Mt Meru is a steep free-standing mountain and a dormant volcano. Mt Meru's highest peak, Socialist Peak, reaches 4,556 meters above sea level, which is more than 1,300 meters lower than nearby Kilimanjaro. Many people therefore make the mistake of assuming that Meru is a much easier mountain to climb. But keep in mind that Meru is very steep, much steeper than Kilimanjaro, and to reach the top you need to ascend more than 3,000 meters in less than 60 hours. So, if you are going to climb Mt Meru, come well prepared because it is a tough challenge.
Highlights of Mount Meru
Mount Meru is steep and the scenery is dramatic and ever changing. Dense forest all of a sudden give way to moorlands that turns into alpine desert. The steep slopes on the ascent to socialist peak is not for those with a fear of heights.
Sunrise over Kilimanjaro
From high up on Mount Meru you will look out to the east and see the first rays of the rising sun illuminating the white peak of Kilimanjaro. This is struly majestic and never is Kilimanjaro more beautiful than from Mount Meru
Elephants, buffaloes and giraffes
Mount Meru is inside Arusha National Park and the trail to the top follows animal trails. Along the way, as high up as 3500 meters above sea level, you may see elephants, buffaloes and giraffes.
The final stretch from Saddle Hut to Socialist Peak is steep and tough and you start in the middle of the night. The final few hundred meters to the top are incredibly steep but then you are there, on the second highest peak in Tanzania, looking out over Kilimanjaro.
Climb Mount Meru
There is only one route to the top of Mt Meru: Momela Route. This route is climbed in three or four days, the only difference is how long you take on the way down. The hike begins at Ngongongare Gate, 1,500 meters above sea level, and the first day goes either via a short (5 km) but very steep path or a more flat road (13 km) up to the first cottage; Miriakamba Hut (2,500 meters above sea level). The steep road is a bit less busy, especially during the hottest season because there is more shade on the flatter road, but also in our opinion more beautiful. The flatter route up to Miriakamba is a gravel road which can be a little less exciting than walking on the animal trail through rainforest and open meadows.
From Miriakamba, the hike continues up a steep path to Saddle Hut (3,500 meters above sea level) which lies between Little Meru Peak and Socialist Peak. Weather permitting, it is good to climb Little Meru (3,801 meters above sea level) and then return to Saddle Hut. This is a good way to acclimatize.
The road to the top begins in the middle of the night and first goes steeply uphill to Rhino Point (3,800 meters above sea level). Then it goes both up and down for a while before the last bit goes up along the edge of the mountain. In part, it is very steep the last day both uphill and on the side of the path. The summit of Mt Meru is perhaps the most spectacular trekking you can do in East Africa. But it is not for those who suffer from fear of heights. The summit climb takes 5–6 hours and then it takes 3–4 hours to get down to Saddle Hut again. At Saddle Hut you have lunch and rest before walking further down to Miriakamba where you have dinner and sleep if you do not go all the way to the gate in one sweep.