in your sights. 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. The descent follows 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
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 but there is still the chance to see elephants, buffalos, giraffes as well as the black and white columbus monkeys. At the gate, you will say farewell to your hiking crew and your driver will take you back to Arusha. Breakfast