Mt Meru, situated in Arusha National Park (just 76 kilometers from Moshi), is an excellent way to meet your Tanzanian mountaineering quota without breaking the bank. Mt Meru, Tanzania’s second tallest peak, is mostly overshadowed by its bigger sibling, Mt Kilimanjaro, but it nevertheless stands at 4566m. Meru is rated as a ‘active’ stratovolcano (don’t worry, there hasn’t been much activity since 1910!) and offers a stunning and daunting climb as you ascend along the volcanic cone’s narrow ridge, with spectacular views down to the crater and smaller ash cone developed inside.
Views of Mt Kilimanjaro and the savannahs of Northern Tanzania can be had from the top of Mt Meru. You’ll be staying in well-kept huts inside the National Park along the way, each with a cool, comfortable bed to relax in after a long day of hiking! The trek to the summit of Mt Meru is recommended to take four days, but if you are short of time, it can be completed in three days.
Day 1: Arusha (1400m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m)
After an early morning breakfast in Arusha, you will be picked up from your hotel and drive to the Momella Gate in Arusha National Park. At this time, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register. You will then begin your ascent in Arusha National Park. The first day of hiking is similar to a walking safari, you should expect to see giraffes, zebras, antelope, buffalo, and potentially elephants near the trail. Since there is a high possibility of spotting wildlife, an armed ranger, hired through the National Park, is required to hike with our team for the duration of the hike. As you continue hiking, you will pass the Ngarenanyuki River and a beautiful waterfall at the base of Mt. Meru. Enjoy the beautiful sunset and overnight.
Day 2: Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Saddle Hut (3500m)
After breakfast, you will start ascending up the steep trail along the ridge of the saddle. You may see various wildlife along the way. The trail has views of Mt. Meru Crater and the Ashtray. When you arrive at camp, you have the option of hiking Little Mt. Meru (3820m) with your guide for acclimatization. You will be served an early dinner, so you can receive ample rest before your midnight summit attempt.
Day 3: Summit (4566m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m)
Your guide will wake you at 00:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt at 1:30am. The trail starts off on a steep grade to Rhino Point (3800m) to Cobra Point (4350m). The last hour of the hike you will scramble on a rocky ridge between the crater and inner cliffs of Meru. You will reach the summit of Meru (4565m) at sunrise with spectacular views of Mt. Meru Ashtray. Enjoy your views then descend to Saddle Hut for a short break. You will then continue descending to Miriakamba Hut (2500m) for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Arusha (1400m)
After a long rest and breakfast, we will begin our final descent to Momella gate. We will hike through forest and meadows where it is likely to spot wildlife. At the base of Mt. Meru, you will be greeted by our driver who will take you back to Arusha.