- Opportunity to spot buffalo, warthogs and colobus monkeys
- The views from the summit (Socialist Peak 4556m)
Tour description provided by Lasi Tour and Safaris
Mount Meru (4566m) is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and a much underrated mountain climb because of its close proximity to Kilimanjaro. It is a horseshoe-shaped volcanic crater with a spectacularly narrow ridge and superb all round views. The cliffs of the inner wall below the summit are over 1500m high, and inside the caldera is a subsidiary peak called the Ash Cone (3670m) that last erupted only 100 years ago. There is an immense variety of tree and plant life, adding considerably to the interest of the trek. Mount Meru is part of Arusha National Park, and the lower slopes of the mountain shelter a variety of wildlife. The routes below Miriakamba Hut are more like walking safaris than mountain climbs and our guide is an informed and armed park ranger (in case we get too close to some of the animals!). You are almost certain to see buffaloes, warthogs, monkeys, and a variety of birdlife. Giraffe and elephant are also quite common. The climb of Meru is very much justified on its own merits but is also a great way to get acclimatised for Kilimanjaro. The views from Meru to Kilimanjaro, and of the Meru crater itself, give plenty of inspiration for another mountain climb!
- 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners
- National park and hut fees
- Experienced mountain guides and porters
- All group camping equipment (sleeping bags are not provided)
- National park ranger escort (compulsory) for forest sections on days 1,2 & 4
Day 1 Join Arusha (5-6 hours walking)
We pick you up from Ilboru Lodge (Arusha) at 7.00am and transfer to our start at Momella Gate (1500m) in late morning. The track soon passes some open grassland, with a good chance of seeing buffaloes and warthogs, and then continues as a steady climb through montane forest. We have lunch at, or near, the Fig Tree Arch, which is big enough to drive a car through! After lunch, the route continues through less dense forest, where there are an abundance of birds and monkeys. The black and white colobus monkeys are particularly fascinating to watch. By mid-afternoon, there are the first closer views of the towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. We reach Miriakamba Hut (2514m), situated in an idyllic grassy glade, in time to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro.
Day 2 To Saddle Hut (3 to 6 hours walking)
The walk from Miriakamba Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a short but a steep and sustained climb all the way. We walk through attractive, open, and lush montane forest to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. This has excellent views of the summit ridge and across most of the crater floor. During a break, you might spot elephants or other animals from our vantage point. The path continues uphill through giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut (3570m), where lunch is waiting for us. The afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views. The more energetic can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3820m) for superb views just before sunset.
Day 3 To the Summit (Socialist Peak 4556m) (10 – 12 hours walking)
We begin with an early start at around 2.00am to climb steeply to Rhino Point (3800m), and then continue along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4350m) arriving at around sunrise. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the Crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds and west towards the Rift Valley if the weather is clear. The summit of Socialist Peak (4566m) is another hour on a superb but often steep path. On a clear day, the views are absolutely rewarding. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light situated on 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. We rest, and have brunch at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut (2514m). NB* The ridge between the summit and Rhino Point is not suitable for those suffering from vertigo. In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point. Sunrise from here is equally as spectacular as from Cobra Point.
Day 4 Return to Arusha (2-3 hours walking)
We take the direct route down towards Momella through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. We should reach Momella Gate by late morning. Transfer back to Ilboru Lodge (Arusha), where trip concludes.