Mount Meru | Arusha National Park
Mount Meru is a dormant stratovolcano located 70 kilometres west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the country of Tanzania. At a height of 4,562.13 metres, it is visible from Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the fifth-highest of the highest mountain peaks of Africa, dependent on definition. While it last saw serious activity 100 years ago, it is thought to have lost the bulk of its size in a super-eruption some 8,000 years ago, and its nutrient-rich soils support a wide range of flora and fauna.
Surrounded by plains, the mountains slopes rise typically through montane forest, a large region of heather and then moorlands, which, after a few thousand feet, peter out into volcanic desert. These different habitats are home to a variety of animals, including elephant, rhino, giraffe, monkey, baboon, klipspringer, warthog, duiker and leopard. Mount Meru boasts up to 400 species of bird, and the mountain is usually a fixed item on birders’ itineraries.
Situated just a short drive from Arusha and Moshi, Arusha National Park is one of Tanzania’s most convenient parks and is a fantastic destination for a day trip and makes for a great beginning or end to any Tanzanian itinerary. Arusha National Park hosts a wide variety of landscapes, ranging from vast savannah and rainforest through to acacia woodlands and up to alpine vegetation on the higher reaches of Mount Meru.
At just over 200 square miles, Arusha National Park has great wildlife densities, and it is home to the world’s largest population of giraffe. Cape buffalo, elephants, hippos, zebra are found here in abundance, and the occasional lion and leopard can also be sighted on a game drive. Some great activities at Arusha National park include game driving, canoeing, hiking Mount Meru, and walking safaris.It is one of the few national parks in Tanzania where you can go on walking safaris. Walking safaris are a great alternative to the traditional safari experience, and over the last year national park authorities have allowed walking safaris to take place in other parks on the northern safari circuit such as Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara and some fringe concessions on the edge of the Serengeti National Park
Mount Meru Cost
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.
When to Climb Mount Meru
Meru has a hot, arid climate. Temperatures are fairly uniform through the year. Daytime temperatures are around 32°C/90°F, and at night temperatures fall to about 17°C/63°F. The Wet season from November to May is characterized by two periods of rain: the ‘short rains’ peak in November, and the ‘long rains’ peak in April. Best views of Kilimanjaro December-February.
How to Prepare?
Start your physical preparation (hiking) at least two months before. Decrease efforts the last 2 weeks and rest the final days before the climb so your body can recover properly. We recommend long walks in different terrain, swimming and yoga. Start practicing deep, deliberate breathing. Try Pranayama breathing technique or any other that suits your lungs.
Safety on Mount Meru
Safety is an essential part of all of our systems from the training programs we run, the information we collect before you trek and the check we perform on a daily basis. For operators that have used us on Kilimanjaro before – our systems on all high altitude trips are the same, i.e. attention to detail and safety are paramount. There is only 1 route up Mt Meru .
In order to be safe and comfortable throughout your Mount Meru climb, you’ll need to bring important gear and supplies with you. We have put together a comprehensive Meru Packing list to help you prepare for your climb. Trekking Mount Meru can be a bit treaky. You need to be prepared for all Kilimanjaro weather conditions: sunny, windy, and rainy.
Mount Meru Iteneraries
Mount Meru is a serious three to four-day trek and is often used as a practice run by those hoping to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. A guide is mandatory on every trek and there is only one official route up to the summit. The route is well marked with huts along the way offering simple, comfortable beds. Unofficial routes on the west and northern sides of the mountain are illegal.
Book your Mount Meru Climb with us
3 Days Mount Meru Climb:
Day 1 – Arusha – Momella gate – Mariakamba Hut
Drive 1 Hr, Hike Distance 10 km, 4 – 5 hrs, 1000m ascent, Alt: 2516
Dinner and overnight Mariakamba Hut
Day 2 – Mariakamba Hut to Saddle Hut
Hike Distance 4km, 2-3 hrs, 1050m ascent, Alt: 3566
Dinner and overnight Saddle Hut.
Day 3 – Meru Summit to Saddle Hut to Momella Gate:
Hike Distance 14km, 6 to 8hrs, 3050m descent, Alt: 1516
Drive 1 hr back to Arusha
4 Days Mount Meru Climb:
Day 1: Arusha to Meriakamba Hut (Full board)
We drive from Arusha to Momela Gate. Dinner and overnight night at Miriakamba Hut.
