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Fifty miles (80 km) west of Mount Kilimanjaro lies is an often overlooked, but spectacular volcano called Mount Meru.

At 14,980 feet high, Mount Meru serves as a great standalone hike or a warm up to Mount Kilimanjaro. It is ideal for altitude acclimatization and you may elect to climb Kilimanjaro with a lower number of days after climbing Meru.

Many people who climb both mountains have a preference for the humble Mount Meru. Located in the center of Arusha National Park, Meru’s lower slopes have an abundance of animals. An armed ranger will accompany your party on the first stage to protect against any wildlife threats.

The trail follows the north rim of the crater, along a dramatic ridgeline. Once at the summit, the views of Mount Kilimanjaro and down into Meru crater are unforgettable. The crowds that can plague Kilimanjaro are non-existent here, allowing for a solitary, peaceful trek. Accommodations are in wood huts.

Although about 4,000 feet lower than Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru is still a very tall mountain. Do not underestimate Mount Meru. Altitude acclimatization is still the key to a successful summit here.

4 DAY MOUNT MERU ITINERARY

DAY 1 – Momella Gate to Miriakamba Huts

Elevation: 4,921 ft to 8,250 ft

Hiking Time:  4-6 hours

Distance: 14 km | 9 miles

Habitat: Rain Forest

We depart Moshi or Arusha for Momella Gate in Arusha National Park for the necessary formalities before beginning our trek. The hiking trail begins in open grassland with an armed ranger as the possibility of seeing wildlife – giraffe, zebras, antelope, elephant and buffalo – is high. Our hike on the Southern Route takes us through the rain forest to Maio Waterfalls and Fig Tree Arch until we reach Miriakamba Huts, situated in a grassy glade.

DAY 2 – Miriakamba Huts to Saddle Huts

Elevation: 8,250 ft to 11,712 ft

Hiking Time: 3-5 hours

Distance: 6 km | 3 miles

Habitat: Health

We continue climbing through the rain forest until we enter the heath zone accompanied by giant heather and other moorland vegetation. Along the ridge of the saddle, we have views of Mount Meru Crater and the Ash Tray. After arriving at Saddle Huts, there is an option to hike to the top of Little Mount Meru for superb views and to further aid acclimatization.

DAY 3 – Saddle Huts to Summit to Miriakamba Huts

addle Huts to Summit

Elevation: 11,712 ft to 14,977 ft

Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

Summit to Miriakamba Huts

Elevation: 14,977 ft to 8,250 ft

Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

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Distance: 6 km | 4 miles

Habitat: Alpine Desert

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Distance: 12 km | 7 miles

Habitat: Health

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our climb to the summit. The trail is steep to Rhino Point and then Cobra Point. The path continues along the ridge of ash and rock to the summit – Socialist Peak. Here we enjoy magnificent views of Kilimanjaro and the sunrise before returning to Miriakamba Huts.

DAY 4 – Miriakamba Huts to Momella Gate

Elevation: 11,712 ft to 4,921 ft

Hiking Time: 2-4 hours

Distance: 7 km | 4 miles

Habitat: Rain Forest

On our last day, we descend quickly through the tropical rainforest to Momella Gate. At the base of the mountain, our vehicle will meet us and drive us back to the hotel in Arusha or Moshi.

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