Mount Meru Safari
Mount Meru is one of the major attractions of Arusha National Park. The full ascent requires at least 3 days. The route takes climbers through a series of natural environments with a variety of flora and fauna and interesting mixture of nature and culture.
It is recommended that you allow four days for the full ascent in order to obtain acclimatization and avoid altitude sickness as well as to enjoy the sunrise on both the summit and Rhino Point.
Mount Meru – the fifth highest in Africa at 4,566 metres (14,990 feet) – that dominates the parks horizon. Its peaks and eastern foot slopes protected within the national park, Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbour, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Passing first through wooded savannah where buffalos and giraffes are frequently encountered, the ascent of Meru leads into forests aflame with red-hot pokers and dripping with Spanish moss, before reaching high open heath spiked with giant lobelias. Everlasting flowers cling to the alpine desert, as delicately hoofed klipspringers mark the hikes progress. Astride the craggy summit, Kilimanjaro
stands unveiled, blushing in the sunrise.
If sunrise is your thing, you have two options:
You can trek up to the summit in time to watch the sun rising from behind Kilimanjaro or
You can leave Saddle Hut later in the morning and head to Rhino Point, about an hour away. Sunrise here is as impressive and perhaps even more so because you also see the main cliffs of the inner wall of the crater being illuminated by the rising sun. You can always add an extra day to the itinerary in order to appreciate both.
From the summit we return to Saddle Hut for breakfast and then proceed to Miriakamba Hut and eventually down to Momella gate, in the late afternoon, where you will be awaited by our transport.
Detailed Itinerary: Mt. Meru 4 Days
We start from Momella Gate (1,500m.) 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 mountain forest. We take lunch there, or near, the Fig Tree Arch, which is big enough to drive a car birds and monkey. The black and white coleus monkeys are particularly fascinating to watch. By mid-afternoon, there are the first closer views of the towering cliffs and 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 (5-6 hours walking).
The walk from Miriakamba Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a short
day but a steep and sustained climb all the way. We walk through attractive, open, and lush mountain forest to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. This has excellent views of the summit ridge and across most of the crater floor. Whilst resting, you might spot elephants or other animals from here. The path continues uphill through giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut (3,570 m.), 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 (3,820 m.) for superb views just before sunset. (3-6 hours walking).
An early start at around 2 a.m. to climb steeply at Rhino Point (3,800 m.), and Then continue along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 m.) 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 (4,566m.) is an hour more on a superb but often steep path. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp 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 rest, and have brunch at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut (2,514m.). (10-12 hours walking).
Note: 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 Pt.
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. (2-3 hours walking).