Mount Meru 4,562 m
Welcome to Kilimanjaro’s little brother! Mount Meru is a great trek in its own right, but also a perfect way to acclimatise for a Kilimanjaro ascent.
We will meet you upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport and drive you to the lodge which is about 30 minutes away. In the evening the head guide will give a briefing about the climb to help you prepare for the days ahead.
See our related article on The best season to climb Kilimanjaro
Note: this trek supports the Kilimajaro porters
Mount Meru, 4,562 m
Day 1: Miriakamba Hut 2,514 m
Duration of Hike: 5-7 Hours
Drive to the Momela Gate (1,514 m) in Arusha National Park. Your guide sorts out the paperwork and set off walking across a flat plain which is home to giraffe, zebra, impala and many other game species. For this reason you will also be accompanied by an armed ranger for the first few hours. Enter the forest area and the gradient gradually increases; you may be lucky and catch a glimpse of buffalo; there’s also the opportunity to visit a pretty little waterfall that lies just off the trail. You’ll reach Miriakamba in mid-afternoon. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.
Day 2: Saddle hut 3,570 m
Duration of Hike: 3-5 Hours
Set out from Miriakamba hut after breakfast and continue through the forest zone. Towards the end of the morning you emerge onto a ridge and get the first view looking back the way you’ve come to Momela and the plain below. Soon after you reach the alpine desert which is where Saddle hut stands; picnic lunch in the hut. In the afternoon we recommend that you take a side trek and ascend Little Meru (3,801 m). This is quite hard work, but is hugely beneficial for proper acclimatisation. It means you ascend a total of nearly 1,300 m in the day, but follows the mountain walker’s tenet of “Walk high; sleep low”. Return to Saddle hut for dinner and an early night. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3: Summit (4,562 m) and return to Miriakamba (2,514 m)
Duration of Hike: 10-12 Hours
It’s an early start this morning! We set off just after midnight. There’s a long walk ahead and the aim is to summit as the sun rises in the east over Kilimanjaro’s shoulder! Pretty spectacular, and the best view of Kili you’ll ever get. The trail leads passed Rhino and Cobra Points and along the ridge that drops away into the crater. Heed you guide’s instructions and take it ‘slowly, slowly’. Enjoy the spectacular views from the summit, and just think what it’ll be like from Kili’s summit.
Descend when you’re ready, by the same route. The ‘hidden gem’ of this trek is the view you get looking down into the crater. The ash cone is a perfect cone shape and viewed from above it really is spectacular. Of course on the ascent it was dark, so you couldn’t see any of this. Arrive back at Saddle hut for lunch. If you really wanted to you could descend all the way to Momela this afternoon, but this isn’t a race and such a long descent in one go is cruel on your knees. In the afternoon continue to Miriakamba and overnight. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 4: Depart Mount Meru.
Duration of Hike: 2-3 Hours
It’s an easy morning’s descent to Momela Gate (collecting an armed ranger for the last little bit). Drive back to the lodge for a rest and hot shower.
Mount Meru huts
Both Miriakamba and Saddle huts have dorm rooms that accommodate up to 8 people. The dining rooms are communal and each trekking party is autonomous, preparing their own meals.
Your team includes porters and a cook. There is also an outdoor seating area. The huts are basic mountain huts but clean and tidy.
When to go: Forget April and May.
The heavy rains in East Africa come in April and May, which rules out trekking in these months – unless you particularly enjoy an arduous slog! You can do this trek during any other month. The dry seasons (June to October and December to February) are the best times to trek.