Mount Meru, situated east of the Great Rift Valley and about 40 km southwest of Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania's Arusha National Park, is considered an active volcano and is the country's second highest mountain (4,565meters/14,977ft). 500,000+ years ago, Mount Meru erupted in a tremendous explosion that destroyed it's cone shape and resulted in a horseshoe crater with the eastern side removed. The resulting mountain has its summit on the west side with it's inner walls rising over 1,500m from the crater floor, making them among the tallest cliffs in Africa.
When to Climb
Generally, the best times to climb this peak are from June to February with occasional rains in November. The dry season is from July to March. December to February generally offer the best views of Kilimanjaro which can often be seen from the summit and most places in Arusha National Park.
Length of Climb
Although Mount Meru can be climbed in 1 day and 2 days, the park has a regulation stating that climbs of the mountain will take a minimum of 3 days with a recommendation of 4.
Route to Summit
The 14 km (8.7 mi) or 19 km (11.8 mi) Momella Route is the primary and only official route to the summit today. This route starts at the Momella Gate (1,500 m / 4,921 ft) and uses one of two tracks to Miriakamba Hut (2,514 m / 8,250 ft), either a shorter 5 km route or a longer 10 km route that allows one to see more wildlife, scenery including waterfalls, and old huts.
From the Miriakamba Hut, you take a 4 km trail through some forests up to the Saddle Hut (3,566 m / 11,700 ft). From Saddle Hut, you can either summit Little Meru (3,820 m / 12,533 ft) or follow the route another 5 km to the Mount Meru Summit, aka Socialist Peak.
On the way up to the summit from Saddle Hut, the first notable bald area you'll reach is Rhino Point where you can get amazing views of the summit and the inner crater walls, providing there are no clouds. You'll know you are at Rhino Point because there is a pile of bones in the center of the clearing. There is a metal flag of the United Republic of Tanzania on the summit as well as a wood box and summit register.
MOMELLA GATE: Most people who visit Arusha National Park make a visit to and stay at either Arusha (1,387 m / 4,550 ft) or Moshi (831 m / 2,726 ft), the closest towns to Mount Meru.
Camping and Accommodation
The two established hut / camping sites are at Mirakamba Hut (2,514 m / 8,250 ft) and Saddle Hut (3,566 m / 11,700 ft). If you are going on a park sanctioned trip with the mandatory guide, you will most likely be staying at Miriakamba Hut on Night 1 and Saddle Hut on Night 2 and optionally Night 3.