Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano located 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the nation of Tanzania. At a height of 4,565 metres (14,977 ft), it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the tenth highest mountain in Africa. Much of its bulk was lost about 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast, similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption in 1910. The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity probably reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity.
Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.
Day 1: Arusha to Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m)
Depart from your hotel in the morning for Momella Gate of Arusha National Park (1,500 m.). After park entrance formalities, we begin our hike, guided by a park ranger. The track passes open grassland, providing an opportunity to see buffalo, warthogs and other grazers. The trail continues as a steady climb through montane forest. We take lunch near a giant Fig Tree arch. After lunch, the route continues through less dense forest, where there are an abundance of birds and black and white colobus monkeys.
By mid-afternoon, we can see towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. We reach Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m.), 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. (4-6 hours walking).
Overnight at Miriakamba Hut.
Day 2: Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m) to Saddle Hut (3,570 m)
The walk from Miriakamba Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a short day but a steep climb. We slowly ascend through lush montane forest to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. From here we enjoy excellent views of the summit ridge and across the crater floor. The path continues through giant heather and other fascinating moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut (3,570 m), where lunch is will be provided. The afternoon is free to relax and to enjoy the views. The more energetic can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3,820 m) for superb views just before sunset. (3-5 hours walking).
Overnight at Saddle Hut. All meals included.
Day 3: Saddle Hut (3,570 m) to Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m)
We start early at around 2 a.m. to climb steeply to Rhino Point (3,800 m.), continuing along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 m) at 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 (4,566 m.) is an hour further on a good but steep path. The route back to Rhino Point in the morning light, 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 enjoy a rest and brunch at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m, 10-12 hours walking).
Overnight at Miriakamba Hut. All meals included.
Day 4: Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m) – hotel in Arusha
We take the direct route down 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 (2-3 hours walking). Once you reach the end of the climb you will be transferred to your hotel.
Overnight at an Arusha hotel. All meals included.