Mount Meru

Mount Meru (Momella Route)


Mount Meru (4566M) is Africa’s fourth highest mountain. It is an active volcano that lies about 40 km southwest of Kilimanjaro.

Half a million years ago, Meru erupted. It’s volcanic cone was blown to pieces leaving a horseshoe crater with the eastern side removed. The walls of the crater rise 1,500m to the summit and are the tallest cliffs in Africa.

Although this is a spectacular mountain with amazing scenery and wildlife, it's location so close to Kilimanjaro means that it is often overlooked.

Dwarfed by it’s big brother, Mount Meru is a highly underrated peak. It offers great trekking away from the crowds, comfortable huts and an exposed scramble to the summit. The final narrow stretch of ridge is mind blowing.

Mount Meru is a rewarding climb in it’s own right or as preparation for an assault on Kilimanjaro. Many people, myself included, actually consider the ascent of Meru to be a superior climb to any of the normal routes on Kilimanjaro. Controversial, I know, but the narrow ridge and scramble to Meru's exposed summit is far more interesting than the notorious Kilimanjaro slog!

Day 1. Arrive in Arusha.

Day 2. It takes about 2 hrs to drive to the park gate from Arusha. Trek from the park gate (1500m) to the Miriakamba Hut (2500m). 4 - 5 hrs, 1000m of ascent. Easy path, never steep. Mostly forest. Opportunities to spot wildlife on the Arusha Plain. Expect to see warthogs, buffalo and giraffe. We walk with an armed ranger.

Day 3. Trek from the Miriakamba Hut to the Saddle Hut (3570m).1070m of ascent on a good path, steep at times 3 – 4 hrs. Excellent views of Kilimanjaro.

Day 4. Rest day at the Saddle Hut. This is an excellent place to spend the day adjusting to high altitude. Walk to Rhino Point, a subsidiary peak, with fine views of Kilimanjaro.

Day 5. Set off at about 1am. Climb from the Saddle Hut to the summit at 4566M, then reverse the route back down to the park gate. The summit is reached by a narrow ridge which is exposed and airy in places. There are also some short rock-scrambling sections. There are good views down into the crater, with the ash cone rising in the centre and stunning views of Kilimanjaro. This is a long day, 15hrs or more with 1000m of ascent followed by a 3000m descent. Return to Arusha.

Day 6. Rest day.

Day 7. Depart for Kilimanjaro.

Photo: Kilimanjaro a dawn, seen from Meru's summit.