{"id":27,"string_id":"mount-meru","name":"Mount Meru","description":"

Mount Meru, the 3 to 4 day hike up Tanzania's second-highest mountain is too often overshadowed by its neighbor Kilimanjaro, but the views and challenging trek to the summit make it a strong contender for East Africa's best hikes.

A short drive from Arusha, Mt. Meru is located in Arusha National Park, home to several big game and a diversity of flora, and it's not uncommon to spot curious buffalo and elephants while hiking through the crater floor.

Like most other mountains in East Africa, Mt. Meru is volcanic. It assumed its horseshoe-like shape after a massive explosion blew out one side of the mountain, leaving nothing but an ash cone and fertile volcanic ash in its wake. Today the mountain supports a dense, lush forest and a diverse array of flora and fauna.

Day 1

The trek begins at Momella gate and after 9.97793 kilometers through a dense forest, Miao Falls, and the Arched Fig Tree hikers reach the first night's stop, Mirikamba Hut (2499.0552 m).

Day 2

The next starts with a very steep climb up the inner wall of Mt. Meru along wooden steps. Hikers often break at Mgongo wa Tembo (Elephant's Back) on the way up, before continuing on to the next hut. After only 4.02336 kilometers, is Saddle Hut (3550.92 m) in time for lunch. Some hikers choose to make a 3.21869-kilometer out-and-back side trip to Little Meru peak (3819.144 m).

Day 3

The hike to the summit, often begins in the middle of the night. The trail's first waypoint is Rhino Point (3819.144 m) and from there traverses along the ridge leading up towards the rocky summit. The ridge is one of the most exhilarating trails in all of East Africa, one side dropping down the sheer rock faces of the inner walls of the mountain. The final ascent requires a climb up a scree slope, following blazes painted on the rock which point the way to Socialist's Peak (4565.904 m), the summit of Mt. Meru.

Hikers retrace their steps as they descend in daylight to Saddle Hut and ultimately Mirikamba Hut for the night.

Day 4

The final day of hiking is more retracing of steps, as hikers leave Mirikamba Hut and trek back to Momella Gate. Some chose the Northern Route, a more direct trail to the gate.

Directions

From Arusha, hop on any bus going towards Moshi and get off at Usa River, about 45 minutes out of town. From there, hire a car to drive to Momella gate. In order to ensure a ride back to town, keep the driver's number, so they can pick you up at the end of the hike.

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