Mt Meru, located within Arusha National Park (just 76km from Moshi) is a fantastic way to fulfil your mountaineering quota within Tanzania, without breaking the budget. Often overshadowed by its big sister Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru is still Tanzania’s second tallest mountain, reaching an altitude of 4566m. Meru itself is classified as an ‘active’ stratovolcano (don’t worry- there’s been no activity since 1910!) and makes for an incredible and challenging climb, as you ascend along the narrow ridge of the volcanic cone, with spectacular views down to the crater and smaller ash cone formed within.
From the summit of Mt Meru you can enjoy views across to Mt Kilimanjaro and the savannahs of Northern Tanzania. Along your way you will stay in well-maintained huts within the National Park with a nice comfortable bed to rest up on after a hard days trekking! We recommend taking 4 days to trek to the summit of Mt Meru however if you are pushed for time it can be achieved in just 3 (contact us if you wish to see this itinerary).
In the morning you will be picked up from your accommodation in Moshi and drive to the Arusha National park (approx. 1 hour). You will register at the Momela gate where we will pick up your armed ranger who will accompany you for the trek (along with your team from Materuni Tours). In contrast to Mt Kilimanjaro, there is only one way up and the same way down Mt Meru. The path from Mommela gate to the Miriakamba Hut is the only place where you will have the choice of two routes. We always recommend to start with the longer route (it’s less steep giving you more time to acclimatize- and let’s face it, you’re more likely to have more energy on the first day than the last!) so that you can then take the shorter route on your descent. Today’s hike is 13.6km with a 906m elevation again as you ascend from the forest to the crater floor up to Miriakamba Hut at an elevation of 2514m. You will have a lunch box en route and will enjoy a hot dinner freshly prepared by your mountain chef at the huts.
Today you will have a short hike of around 6km with an elevation gain of 1057m. This section of the hike is often a favourite for many as you climb up through grasslands (sometimes may be lucky enough to spot an elephant or a few zebras) to reach the Mgongo Wa Tembo (Elephant Ridge) where you will stop for lunch (with great views over the crater). From here the scenery changes into alpine dessert as you ascend up to the Saddle Huts. . Your hike today will only last about 3-4 hours. This will leave you ample time to enjoy the views and take some side trips to Little Meru (3820 m) for acclimatization. You will have dinner prepared and rest up in preparation for your climb to the summit.
You will be woken by your guide at midnight for some tea and snacks before your ascent. You will start climbing steeply leaving behind the larger bushy vegetation and coming out onto the rocky ridge to reach Rhino Point. From here the trail drops and then rises steeply where you go through patches of bare rock and scree to reach the summit (Socialist Peak) 4566m. From here you will enjoy the sunrise- illuminating the fantastic views over to Kilimanjaro, the crater and Arusha town before descending again. The distance of 5.5km from the huts to the summit takes on average 5-6 hours up and 2-3 hours to return. Upon reaching the Saddle Huts you will be rewarded with a well deserved hot lunch. Take your time to relax and rest up (2-3 hours) before descending back down to Miriakamba Huts for dinner and overnight.
** For those wishing to do just 3 days: following a short rest you will descend the whole way down to Mommela gate.
Today is just 7km (taking approximately 2-3 hours), taking the alternative shorter route back down to Momela gates (looking out for the wildlife of Arusha NP on the way). You will also pass the Tululusia waterfalls. At the gate you will collect your certificate before returning to your accommodation in Arusha/Moshi for a relaxing hot shower and overnight. Perhaps now is time for the discussion of when to summit Africa’s tallest peak- Mt Kilimanjaro!!