Mount Meru in Arusha National Park
Tanzania’s second highest mountain is much more than just a “warm up” trek for Kilimanjaro.
Mount Meru is an active (but dormant) volcano located north of Arusha in Tanzania.
At 4562 metres it is Tanzania’s second highest mountain and the fourth highest mountain in Africa.
Mt. Meru became well known mainly because it is only 70 km from Mount Kilimanjaro:
Mount Meru has become a popular “warm up” trek for Kilimanjaro climbers.
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.
Mount Meru Trekking :
Mount Meru is a serious 3-4 day trek and is often used as a practice run to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. A guide/ranger is mandatory on every trek because of the significant numbers of buffalo commonly encountered. There is one official route up to the summit and it is well marked and huts along the way offer simple, comfortable beds. Unofficial routes on the west and northern sides of the mountain are illegal. Acclimatization is important and while you won’t need oxygen, spending at least 4 days on this trek is highly recommended. The best time to trek is June – October and December – February.
Mount Meru Guides and Porters:
Guides are mandatory for every trek up Mount Meru, they are armed and are there for your safety to protect you from the abundant wildlife. Porters are not mandatory but make the trek more enjoyable. Porters will carry up to 15kg each. You can hire both porters and guides at the Momella gate but plan ahead at least a day. If you’re trekking with an operator (see below), these services are usually included in the price. Ask around for tipping guidelines as this is a significant part of the guides, porters and cooks salaries.
Mount Meru Accommodation:
On Mount Meru two huts provide accommodation, Saddle Hut (3570 m) and Miriakamba Hut (2514 m). It’s common to spend the first and third nights at Miriakamba and the second at Saddle hut. Huts fill up well in advance and it may be prudent to bring a tent to pitch if you’re planning to trek during the high season (December – February). Both huts offer wonderful views.
Both Moshi and Arusha are fine to base yourself from before a trek as well.
Getting to Mount Meru:
Mount Meru is located inside the Arusha National Park. Most visitors fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport and get transport directly to the park from there, it’s 60 km (35 miles) from the airport. Arusha is the capital of northern Tanzania and is just a 40 minute drive away from the national Park. Shuttle buses from Nairobi (Kenya) depart daily. From elsewhere in Tanzania, you can catch a long-distance bus to Arusha or an internal flight.