Best Tanzania Safari Destinations | Tanzania’s top safari parks and game reserves
At a height of 4,566 meters (14,980 ft), Mount Meru is a dormant stratovolcano located in Arusha National Park, 70 Kilometres (43 miles) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the country of Tanzania. Typically Mount Meru Climb takes four days, but it can be done in 3 days to complete a trek to the Summit.
It is visible from Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day and is the fifth-highest mountain in Africa, dependent on definition. Climb Mount Meru, Second highest Mountain in Tanzania is great with no traffic and an amazing wildlife experience as you hike past wild animals.
Mount Meru Key facts
1. Tanzania’s second tallest mountain at 4,566m
2. Abundant wildlife sightings on day 1 of the climb
3. Great acclimatization climb before tackling Kilimanjaro
4. Ascent and descent via the Momela route over 3 days
5. Dormitory-style hut accommodation
While Mount Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa gets the bulk of the attention when it comes to climbing in Tanzania, there are other peaks that are worth considering too. Most prominent amongst them is Mount Meru, which is found a short distance to the west of Kilimanjaro and serves as a great warm-up trek for those who have the time and are looking for an even bigger adventure. Mount Meru climbing is very rewarding.
Standing 4565 meters (14,980 feet) in height, Mt. Meru is a more approachable climb than Kilimanjaro and serves as a great stand-alone hike in its own right. Many trekkers choose to use Mount Meru as an acclimation hike prior to starting their trek up Africa’s highest peak. Doing so increases their chances of a successful summit on Kilimanjaro and can reduce the number of days needed to climb to the summit at Uhuru Peak.
Visitors to Mount Meru are more likely to spot wildlife along the trail, particularly in the early days of the hike. Often times a ranger will accompany trekking groups on the first day of the journey to ensure they make it safely to the first campsite.
From there, the route wanders up the north side of Meru’s volcanic crater, before approaching the true summit itself. At the top, the views are outstanding, particularly with Kilimanjaro gleaming tantalizingly in the distance.
Typically Mount Meru Climb takes four days, but it can be done in 3 days to complete a trek to the top as even on this lower peak, acclimatization is the key to success. All trekking groups take the same route up the mountain, which begins at Momella Gate.
Hikers will stay in a series of huts on their way to the top, with basic but comfortable accommodations located at two different campsites prior to going to the summit, which is located at a place called Socialist Peak.
Mount Meru Climbing offers two advantages to travelers. First, it allows trekkers a chance to experience what it is like to climb Kilimanjaro on a smaller scale, providing a grand adventure for those who don’t have a lot of time in their schedule or don’t want to deal with the higher altitude found on Kilimanjaro.
But perhaps more importantly, it truly is a wonderful way to prepare for the larger challenges that they’ll face on Kilimanjaro, taking some of the mystery and acclimatization processes out of the picture before ever stepping foot on the mountain.
Climbing Kilimanjaro offers Mount Meru 3-day or 4-day Climbs. However, clients from different parties and operators are often combined to walk with the armed ranger on the lower slopes.
Below we have shared a 4-day / 3 nights Meru climb but you can do it in 3 days / 2 nights which we do not recommend due to the long walking distance from Miriakamba Hut to the Socialist Peak and back all the way to Momella Gate.
WALKING TIME: 4-6 HOURS
Leaving early in the morning from your accommodation in Arusha or Moshi and driving to Momella gate in Arusha National Park. Driving takes about 3 hours from Moshi and about 1 hr from Arusha. At the gate, you will clear your trekking permits, meet up with your porters, guide, cook and game ranger, and start climbing. You will pass open grassland which will give you a good opportunity to see buffaloes, warthogs and other grazers.
You will cross the Ngare Nanyuki River and continue climbing through the mountain forest. There you will have chance to see many different kind of birds and black and white colobus monkeys. Finally you will reach Miriakamba Hut where you will stay overnight.
WALKING TIME: 3-5 HOURS
The second day of climbing is quite short but demanding. You will start early in the morning and ascent steeply through lush mountain forest full of birds to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. There you can see the crater. After 3 to 5 hours of climbing you will reach Saddle Hut where you will have lunch.
In the afternoon you will have another hiking to Little Meru (3794 m) for superb views before sunset. Then you will return to Saddle Hut for overnight. It is good to go to sleep early so that you get enough rest for the next day’s hiking.
WALKING TIME: 10-12 HOURS
You will start climbing between 1 to 2 at night. The route is very steep towards Rhino Point (3850 m) and from there towards the summit along very narrow ridge. You will reach the mount meru summit, Socialist Peak, (4566 m) right at the sunrise.
The sceneries there are stunning; you will see Mount Kilimanjaro in close distance. After taking photos on the summit you will descent back to Saddle hut.
Note: On icy conditions or strong wind it is not necessarily possible to pass the ridge between Rhino Point and summit. You guide will decide if the conditions are not good enough to continue.
WALKING TIME: 2-5 HOURS
You will leave about at 8.00 in the morning and descent to Momella gate. You can choose longer or shorter route down. On the longer way down you have very good changes to see wildlife and the ash cone. Once at the gate, it’s time to tip your porters, guide, cook and game ranger. After that your transportation back to Moshi will be waiting for you.
Day 1: Arusha – Momella gate – Mariakamba HutDrive 1 Hr, Hike Distance 10 km, 4 – 5 hrs, 1000m ascent, Altitude: 2516m
Drive to the Arusha National Park gate at Momella. For the first section of the climb through the lush forest, crossing the Ngare Nanyuki river to reach Miriakamba Hut at 8337ft/2541m for an overnight stay. Dinner and overnight Mariakamba Hut.
Day 2: Mariakamba Hut to Saddle Hut
Hike Distance 4km, 2 – 3 hrs, 1050m ascent, Altitude: 3566m
Continue to ascend steeply through the pleasant forest glades and giant heather to reach Saddle Hut at 11,713ft/3570m.
From here it is possible to take a side trek to reach the summit of Little Meru 12,450ft/3794m and return to Saddle Hut in about 2 hours. Dinner and overnight Saddle Hut.
Day 3: Saddle Hut to Meru Summit to Momella Gate
Hike distance 5km ascent + 19km descent, 4 – 5 hrs ascent + 6-8 hours descent, 1000m ascent, Altitude: 4566m
An early start to reach Rhino Point and then on to the summit at 14,981ft/4566m to see the sunrise behind Mount Kilimanjaro, before descending back to Momella Gate to be met and transferred back to your hotel.
Drive 1 hr back to Arusha.
The price for a 3-day Meru climb is USD 950 Per Person and the price for a 4 day Meru climb is USD 1050 per person. You can climb Mount Meru all year round and you can pick and choose your own travel dates but we recommend you avoid the rainy season. The best time to climb Mount Meru is January to early March and June to October.
The best time to go on safari in Tanzania is generally during the dry season months of June to October but a wide range of wildlife can be spotted year-round and each season brings its own advantages.