Mt. Meru Trekking
At 4,565 m/14,977 ft, Mount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and the fifth highest in Africa. Meru is the only great isolated stratovolcano in East Africa that is still active. A massive eruption 7,800 years ago shattered Meru upper slopes and formed an oblong 8 km/5 mi wide caldera that is open to the east. The main summit is on the caldera western edge, perched above a dramatic and still active Ash Cone inside the caldera. Meru is just below the permanent snowline, so there are no glaciers orsnowfields on its slopes. It is best to allow 4 days for climbing Meru, since it involves a large elevation gain, but you can do the trek in 3 or 5 days. There are huts available to climbers on the mountain and firewood is supplied. Your ascent involves hiking through grassland and forest on the mountain lower slopes where you can see animals grazing. Higher, you hike and scramble along the breathtaking crater rim to the summit. Aside from being a rewarding and picturesque trek in its own right, Meru is also great acclimatization for a Kilimanjaro climb. You need advance permission from the park warden at Momella Gate before you start your ascent. The best time to climb Meru is between October and February. But also June to September, while it is colder then.
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the Airport and transferred to the hotel in Arusha for your overnight and briefing by our mountain guide
Day 1: Arusha to Momalla Gate
Elevation (m): (1,387 m to (1,500 m)
Elevation(ft): 4,921 ft) to 3,000 ft )
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest.
Transfer from Arusha town to Arusha National Park; check in with park personnel and in the late morning, and walk under the Momella Gate to begin your trek. You soon pass some open grassland where you can view buffalo, warthogs, and elephants. Then, you continue a steady climb through montane forest. You can pause for your lunch at the famous Fig Tree. After lunch you, continue through less dense forest, where you can see birds and monkeys, including the black and white Colobus. By midafternoon, you have closer views of Meru towering cliffs and Ash Cone. The Miriakamba Huts are situated in anidyllic grassy glade, and you will reach it in time to enjoy the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains between Meru and Kilimanjaro. If you are lucky, a giraffe may walk through camp.
Day 2: Miriakamba Huts to Saddle Huts
Elevation (m): 2,514 m to 3,570 m
Elevation (ft): 8,250 ft to 11,712 ft
Distance: 8 km
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Habitat: Forest and Moorland.
It is often clear in the morning, so if you want a view of Kilimanjaro, get up early. From the Miriakamba Huts, you climb steeply to the crater rim, which is called Elephant Ridge at this point. Then, you follow a steep path through attractive open lush Montane Forest to reach the giant heather in the Moorland near the saddle between Little Meru and Meru. A hot lunch will be ready for you when you arrive at the Saddle Huts. Your afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views, but energetic trekkers can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3,820 m/12,533 ft) or superb views just before sunset.
Day 3: Summit Day! Saddle Huts to Mount Meru Summit to Miriakamba Huts
Elevation (m): 3,570 m to 4,565m to 2,514m
Elevation (ft): 14,977ft to 11,712 ft to 8,250ft
Distance: 5 km up 13 km down
Hiking Time: 10 – 12 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert Moorland and Montane forest.
Start early at 2 AM and climb steeply for an hour to Phino Point (3,800m/ 12,467ft). In icy conditions or in strong winds it may be unreasonable to progress beyond Rhino Point but sunrise from hereis equally as spectacular as from Cobra Point. If the weather is fine, descend slightly and continue along or near a rough undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 m/14,271 ft) near sunrise. The stunning views include the cliffs of the crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley. Hike for another hour on a superb but often steep path into the unfolding day to reach the summit of Meru. The view from the top of this steep-sided peak can make you feel quite unique and suspended. Your hike back to Rhino Point in the still sharp morning light between the crater sloping outer wall and sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Enjoy brunch and a well-earned rest at the Saddle Huts before continuing your descent to the Miriakamba Huts where you will spend the night if you are on the 4-day itinerary. If you are on a 3-day itinerary, you will descend all the way to Momella Gate on Day 3.
Day 4: Miriakamba Huts to Momella Gate to Arusha
Elevation (m): 2,514 m to 1,500 m to 1,387 m
Elevation (ft.): 4,921 ft to 8,250 ft to 4,921ft
Distance: 10 km
Hiking time: 2-4 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Taking a slightly different route, make a fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back toward the crater and over the plains of the national park. You will reach Momella Gate by late morning. Remember to tip your guides and porters, since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to the Hotel in arusha where it is definitely time for celebration
End of Climb