Mount Meru is in Tanzania. Just to be clear. Google will tell you of a Mt Meru in India. Kenyans will swear Meru is a town in their country. So, as you’ve probably already guessed, Mt Meru is actually in Arusha, a town in the northern part of Tanzania, your gateway to Tanzania’s most famous tourist attractions.
This mountain doesn’t hide. With its imposing look, it stares down at the town and it is pretty much the first thing you’ll notice when you enter into Arusha. Most of the times it drapes itself with a blanket of cloud cover but if you are lucky to see it on its naked and coldest days, you’ll be treated to a show of snow at the peak which you will watch as it dissipates by midday; all from your Arusha abode. It’s surreal. That’s why the waArusha people worship Mt Meru and believe that’s where their god resides. They sacrifice a bull or sheep every year to the mountain in hope for a rainy season. Also, waArusha is just another way to call the Maasai people a resident near Arusha. Okay, house cleaning done.
Mt. Meru at 4,566 m (14,990 feet) is Tanzania’s third highest peak after Uhuru and Mawenzi on Kilimanjaro and the fifth highest mountain in Africa (dependant on definition). It has two peaks: Meru Summit, the highest point, and Ash Cone, an additional peak inside the crater, which was formed after a more recent volcanic activity. Recent with these activities is about 110 years ago. In 1910, to be precise.
It was formed after the development of Great Rift Valley; about 250,000 years ago following a gigantic volcanic explosion that swept away the entire eastern flank of Mountain. This explosion gave Mount Meru its distinctive shape of a horseshoe.
The ascent to Mt. Meru offers an array of vegetation. The forest in the lower parts gives way to a dense mountain forest, bush, and moorland before waning off into an impressive alpine desert.
The 4 day Mt Meru hike will commence with a 10 km trek from Momela, the starting point, terminating at Miriakamba hut at 2,500m after an ascent of about 1,014m. This longer option gives views of Miao waterfalls and picturesque meadows which will enchantingly whisper to you like a lady at the end of a dimly lit street for a much-needed picnic. The tale of the “arched fig tree” during this climb might perhaps quiet the weary legs.
Day 2 will be relatively shorter, but steeper, to Saddle hut at 3,550m asl. The increase in altitude will come with gains of cooler temperature and what might seem like an easier climb. The day’s walk will also see us passing ‘Mgongo wa Tembo’ viewpoint (elephant’s back) at an altitude of 3,200m. If strength still allows, one can take a trip to little Meru (3,820m) which is an hour and a half away and offers the splendid view of Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro.
The third day is an epic 22km trek to the summit and all the way back to Miriakamba camp. Starting at 1:30am under the light of torches, feet will tread on a path, some questioning their why(s) for climbing at the same time willing themselves to plunge forward past the rhinoceros point (3,821m), through a ridge whose top is formed by lava and rock ash. Five to six hours later we will start to catch glimpses of the top with the flag of Tanzania waving encouragingly at us. Bathed in the sunrise at the top, Kilimanjaro will salute us at a distance, in unison with fantastic views of the crater of Mount Meru with its steep sides and the Ash cone in the middle, to congratulate us on this feat. Be ready to be wowed, take in the sights and deep breath before the long descent. A well-deserved breakfast awaits at the saddle camp before the final onslaught to Miriakamba camp. After an overnight stay at Miriakamba the team will head out of the Park.
At the bottom you will thank your tendons for keeping to the script of being sure-footed, rethink your achievement and say your goodbyes to the faithful teams on the mountain.
Meru is not just a walking adventure but is a mini- safari as well. Worth mentioning is that Mt Meru is actually within Arusha national park, so not only do we hike for days, but get to see zebra, giraffe, white colobus monkeys, buffaloes, elephants, baboons and flamingos around the Momella lakes. Keep close to the ranger because you never know when a wild one will chase you off scampering for safety. Mt Kilimanjaro also keeps whispering good cheer as it’s seen throughout the hike (weather permitting). What is not to like about this Mountain, this September 2020.
The estimated cost for this hike is USD 380 for East Africans and USD 850 for non- East Africans. Costs include two nights’ accommodation in Arusha and all costs on the Mountain. They exclude transport to and fro- Arusha and any other costs off the mountain. The itinerary, costs and trail are for forward planning purposes and as such are not binding to the club. They can be changed up to one month before the hike.