Meru and other Mountains
Part of Arusha National Park, Mount Meru is Tanzania's second highest mountain and a perfect acclimatization trek for Kilimanjaro.
As most climbers choose to summit the more popular Kilimanjaro, visitors to Meru often have the mountain to themselves. Standing at 4,566 meters (14,980 feet), a climb up Meru’s narrow ridge offers stunning panoramic views of the Rift Valley, plus Meru’s crater and ash cone lying several thousand feet below. You also get a great vantage across Arusha National Park and up to the Kilimanjaro summit.
Meru is Africa's fifth highest mountain. The route to the summit passes through grassland, montane forest, gorgeous heather and moorland. Hundreds of species of birds, rhino, elephant, buffalo, baboon, warthog, black and white Colobus monkey and duiker are all found on Meru.
Although hiking distances between huts can seem short, it’s important to allow enough time for proper acclimatization. The mountain trail on Meru is quite steep while the road trail is more gradual. We recommend a four day climb on Meru, although fitter climbers may choose to hike the mountain in three days. If climbing Meru as an acclimatization trek for Kilimanjaro, we recommend at least one full day of rest in Arusha between climbs. You may also choose to go on a short safari between treks.
All Meru climbs begin with a short game drive through Arusha National Park where you will likely see zebra, giraffe, cape buffalo, warthog, and other antelope species.
Fees and services are included:
· All park entrance, hut and rescue fees
· All meals and filtered drinking water while on the mountain
· Transfer to and from Arusha National Park
· A Duma mountain guide and all associated salaries and fees
· An Arusha National Park ranger and all associated salaries and fees
· All cook and porter salaries and fees
Please note Arusha National Park may combine climbing groups based on availability of National Park Rangers. Duma cannot guarantee a private climb of Mount Meru.
The climb does not include gratuities (see our tipping guidelines page), soda/alcohol, energy snacks such as Power Bars, visa fees, travel/health insurance, lodging or meals in Arusha, or items of a personal nature.
Meru Climb Information
Our drivers will meet you at your hotel to drive you to Arusha National Park. There is a luggage weight limit of 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of personal gear per climber. Please leave items you do not need for the climb in Arusha at the hotel. Please use luggage locks with any baggage you store at the hotel.
You will meet most of your mountain staff upon arrival at the gate. When you arrive at the gate, there will be a slight delay as we have to weigh bags and register your climb with the national park officials. Please use the restroom here as this is the last toilet before the first hut.
You will hike with a daypack while a porter will carry your gear pack. For information on what to carry in your daypack, please refer to the Duma Mountain Packing List. It is imperative that you have rain gear with you at all times on Meru. The temperature drops dramatically when it rains so it is important to keep your body as dry as possible. Also, pack your sleeping bag in a large plastic bag. We pack your gear inside a larger waterproof bag, but recommend that you take the extra precaution of packing items in plastic bags. Please pack all gear that the porter will carry inside a large duffel bag or backpack. Please do not use roller luggage or hard suitcases. As your bag is placed in a larger duffel provided by us, it is not necessary to purchase an expedition pack if you do not already have one. A soft-sided duffel is sufficient.
Your staff will consist of a Duma mountain guide, a cook, and porters. Please note that some porters also act as waiters, water carriers, and toilet cleaners. There are three to four crew members for every climber. Your guides will introduce your crew during the first day. We will give you a list of your crew so that you have their names. This will assist you in planning tips for your staff.
The primary responsibility of the head guide is to ensure that you are safe and healthy during your trek. He will check your progress each day and will ask questions about how you feel and if you are experiencing altitude sickness. The guide will brief you about the following day each night over dinner. If you have any questions or concerns, please tell the guide immediately so he may assist you.
Accommodation on Mount Meru is in huts. The huts are generally well-maintained by the national park staff and there are toilets available. Our staff will provide washing water when you arrive at the campsite so you can clean up immediately after the hike. It is also useful to have handi-wipes so that you can clean up on the trail and in your tent.
We use a water filter to purify your drinking water. Drinking water is available in the mornings and evenings at the huts. Water is not available while hiking. We recommend carrying at least two liters of water per person each day.
We recommend taking as long as possible to hike between huts to help with acclimatization. Your guide will help you set a good hiking speed.
Please pack three liters of water each for the final ascent to Socialist Peak. Many hikers experience dehydration so it’s important to have enough water. If a hiker is having problems carrying their daypack, a guide will assist – so don't be afraid to pack lots of water. Please turn your water bottles upside down and leave a little empty space in each bottle. Also put the bottle inside a sock or other insulating material so that your water does not freeze.
Strong winds are common on Meru's summit so you need wind and waterproof outer layers. We recommend wearing at least three top layers and two bottom layers for the Meru summit.
Please note that we follow a turnaround policy when summiting Meru. If you are not at the summit by latest 9:30am, you will have to turn around. The time may be earlier and your head guide will make the decision.
