At 4,565m (15,064ft) Mount Meru towers nearby Arusha town in Tanzania and is topped in Africa only by Mounts Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Ruwenzori all in East Africa.
It is located 70Km west of Mount Kilimanjaro, sometimes treated as an acclimatization before an attempt on Kilimanjaro and although the summit is over a kilometer lower, the climb can be just as rewarding with spectacular scenery.
The moods of Mount Meru varies wildly, in the winter months snow briefly dusts the summit while for the reminder of the year it is sunbathed. The Crater wall of the Mountain was ruptured by a series of explosions 250,000 years ago. The eastern wall of the crater was blown away sending lava, mud, rocks and water cascading across the sanya plains almost as far as Moshi in the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
The Mountain`s vegetational zones are similar to Kilimanjaro`s though the high altitude glaciers and ice fields are absent. Evergreen forest begins at around 1800m which is moist, cool and thick at first, then thins as you rise.The higher forest, including giant bamboo thickets (up to 12m tall), offers an ideal habitat for small duiker antelopes and primates, notably blue monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys which are often seen by climbers.The forest disappears at around 2900m, giving way to floral meadows where you might spot buffalo, giraffe or warthog.The meadows are followed by a zone of giant lobelia and groundsel and finally above the last of the trees at 3400m bleak alpine desert where the only sounds, apart from your breathing, are the wind and cries of the white necked ravens.
||From – To||Distance||Elevation||Hiking time||Habitat|
|1||Momella Gate – Miriakamba Hut||1,500 m – 2,514 m||5-6 hrs||Montane Forest|
|2||Mirikamba Hut – Saddle Hut||2,514 m – 3,570 m||4-5 hr||Montane | Heather|
|3||Saddle Hut – Big Meru – Miriakamba Hut||3,570 m – 4,566 m – 2,514 m||5-6 hrs Ascent
5 hrs Descent
|Moorland | Alpine Desert|
|4||Miriakamba Hut – Momella Gate||2,514 m – 1,500 m||2-3 hrs||Montane Forest|
Pick up, depart at 8.30am for Arusha National Park. Start from Momella Gate (1500 m) in the morning with packed lunch, the track soon passes some open grassland, and have some game viewing, you can see Buffalo, Warthog, Zebra, etc. and then continue as a steady climb through montane forest. You can have your lunch at the famous fig tree. After lunch the trek continues through the dense forest where there are lots of birds and monkeys including the white and black colobus, stop by the Njeku, Kitoto view points and Mayo falls en route. By mid-afternoon there are the first closer views of the towering cliffs and Ash cone. Miriakamba hut (2,514 m) situated in idyllic grassy glade, is reached in time to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro. It takes 5-6 hours walking ascent is 1,014 m.
Depart at 8.00am after breakfast for Saddle Hut, the walk from Miriakamba hut to the saddle below the little Meru is a short day but steep sustained climbing all the way. Starting through the attractive, open and lush montane forest, the path continues beyond the halfway point of Elephant ridge and carries on uphill through the giant heather and moorland vegetation to reach Saddle hut (3,570m) in time for hot lunch. The afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views, the ridge is now very obvious and it can be seen curving away up to the summit, although it is still a long way.
For the energetic ones they can make a short climb to the nearby little Meru (3,820m) for superb views, down into the crater, with the ash cone rising in the center, the path is little exposed as it transverses the rocky ridge, with fine views across into the Kenya, Maasai hills, Ngorongoro highlands, Ol Doinyo Lengai and Mount Kilimanjaro it takes 1.5hrs up and back to Saddle hut, the ascent is 1,056 m.
An early start at around 01:00 hours to climb steeply to Rhino point (3,800 m) the path continue along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra point (4,350 m).The summit of socialist peak (4,566 m) is an hour more on a superb but steep path, the views at the summit are stunning at sunrise, the Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, the rift valley if the weather is clear, Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Maasai land and Arusha town. It takes 5-6 hours.
The route back to Saddle hut in the sharp morning light along a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. It takes 3 hours to Saddle hut.
Take a little rest and have your lunch before descending further to Miriakamba hut for overnight. It takes 2 hours.
After breakfast depart Miriakamba at 8.00am, fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest with good chances of seeing wildlife (Northern route).The trail has excellent views of Ngurudoto crater and over the plains of the National Park, visit an impressive waterfall hidden in a ravine not far from the road (Tululusia Falls).
Momella gate is reached by the late morning it takes about 2-3 hours. Descent 1,014 m.
Your car will be waiting for you at the gate to transfer you to Arusha/ Moshi.
|NO. of PAX in one group||6PAX||5PAX||4PAX||3PAX||2PAX||1PAX|
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