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Mount Meru is an active (but dormant) volcano located north of Arusha in Tanzania. At 4562 meters it is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain and the fourth-highest mountain in Africa
At 4566m, Mount Meru is the fifth-highest mountain on the African continent and the second-highest in Tanzania. About 250 000 years ago, a massive volcanic blast blew away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the characteristic and distinctive appearance it has today. Last eruption: 1910
Mount Meru’s brief history and hints
At 4566m, Mount Meru is the fifth-highest mountain on the African continent and the second-highest in Tanzania. About 250 000 years ago, a massive volcanic blast blew away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the characteristic and distinctive appearance it has today. The Mt Meru ascent passes through many different vegetation zones. The dry forest of the lower region gives way to a dense mountain rainforest, which then turns into scrubland. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation consists of heath and moorland and is finally replaced by the stunning Baron alpine deserts. As the flora changes the wildlife does so too, which is diverse and equally impressive. During the ascent, you will regularly come across large game such as elephants and buffalos but you may also come across leopards. Due to this, it is obligatory to be accompanied by an armed park ranger on your tour.
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