Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second highest peak standing at 14,980 ft (4566 m). Mount Meru is a beautiful, conically shaped volcano located in northern Tanzania in the heart of the Arusha National Park. Mount Meru is not an active volcano, its last minor eruption was over a century ago. On a clear day you can see Mount Kilimanjaro from Mount Meru, they are less than 50 miles apart. The first successful (recorded) ascent is still in dispute. It is credited to either Carl Uhlig in 1901 or Fritz Jaeger in 1904, both Germans, reflecting the colonial power of Germany over.
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 (more details below) 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.
Momella Route starts on the eastern side of Mount Meru and ascends along the northern rim of the crater to Socialist Peak, the summit. Miriakamba (2514 m) is the first hut, there are two routes to get here, a short steep route or a slower, more gradual climb. A 4-6 hour walk the next day takes you to Saddle Hut (3570 m) with good views of the crater. Day 3 will take you to the summit (5hrs) and back to Saddle Hut for lunch, most groups continue down to Miriakamba for the final night. The walk along the crater rim is considered to be one of the most spectacular sights in the world.
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.
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.