A thrilling hiking adventure in the pristine wild

Magnetized by Mt Kilimanjaro, the hikers often overlook Mt Meru, the second highest peak of Tanzania. Towering over Arusha National Park, Mount Meru offers both an excellent warm-up exercise for Kilimanjaro, in addition to being a stunning trekking experience in the wild by its own right.

Mount Meru trekking is a real adventure. The slopes of this dormant (yet active – the last eruption was in 1910) volcano offer fascinating panoramic vistas and bustling wildlife around.

This volcano was “born” around 500,000 years ago, and it’s very first eruption virtually exploded its eastern side, creating its, peculiar appearance. In addition to that, Mt Meru has one of the deepest craters – over 1,500 meters!

Why Climb Mount Meru

There are several reasons to include Mount Meru into your Tanzania adventures list. Regrettably, this volcano is often out shadowed by Kilimanjaro – located in the immediate vicinity, it attracts more international hikers, thus making it a secondary hiking destination or a warm-up exercise. The majority of hikers, however, ignore it altogether.

We at Africa Beyond Safari firmly believe that Mt Meru hiking is a great adventure by itself because of these reasons:

Reason 1 – Stunning scenery

Mount Meru features incredibly captivating scenic vistas. The trek to Socialist Peak (4566 m/14,980 f), traverses several climatic zones, offering diverse landscapes and unparalleled scenes for wildlife photography.

The views from the summit area of Mt Meru are truly rewarding – valleys, forests and meadows, all buried in lush verdure, and magnetizing view of the Kilimanjaro peak looming on a horizon will surprise even the most seasoned travelers.

Reason 2 – Rich wildlife

Nestled in Arusha National Park, Mount Meru is one of the few mountains of the world still densely inhabited by the wildlife, which freely roam on its slopes. The hikers are likely to experience multiple encounters with different animals, including buffaloes, antelopes, monkeys, giraffes and, with some luck in your pocket, even elephants.

Reason 3 – No crowds

Meru is not yet popular among hikers. During the high season, on the popular routes of Kilimanjaro (Marangu and Machame) there is a chance of “traffic jams”, something that you will never experience on the trails of Meru. For those who are seeking reclusive, tranquil hiking in the wild, Meru is a great choice.

Reason 4 – Mount Meru hiking tour is affordable

In contrast to other hiking adventures, Mt Meru climb is quite an affordable activity. Because no tents are necessary (overnight stays on Mt Meru are in huts), the number of crew is small, reducing the travel costs. Therefore, for those with shrinking budgets, Meru can become a good and affordable alternative.

Reason 5 – Excellent addition for the safari tour

The wildlife of Tanzania is what attracts most of the visitors to the country. Tanzania has been voted the best destination for wildlife viewing several years in a row.

At the same time, flying over half of the world surely justifies having more diverse experiences. Thus, pairing your safari tour with a Meru climb may be an excellent idea to get the best of Tanzania.

Mount Meru Expedition – Essential points

The key features of Mt Meru expedition:

You do not need special alpine skills or experience to take part. Together with Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru is a “hiking”, not climbing “mountain”. Neither ropes, nor ice axes or helmets are necessary – the trekkers reach the Socialist Peak (4,562 m/14,967 f) on foot, and for the majority of them, Mt Meru is the first mountaineering experience.
Ordinary fitness level is ok. Meru hiking does not require anything special – as long as you can comfortably walk up to 10 km/6 miles per day, you can do it. Trekking level there is moderate.

Acclimatization to altitude is important! Do not take it lightly – the altitude of Mt Meru is serious enough to be the cause of altitude sickness. Follow these fundamental rules acclimatization:

  • Hike slowly (recommended pace is two times slower than your ordinary one)
  • Drink much water (3-4 liters per day)
  • Listen to your guide
  • Do not drink alcohol or too much coffee

The combination of these simple principles will make your Meru climb enjoyable, safe and successful.

The crew will take care of everything. Under the TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks Authority), a qualified guide should accompany the hikers. The team of porters and cooks are responsible for carrying your luggage, camp organization, food preparation, etc. Under the local customs, in order to promote employment, half of the porters crew should be hired from the Meru tribe, which live in the foothills of Mount Meru.

Overnight stays on Mount Meru are in huts only. In contrast to Kilimanjaro, where tented camping options are available on all routes but Marangu, on Mount Meru one should be ready to stay in huts only.

An armed ranger will be accompanying your party up to the summit camp. In order to make your stay in the wild safe and protect the animals from poachers, an armed ranger will be hiking with you up to Saddle Hut Camp (see itinerary below).

Mount Meru Climb – day-by-day itinerary

There is only one route leading to Socialist Peak – “Momella”. Three and four day hiking are available The Momella route approaches Mount Meru from the eastern face, moving up through the northern ridge to the peak.

The total trek distance is 45 km/27 miles.