4 Day Hike of Mt. Meru
Day 1) Transfer from Arusha town to Arusha National Park, check in with park personnel, and in the late morning, walk under the Momella Gate to begin your trek. You soon pass some open grassland where you can view buffalo, warthogs, and elephants. Then, you continue a steady climb through Montane forest. You can pause for your lunch at the famous Fig Tree. After lunch you, continue through less dense forest, where you can see birds and monkeys, including the black and white Colobus. By mid afternoon, you have closer views of Meru’s towering cliffs and Ash Cone. The Miriakamba Huts are situated in an idyllic grassy glade, and you will reach it in time to enjoy the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains between Meru and Kilimanjaro.
Day 2) It is often clear in the morning, so if you want a view of Kilimanjaro, get up early. From the Miriakamba Huts, you climb steeply to the crater rim, which is called Elephant Ridge at this point. Then, you follow a steep path through attractive open lush Montane Forest to reach the giant heather in the Moorland near the saddle between Little Meru and Meru. A hot lunch will be ready for you when you arrive at the Saddle Huts. Your afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views, but energetic trekkers can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3,820 m/12,533 ft) for superb views just before sunset.
Day 3) Start early at 2 AM, and climb steeply for an hour to Rhino Point (3,800 m/12,467 ft). In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be unreasonable to progress beyond Rhino Point, but sunrise from here is equally as spectacular as from Cobra Point. If the weather is fine, descend slightly and continue along or near a rough undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4,350 m/14,271 ft) near sunrise. The stunning views include the cliffs of the crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley. Hike for another hour on a superb but often steep path into the unfolding day to reach the summit of Meru. The view from the top of this steep-sided peak can make you feel quite unique and suspended. Your hike back to Rhino Point in the still sharp morning light between the crater’s sloping outer wall and sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Enjoy brunch and a well-earned rest at the Saddle Huts before continuing your descent to the Miriakamba Huts where you will spend the night if you are on the 4-day itinerary.
Day 4) Taking a slightly different route, make a fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back toward the crater and over the plains of the national park. You will reach Momella Gate by late morning. Remember to tip your guides and porters! A vehicle will take you back to the Hotel in Arusha where it is definitely time for celebration!