Please bring your own energy snacks (gel, gu) for the final ascent as these items are not available in Tanzania. We recommend bringing two Power Bars per person for each day of hiking and four gel/gu shots per person for the summit ascent. If you have poor circulation, please bring hand/foot warmers for your gloves and shoes.
If you are too sick to continue or you are having health problems during the final ascent, please inform our guides immediately so they can assist you. If a climber has to descend before reaching the summit, an assistant guide will accompany them back to a lower camp (or lower if necessary). We are in phone contact with our guides during the climb and can arrange a rescue if necessary.
Final Climb Day
We will bring a lunchbox for you when we pick you up at the gate. You will arrive in Arusha at approximately 2pm on your final day.
Itinerary Mount Meru Climb (4 days)
Mount Meru – Four Day Climb
The three-day climb goes from the summit to the gate all in one day, skipping Miriakamba Hut on the way down.
Day One: Momella Gate (1,500m/4,920ft) to Miriakamba Hut (2,515m/8,250ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,015 meters, 3,330 feet
Hiking Time: Four to seven hours
Leave Arusha at 9am for Arusha National Park. Reach the climb registration gate at about 10:30am to begin your climb. Choose between one of two routes for your first day’s hike: the mountain trail or dirt road.
The Mountain Trail: Pass through several different ecosystems during the three to five hour mountain trail hike. The hike begins along a seasonal stream through open forest where grazing cape buffalo, giraffe and warthogs reside. Continue climbing through the woodland stopping for lunch along the way. Reach Miriakamba Hut in the afternoon.
The Dirt Road: Hiking via the road takes four to seven hours and also passes through several different vegetation zones. During the first part of the trail, walk through open grassland where viewing buffalo, giraffe and warthog. After the grassland, enter the montane forest and pass through Fig Tree Arch. Continue along the road until reaching Miriakamba Hut in the afternoon.
Miriakamba Hut: Miriakamba Hut offers beautiful views of the U-shaped Meru crater, the ash cone and the towering cliffs that make up Meru’s crater walls. There are toilet facilities, a water source and separate kitchen and lodge facilities for the mountain staff. Solar panels provide electricity in the evening. Soda and beer are available at Miriakamba.
Day Two: Miriakamba (2,515m/8,250ft) to Saddle Hut (3,570m, 11,710ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,055 meters, 3,460 feet
Hiking Time: Three to five hours
After breakfast, leave Miriakamba and walk along flat land before entering the montane forest. Continue hiking until you reach a brief opening in the woods called Elephant Ridge. Arrive at Saddle Hut. The normal cloud cover of Arusha National Park burns off at about 3,200 meters. Saddle Hut lies at 3,570 meters.
The more energetic can summit Little Meru (3,820m) in the afternoon for breathtaking views of Meru and Kilimanjaro. The hike takes one to two hours round-trip. It does get cold on top of Little Meru so bring a jacket, gloves and a hat.
Saddle Hut is very similar to Miriakamba Hut, and is well-maintained, with separate facilities for mountain staff and tourists.
Day Three: Saddle Hut (3,570m, 11,710ft) to Socialist Peak (4,566m/14,980ft) to Miriakamba (2,515m/8,250ft)
Elevation Gain: 996 meters, 3,270 feet
Hiking Time: Ten hours
After a light breakfast at 1:30am, begin the hike to Mount Meru's summit, Socialist Peak. Begin the morning with a steep climb up to Rhino Point (3,800m). Descend to cross a small rock bridge, and then continue traversing the alternatively rocky and sandy trail. The trail involves rock scrambling. In some places there are steep drops on either side, so please follow the green trail markers and your Duma guide!
Reach the crater rim around dawn and continue to Meru’s peak. The views are spectacular all the way to the summit, the trail offering a perfect vantage of the crater's sheer walls, the ash cone, cloud formations and the surrounding park. The hike to the summit is slow-going due to the sandy trail conditions, high winds and altitude. Bring energy food to snack on during the hike. After taking photos, descend to Saddle for brunch and then to Miriakamba.
Please note: It may be impossible to proceed beyond Rhino Point during rainy or icy conditions. We advise you to climb Meru during the dry season. There are many parts of the summit trail that have steep drops on either side or involve periods of rock scrambling. Proceeding beyond Rhino Point is not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo.
Day Four: Miriakamba (2,515m/8,250ft) to Momella Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,015 meters, 3,330 feet
Time: Two to three hours
Descend to Momella Gate from Miriakamba Hut. The descent is fast unless it has rained recently. First pass through scrubland, then descend into the montane forest and finally into the open grassland. If the trail is wet, we recommend using the road to descend.
After reaching the gate, receive certificates for reaching the summits of Mount Meru and Little Meru. Thank your national park guide and mountain staff for the last time and return to Arusha.