Type of Journey
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If you are a fan of mountain climbing but do not have the time or energy for the seven days climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru is a great option for you. Africa’s second-highest mountain peak (the first being Mount Kilimanjaro), it stands at over 4500 sq feet above sea level, situated over the Arusha National Park in Tanzania. While the Meru height seems easier to reach than Kilimanjaro’s, it is an arduous three-day climb, with fickle weather and altitude sickness a constant source of hindrance and worry.
What adds to the great experience of climbing Mt. Meru is the wide range of wildlife one is likely to encounter on the way. Because of its proximity to Arusha National Park, climbers are likely to witness a variety of animals and hence are always accompanied by a forest ranger. The hike in itself is a wonderful tourist experience, so the chances of encountering a stray elephant, giraffes or buffalos are quite high!
Hiking is hence hugely popular here, not just because of the animals but also because of the people and their culture that a hiker would witness along the way. As the climb progresses, hikers are allotted various kinds of huts along the way. The best part about the activity, however, is the view at the end. Mt. Meru’s peak sports one of the best scenic views in the world, an amazing sight that makes the entire journey worth doing twice over.
That is why Mt. Meru is a great option for climbers who don’t have the time to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the views they sport are truly magnificent. The Mount Meru climb takes half the amount of time as compared to the former.
Nearest airport-Arusha. Kilimanjaro is the nearest international airport.
How to reach –from Kilimanjaro by road or flight
Famous for –Trek/climb, Guided nature walks,
Best time to Visit –June to February
WHAT TO SEE
Mountain Hike, Guided nature treks
Picnic trails, Game drives in Arusha National
Bird watching, Cultural tours
Coffee tours, Canoeing
Views of Kilimanjaro
Before being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Mt. Meru was once a volcano. Worry not, because the last time it erupted was is 1910 and it hasn’t shown similar signs since then. Climbers do encounter mountain craters from time to time, which adds to the thrill of the hike.
There is a biblical belief that adds value to the experience as well. Some choose to believe that Mt. Meru was the place Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Great Flood ended. Makes the entire thing more fun, doesn’t it?
Mt. Meru usually experiences two seasons of weather, the dry season from June to September and the wet season from November to May. The weather on the mountain is usually quite cold but during the rainy season, it becomes extremely difficult to climb it, so tourists are usually advised to come during the dry season.
Mountain hike: Taking about 3-4 days long, hiking is the favorite tourist activity here. Hikers are accompanied by forest rangers since it is common to spot animals here, as this area comes under the purview of the Arusha National Park. Hikers are usually allotted huts during the 3-day trek, but the breathtaking view at the top makes the journey worth it.
Guided nature treks: Known for its lush green forests, Arusha is a great place to explore through a nature trek. There are several trails available to choose from including ones from Momella gate up to Itikoni; from Buffalo to Katong and many more.
Picnic trails: Hiking trails also include picnic trails on the way to the mountain where climbers get to enjoy local delicacies along with the sights they encounter on the hike.
Game drives in Arusha National: Arusha National Park offers up-close views of its amazing wildlife including waterbucks, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, elephants and hyena and a lot more, through game drives that can easily be arranged.
Bird watching: Known for its variety of birdlife, Arusha offers an amazing bird watching experience, where tourists get to witness birds like African Skimmers, Eagles, Flamingos and more, go about their life.
Like all other African destinations, Arusha is known for its rich indigenous culture and tourists get the chance to visit the locals, learn about their ways of life and collect handicrafts as souvenirs.
Coffee tours: The foothills and sloped of Meru are known for rich coffee plantations that form a vital part of the tourism here.
Canoeing: Another popular activity in Mt. Meru, Canoeing happens in the scenic Momella Lakes located within the park. They are also great places to see animals who visit the lakes for water.
Views of Kilimanjaro: The best part of the hiking experience is getting to see the view. But the most interesting part of the view is that hikers get to see the Kilimanjaro mountain from the top of Meru as well. This adds additional value to the tour, especially if climbers have signed up to hike both the peaks.
Where to stay:
Since the climb starts and ends in Arusha, the accommodation is arranged here. A popular tourist destination by itself, Arusha has amazing places to stay and enjoy your visit.
Arusha Coffee Lodge: With handcrafted furniture decorating the scenic plantation houses placed in acres of coffee plantations, the Arusha Coffee Lodge is only 3 km away from the Arusha Airport and within driving distance to the mountain as well. It is a great place to stay for those planning a combined tour of both Mt. Meru and Arusha National Park.
Serena Arusha: A hotel, resort, and spa, the Arusha Serena is a wonderful place to stay and offers the ultimate accommodation package. Situated 11 km away from the Mt. Meru waterfall, the former coffee plantation is an ideal location to plan your visit.
How to reach:
Air: By flight from Kilimanjaro to Arusha. And then drive down.
Rail: No direct rail connection.
Road: By road from Kilimanjaro takes approximately 60-75 minutes