Activity Duration: 3-4 days
At 14,976 feet (4566 meters), Mount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and a much underrated mountain climb due to its close proximity to Kilimanjaro. It is a horse-shaped volcanic crater with a spectacularly narrow ridge and superb all round views. The cliffs of the inner wall below the summit are over 4,900 feet high, and inside the caldera is a subsidiary peak called the Ash Cone (12,180 ft) that erupted only 100 years ago.
A climb to the top takes you through some beautiful areas of grassland and the thick forest in the beginning, followed by an impressive and exciting walk along the narrow rim of the crater horseshoe. Although Meru seems small when compared to Kilimanjaro, the climb is just as serious. Altitude can still be a problem, so if you are not properly acclimatized, don’t rush up. The climb is steep but not very strenuous. It can be done comfortably in four days (three nights).
There is an immense variety of tree and plant life, adding considerably to the interest of the trek. Mount Meru is part of the Arusha National Park, and the lower slopes of the mountains shelter a variety of wildlife. The routes below Miriakamba Hut are more like walking safaris than mountain climbs and your guide is an informed and armed Park Ranger. You are almost certain to see buffalo, warthog, monkeys and a variety of bird species. Giraffes and elephants are also quite common.
Accommodation is in two well-maintained wooden huts that have spectacular views of Kilimanjaro rising above the clouds.
The climb of Mount Meru is very much justified on its own merits but is also a great way to get acclimatized for Kilimanjaro.
Eclipsed by the majestic ice-dome of its near neighbour Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru has never gained its rightful place as a major tourist attraction on the northern Tanzania circuit. But to anyone visiting Arusha, the jagged profile of this grand volcano, rising from its densely forested flanks, inevitably sends a fascinating and challenging call.
The climbing up Meru is nowhere difficult or technical, but the altitude may well affect some people. For the 3-4 days invested in the trek, Mt. Meru will yield a rich reward of scenery, wildlife, flowers & geology. She will also provide radical changes in environment that refresh the spirit, and physical challenge that renews the body. Highlights are little Meru, Uhuru peak & the ash cone.
Whether as a warm-up for the epochal climb up Kilimanjaro, as a weekend trip for the Arusha resident, or in combination with an extended visit to the varied & beautiful national park around Arusha, Mt. Meru will reward her visitors!