Mount Meru in Arusha National Park
With its 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 explosion wiped out the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the quaint and distinctive look it has today. Last eruption: 1910. The ascent of Mount Meru passes through several areas of vegetation: the forest at the bottom gives way to a dense mountain rainforest which eventually turns into a bush.
Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation is formed by moorland which is replaced by the wonderful alpine deserts.
As the flora changes, the fauna does the same: during the ascent, you will meet large mammals such as elephants and buffaloes, but you may also encounter leopards.
For this reason, it is mandatory to be accompanied by an armed park ranger during the tour.
Day 1 Arusha – Momella Gate (1,500m) – Miriakamba Hut (2,500m)
In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and after a 45-minute drive, you will arrive at the Arusha National Park Gate.
At the entrance gate, the guide will complete the mandatory registration forms (you can consult the information sheets of the national park). Once the formalities have been completed and the hiking team (also made up of porters from the surrounding villages) formed, the ascent will begin.
An armed park ranger will accompany you as you begin your hike and you will have the opportunity to get a first look at the wonderful giraffes and buffaloes. Once you leave these herds behind, you will enter the acacia forest following the Southern Route.
After a steady 2-hour climb, you will reach Maio Falls and some picturesque meadows which are the perfect place for a picnic.
After a period of rest, you will be back on the road and soon you will reach the famous “Arched Fig Tree”. Here the park ranger will tell you about the formation of this tree and how it got its arch shape on the trail.
After another 2 hours or so, you will arrive at the Miriakamba refuge. Dinner, overnight at the Miriakamba refuge, and breakfast before leaving.
Day 2 Miriakamba Hut (2,500m) – Saddle Hut (3,550m)
In the morning, you will leave the Miriakamba refuge and follow a steep path with wooden steps to the top.
Due to the increase in altitude, it will be noticeably cooler than the previous day so the hike will appear to be easier.
Clouds are also often found in the rainforest and immerse the lush vegetation in a particular atmosphere.
After approximately 2 hours, you will reach the ‘Mgongo wa Tembo’ (elephant’s back) viewpoint at an altitude of 3,200m, where you can enjoy a well-deserved break.
After another long hike where you will see the vegetation transform from the rainforest into an airy wooded terrain, you will reach the Saddle Hut (3,550m) around noon and there you can relax and have lunch.
During the afternoon, you have the opportunity to take a trip to Little Meru (3,820m), which lasts about an hour and a half and from where you can enjoy great views of Arusha National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro (about 80km away).
Back at the refuge, a hot dinner awaits you before starting the last speech in view of the next day’s ascent to the summit.
Dinner, overnight at the Miriakamba refuge, and breakfast before leaving.
Day 3 Saddle Hut – Socialist Peak (4.562m) – Miriakamba Hut (2.500m)
The alarm will be at night, breakfast with tea and biscuits, you will leave for the top at 02:00.
By torchlight, you will follow the trail through the bush to the so-called Rhino Point (3,821m) where the trail turns into a slightly more challenging trek with occasional lighter climbs.
You will follow the north ridge to the top where you will walk on a terrain formed by lava ash and rock. After about 4/5 hours, you will begin to see the top and the flag of Tanzania.
From the top, you can enjoy the sun rising over Kilimanjaro and the fantastic view of the crater of Mount Meru with its steep sides and the “Cone of Ash” in the middle.
The descent follows the same path to the Saddle refuge (3,550m) where you take a long, well-deserved break and recover with a hot soup and tea. Once refreshed, you will continue with the descent. In the early afternoon, you will arrive at the Miriakamba refuge (2,500m), tired but happy.
Here, you can relax and think back to the last feat you completed.
Dinner, overnight at the Miriakamba refuge (2,500 m), and breakfast.
Day 4 Miriakamba Hut (2,500m) – Momella Gate (1,500m)
After breakfast, you will follow a 2/3 hour trek on the so-called “Northern Route” to Momella Gate.
The descent is shorter than the ascent, but there is still a chance to see elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and colobus monkeys.
At the gate, you will greet your hiking team and your driver will take you back to Arusha.
The ascent to the summit contains some simple, but unsafe climbing steps. A good height habit and firm feet are absolutely necessary.
In adverse weather conditions (heavy rain, icy rocks, and trails, or thick fog) the park ranger can postpone the climb to the summit.
We do not recommend climbing in the rainy season (April and May).