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also on this website: Kilimanjaro  Mount Meru  Arusha NP  Lake Manyara NP  Ngorongoro Crater


Mount Meru, Tanzania (4566 m)
A glorious hill walk in Arusha National Park


The volcanic Mount Meru is shadowed by his big and famous neighbour Kilimanjaro. For most of the visitors  Meru is just noticed as the exercising area to acclimatise before climbing Africa's highest mountain. But this does not come up to its real value. Meru is not only Africa's 5th highest mountain, it delights the walker by its fabulous flora and fauna.

Walkers will meet buffalos, giraffes, warthogs, elephants and antilopes. Ascending to Saddle Hut (3570m) a tropical wood of laurel trees is crossed. The path to the top is varied, offers short stretches of easy scrambling and breathtaking views from the crater edge.

The tour should be planned with 3 overnight stays. There is too much to be seen. The ground of the crater is worth a visit, also the minor top Little Meru (3801m).

(photo above: To the left with clouds the main top "Socialist Peak", 4566m. In front of it the secondary crater "Ash Cone", 3667m. To the right the minor top "Little Meru", 3801m. The Saddle Hut is located at the elevated plain to the left foot of Little Meru.)

(photos below: click for enlargement)


At the main entrance of Arusha National Park the luggage is weight and the mandatory number of porters is fixed.
Extensive sets of forms are be filled out.

Certainly independent walkers are allowed to climb the mountain without engaging porters. But is obligatory to be accompanied by an armed ranger who also works as your guide.

The weapon is necessary because it is not rare to come across buffalos and elephants.




The climb starts at the side entrance  "Momella Gate".

The photo shows the view back to the first part of the tour. Crossing the plain we could already watch giraffes and buffalos.

At the office at Momella Gate you can buy a very nice map of the National Park, including a detailed description of the climbing route.




Soon we enter the laurel mountain wood
and gaze at the opulent growth.




left: Fireball.
(Scadoxus multiflorus)

right: Red hot Poker.
(Kniphofia thomsonii)




Trees are covered by tresses.

Most intensive rain falls between March and June and between November and December. The laurel wood also benefits by the persistent fog banks in the height of 2000-2700 meters.




The group of buildings called Miriakamba Hut (2514m) are reached after 4 hours when walking slowly. Due to the continous heavy rain we rushed there within 2 hours.

The huts provide rooms with 4 camp beds each, including mattresses. All rooms and the lounge have electric light. Bottles of beer and soft drinks are offered.

From Miriakamba Hut you can do a short trip to the ground of the crater. But don't try it on your own. For a small tip your guide will be happy to guard you on the way.




On Mount Meru the weather is not as reliable as on Kilimanjaro.

We met walkers coming down who had to turn back early in the night on their way to the top. It was raining heavily, with snow on the higher areas. And this happened outside the main rainy season. We were there at beginning of February.




On our way we had to overcome a real adventure. 3 elephants were obstructing our route. For our safety Peter, our guide, told us to climb a tree. Then he went towards the elephants and shot into the air. In vain. Only after a second shot the elephants moved on and we could come down from our airy seats. It was really impressing how the elephants made their way, breaking big aisles right into the dense rainy forest.




A rest in the shadow.

To the right ranger Peter, at the left my private "servant" Salutari. I booked the trip at Hotel Dikdik. They have certain standards. I got my own hotel cook, a waiter and a personal porter.

Then there was the mandatory armed ranger and further four independant porters.

I didn't notice it at the start. There were 8 people to get me up that hill!




An aerial view down to the ground of the crater.

At half way up between Miriakamba Hut and Saddle Hut a viewpoint invites the walker to stay for a while.

Given its figure the viewpoint is called  "Mgongo ya Tembo", the elephant's back (3200m) .




Many little birds can be spotted in the trees. Different kinds of warblers, I guess.

All over the place traces of buffalos and elephants can be seen. We come across bushbucks.




The side top Little Meru can be reached from Saddle Hut within 30 minutes (the photo shows the small group of houses to the left).

Those who find the climb to the main top too ardous might be very happy walking up Little Meru. The sunrise is as beautiful as from the top, and a special certificate is your reward.




Everybody wants to be at the top at sunrise. Therefore some get up already at 1am, most start at 2am. The usual walking time from Saddle Hut to the top is 5 hours.

My guide Peter knew my speed meanwhile and he accepted the start at 4.30am.

Plodding the final meters to the top we could see the mile-long shadow of our mountain.





We arrived at 7.20am.

My tutors looked with proud at their country's flag. Peter signed the book at the peak, mentioning are record time of ascend. "Strong man of Germany" they called me what made me smiling. However, Peter still found time enough to smoke his cigarette on the way up.




I am not sure about the exact distance to Kilimanjaro, it should be about 40 miles.

To the right of the main volcano Kibo, the side peak Mawenzi can be seen.

At the bottom the Momella Lakes lie in the back light.




Looking down to the secondary inner crater, to its left the flow of Lava, which was moving until 1910.

Little Meru in the background.

To be at the top early in the morning is advisable because until midday clouds usually gather around the top.




Even when walking back the glazed frost is not yet melted. During night we had to be careful scrambling over some frozen areas.




Views from the crater's rim go in all directions and are breathtaking.




At the following morning we proudly look back to our peak. We have been up there.


Arusha National Park  official site
DikDik Hotel, Arusha  Hotel with Swiss management and broad range of tours and game drives
Momella Lodge  luxurious Lodge at the border of Arusha National Park

also on this website: Kilimanjaro  Mount Meru  Arusha NP  Lake Manyara NP  Ngorongoro Crater

top                 2005  Uli Sauer, Witten

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