Day 2: Meriakamba to Saddle Hut (Full board)
The walk from Miriakamba Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a short day but a steep climb. Dinner and overnight night at Saddle Hut
Day 3: Saddle Hut to Summit Day (Full
Elevation(ft): 14,977ft to 11,712 ft to 8,250ft
Distance: 5 km up 13 km down
Day 4: Summit to Meriakamba Hut to Momella Gate:
Distance: 10 km
Hiking time: 2-4 hours
Habitat: Montane Fores
- Mount Meru is a serious three to four-day trek and is often used as a practice run by those hoping to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. A guide is mandatory on every trek and there is only one official route up to the summit. The route is well marked with huts along the way offering 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 a few days at altitude before attempting the climb is highly recommended.
Guides are mandatory for every trek up Mount Meru. With you is an armed ranger he is there for your safety in light of the mountain’s abundant wildlife like Buffalos. Porters are not mandatory but make the trek more enjoyable by helping to carry your equipment. Each porter carries up to 33 pounds/ 15 kilograms. You can hire both porters, guides and an armed at the Momella Gate, but it’s a good idea to book in advance with us because in this way we assure you that you have the best experienced and professional crew that will help you summitt. If you choose to trekk with us, these services are usually included in the price that we give you.
Mount Meru is located just north of the city of Arusha, in the Arusha Region of Tanzania. It is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania, after Mount Kilimanjaro. The Momella route – which starts at Momella gate, on the eastern side of the mountain – is used to climb Mount Meru
Mount Meru - Arusha National Park MAP
Arusha City MAP
Mount Meru - Arusha National Park FAQ
The best way to get to Arusha National Park is by driving, it is only a 45-minute drive from Arusha, the beginning point of any northern circuit safari in Tanzania.
The best time to visit Arusha National Park is from June to September and December to March during the dry seasons.
Wildlife spotting and other activities are the most enjoyable at this time of year, and it lines up with The Great Migration if you plan on doing the Serengeti too.
March and April, and October to December are the wet seasons, and it is advised to avoid these months, as rain can ruin or lead to cancellations of planned activitie
The Kili Villa is a luxurious retreat situated on a golf and wildlife estate close to the park and only 30 mins from Arusha International Airport.
On offer are three exclusive villas, as well as individual luxury rooms.
Each Villa is distinctively decorated to showcase the best local African design and craftsmanship combined with colonial-style furniture
This lodge offers horse riding, Canoeing and Game drives.
Alternatively, The River Trees Country Inn is a charming country estate that was once an old coffee farm. It still maintains the nostalgic air of a well-loved homestead.
Sprawling across ten acres on Mount Meru’s sloping foothills, beautifully rustic cottages are dotted along the river and nestled under tall trees. Lush lawns and birdsong add to the tranquil surroundings.
Accompanied by a park ranger, you will make your way through the various forest and savannah habitats, observing wildlife from a safe distance.
This is also a great opportunity to spot some of Tanzania’s wonderful birdlife.
One of the highlights on a walking safari is walking up to the top of Tululusia Hill, a former lookout point during Tanzania’s tribal wars, which has panoramic views of the lower reaches of Arusha National Park.
You can join a larger group or opt to go privately on your walking safari.
Thanks to its vast diversity in natural habitats and small size, Arusha National Park has fantastic wildlife densities.
Many game drives occur in the Ngurdoto Crater and the surrounding forest, where the largest densities of elephants, buffalos and hippos are found.
The Serengeti Ndogu, or little Serengeti, is a vast and golden savannah grassland where many of the plains game graze and is also a great addition to any game drive.
Head out in the early morning for the best game viewing opportunities, and pack a picnic lunch for when you get hungry.
Arusha National Park can generally be explored in a day and is a great stand-alone adventure due to its proximity to Arusha and Moshi, and thanks to its small size.
It also pairs well with longer itineraries on the northern safari circuit, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.
If you’re looking to squeeze in a short safari after climbing the steep slopes of Mount Meru, Arusha National Park is also ideal as it lies at the foot of it.
On Mount Meru itself, Saddle Hut and Miriakamba Hut provide the only accommodation. Huts fill up well in advance, so if you’re planning to trek during the high season (December to February) it is often prudent to pack a lightweight tent. Recommended accommodation in and around Arusha National Park includes Hatari Lodge, Meru Mbega Lodge, Meru View Lodge and Meru Simba Lodge.
