Mount Meru Trek, 4 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arusha/Moshi – Miriakamba Hut
Start from Momella Gate (1,500 m/4,921ft.) in late morning, the track soon passes some open grassland, and have some game viewing. You can see Buffalo, Warthog, and Elephants, etc. and then continue as a steady climb through montane forest. You can have your lunch at the famous “Fig tree”. After lunch the trek continues through less dense forest, where there are a lot of birds and monkeys including the black and white Colobus. By mid afternoon, there are the first closer views of the towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. MIRIAKAMBA HUT (2,514 m/8,248ft.), situated in idyllic grassy glade, is reached in time to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro. It takes about 4 to 6 hours walking. Ascent is 1,014m/3,326ft.
Day 2: Miriakamba – Saddle Hut
The walk from MIRIAKAMBA HUT to the saddle below Little MERU is a short day but a steep sustained climbing all the way. Starting through attractive, open and lush montane forest, the path continues beyond the halfway point of Elephant ridge and carries on uphill through the giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach SADDLE HUT (3,570m/11,712ft) and lunch. The afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views. The ridge is now very obvious and it can be seen curving away and up to the summit, although it is still a long way. There are good views down into the crater, with the ash cone rising in the center. The path is a little exposed as it traverses the rocky ridge, with fine views across into Kenya and the Maasai Hills. The summit is reached after 5–6 hours. The descent follows the way up (it is tempting to go down the other ridge to make a traverse, but this is strictly forbidden) for energetic ones, can make the short climb to the nearby summit of LITTLE MERU (3,820m/12,532ft) for superb views just before sunset. It takes about 3 – 5 hours walking. The ascent is 1’056 m. SADDLE HUT is similar to MIRIAKAMBA but water is collected from a stream about 10 minutes away.
Day 3: Saddle Hut – Summit – Saddle Hut
An early start at around 0200 hrs to climb steeply to RHINO POINT (3’800m/12467ft) the path continues along an undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350m/14271ft.) at around sunrise. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley if the weather is clear. The summit of Socialist Pak (4,566m/14,980ft) is an hour more on a superb but often steep path. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light along a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa.
NB: In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point. Sunrise from here is equally as spectacular as from Cobra Point.
Day 4: Saddle Hut – Arusha/Moshi
A fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. Momella Gate is reached by late morning. It takes about 2 to 3 hours walking. Descent 1,014m/3,326ft.
There are two ways down from here. You can descend the route you came up or walk down the jeep road, which descends to the lower crater floor. You pass through the well known Fig Tree Arch and can visit an impressive waterfall hidden in a ravine not far from the road. Your car will be waiting at the gate to return you to your hotel.