YES! Guides are mandatory for every trek up Mount Meru. They are armed and are there to protect you from the mountain’s abundant wildlife (including buffalos, leopards and baboons).
Porters are not mandatory but make the trek more enjoyable by helping to carry your equipment. Each porter carries up to 33 pounds/15 kilograms.
You can hire both porters and guides at the Momella Gate, but it’s a good idea to book in advance by at least a day. If you’re trekking with an operator, these services are usually included in the price.
Ask around for tipping guidelines as hiker tips make up a significant percentage of the total income for the mountain’s guides, porters, and cooks.
Mount Meru’s official route is named the Momella Route. It starts on the eastern side of Mount Meru and ascends along the northern rim of the crater to Socialist Peak, the summit. There are two routes to the first hut, Miriakamba (located at 8,248 feet/2,514 meters).
You can choose between a shorter, steeper ascent or a slower, more gradual climb. A four to six-hour walk the next day brings you to Saddle Hut (at 11,712 feet/3,570 meters), with good views of the crater along the way. On day three, it takes approximately five hours to summit and return to Saddle Hut in time for lunch, before continuing down to Miriakamba for the final night.
The walk along the crater rim is considered to be one of the most spectacular treks in Africa.
There is no need to worry because this is a common concern. It is much better for your body if you proceed slowly and the guides will continually remind you about this (“pole pole”-Swahili word which means slowly). By walking slowly, your body will much better acclimatize to the high altitude. There is plenty of time allotted each day for the trek, even for those who like to go very slowly.
Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but not at the expense of their overall experience. Even for those who never reached the top, the experience of the wonders of Mount Meru is rewarding.
If one or more members of a group decide they cannot continue or if a guide deems it is unsafe for an individual (or group) to continue, they will be escorted to the most convenient campsite or hut. Our guides intimately know the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and they are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstance.
Wildlife viewing in Arusha NP is more low-key than in the other parks in northern Tanzania. Animals that are easily seen include buffalo, giraffe and several antelope species. More exciting is the black-and-white colobus monkey that lives in the forest, and the large number of bird species. Several lakes often host flocks of flamingo.
Arusha’s mild climate sees average daytime temperatures ranging from 21°C/70°F to 26°C/79°F. The Dry season (June to October) is the coolest time of year, getting downright chilly before sunrise. Rug up if you’re doing an early game drive. The Wet season (November to May) has two periods of rainfall with a dry spell in between. But it’s only during the so-called ‘long rains’ (March to May) that downpours might hamper your safari.
You can practically freeze at night in Arusha during the drier months (June to October) when the occasional cold front sweeps through. But that’s the only real challenge of visiting at this time. The wildlife watching is at its best, and the sunshine at its brightest. The wetter months mainly appeal to those keen to see the arrival of migratory birds.
Meru is a challenging climb in its own right and although no technical climbing gear is needed, it is high enough to bring upon the effects of altitude sickness. Most journeys to the summit take three to four days with a guide and usually porters. An armed ranger accompanies hiking parties through the entire expedition to alleviate the threat of wild animal attacks.
Arusha is known as the safari capital of Tanzania’s Northern Safari Circuit. It’s a bustling city filled with an interesting mix of markets, chaotic traffic, old colonial buildings and modern conveniences, like coffee shops with WiFi, and an array of great restaurants.
More about Tanzania Travel Guide:
Planning your trip? Whether you’re looking for things to do in Tanzania such as events and attractions, key traveller information to make your Tanzania visit run smoothly or are planning where to stay in Mwanza, you’ll find everything you need for your Tanzania holiday on Our Website. Tanzania Travel guide has the information about latest events not to miss while you visit Tanzania – there’s always something going on, so don’t miss out on the latest exhibitions, shows and more on your trip Tanzania
Discover the best day trips from Dar-es-salaam or other Tanzania’s Cities. If you’re here as a family, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Tanzania with kids and find suitable accommodation such as Tanzania holiday apartments. Whether you’re looking for the best weekend breaks in Tanzania or planning a longer holiday in, you can be sure you’ll find all the information you need.
Tanzania Travel Guide| Climb Kilimanjaro and Meru | Beach Holidays in Zanzibar | Mwanza Travel Guide |Dar-es-salaam Travel Guide |Dodoma Travel Guide | Tanga Travel Guide | Mbeya Travel Guide | Arusha Travel Guide | Tanzania Safari and Tours | Africa Safari Forums | African Safari Questions and answers