Mt Meru Trek 4 Days And 3 Day Budget Safari
Mt Meru is both an excellent mountain to hike as either an acclimatization hike in preparation for hiking Mt Kilimanjaro, or as a stand-alone option for those with less time available, or those on a smaller budget. It should not however, be considered as an easier option, for it is equally, if not more challenging in some aspects. While most of this hike is relatively easy going, with steep trail in places, the night ascent to the summit from Saddle Hut, contains a few short, exposed sections.
These now have a chain rope to provide some security on this exposed section. A good head for heights and sure footedness are necessary for this final ascent to Mt. Meru Summit. Those wishing to hike on Mt Meru as part of an acclimatization hike for Mt. Kilimanjaro, but not wishing to make the full summit ascent, due to the exposed sections, will find equal enjoyment in the ascent to ‘Little Mt. Meru’ The total hike is 46km and can be hiked in 3 days, but is usually hiked over a period of 4 days.
What's Included?What’s Included in our Tanzanian Hiking Tours:
• Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport or to/from the stops of the shuttle buses from Dar Es Salaam or Nairobi to Arusha.
• 2 nights hotel accommodation in Arusha at either end of your stay.
• National Park gate fees
• Hut/camping fees
• Transport from Arusha to starting point on mountain and return to Arusha
• Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides for all routes
• Hiking support team (Cook, assistant, porters)
• Armed Park ranger
• Emergency Communications systems
• Emergency First Aid kit, including: Emergency Oxygen, pulse-oximeter, stethoscope.
• Flying Doctors coverage
• Daily altitude acclimatization check-ups.
• Rescue fees within Park
• 3 meals daily on the mountain
• Tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and eating utensils
• Boiled / filtered water on the mountain. (Plastic water bottles are not permitted in the Park, so please be sure to bring and fill up your reusable water bottle on the first day of the climb).
• Group Mess Tent with table and chairs.
• Private group toilet.
Destination CoveredArusha National Park, Moshi, Mount Meru, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park
Best SuitedAll, Budget, Groups
Day 0 : Your arrival in Arusha. Airport Pick-up and transfer to hotel. Meeting with your guide.
Day 1 : Arusha - Momella Gate (1500m) - Miriakamba Hut (2500m) 10km
In the morning, you will be collected from your hotel and driven to Arusha National Park, Momella gate. (a 45min. drive from Arusha). Here you will have about a one hour wait while your guide completes the mandatory entry forms. During this time, you can peruse the information boards, which will give you lots of information about the Park and region, or if you are starting a little later you can eat your picnic lunch. Once the paperwork is completed, and the hiking team are ready, an armed park ranger will assemble you, along with other hiking groups to begin your hike. You will get a first glimpse of the wonderful giraffes and buffalos, as you cross the open plain. Once you have left the buffalo herds and giraffes behind, you will enter the acacia forest in which you will follow the Southern Route. After a steady 2-hour climb, you will reach Maio Falls and some picturesque meadows that are a perfect place for a picnic. After a rest, you will again be on your way and soon reach the well-known ‘Arched Fig Tree’. Here your park ranger will tell you about the formation of this tree and how it gained its shape forming an arch over the path. After another 1½ - 2 hours, you will reach the Miriakamba Hut. Here you will be allocated a room (each room sleeps up to four people) You will receive a bowl of hot water for washing. Your expedition cook will have afternoon tea ready for you, followed by an evening meal before you retire to your room for a well-earnt rest.
Day 2 : Miriakamba Hut (2500m) - Saddle Hut (3550m) 6km
In the morning, after breakfast you will leave the Miriakamba Hut at about 08:30. The hike follows a steep track with wooden steps. The gain in elevation, will make it noticeably cooler, than on the previous day. This will make the hike appear to get easier, as you will be less drained by the African heat. Clouds which are part of the mountains micro-environment often linger in the rainforest, give a mystical appearance to the mountain, and intensify the lushness of the vegetation. Approximately 2 hours into the hike, you will reach the vantage point ‘Mgongo wa Tembo’ (Elephant back) at an elevation of 3200m, where you will enjoy a well-earned break. A few step up the trail from here you will find a well-placed washroom. Continuing upwards from here the vegetation changes from rainforest into a bush land, before reaching the Saddle Hut (3550m) at midday. Your cook will have lunch ready by the time you have settled into your room and enjoyed a wash. There will be time for a relaxing break, and socializing with other hikers. Later in the afternoon, you have the option of a making a side trip to Little Meru (3820m). This delightful peak takes approx. 1 - 1 ½ hours to reach and on a clear day provides you with stunning views of Arusha National Park, and of Mt Kilimanjaro (approx. 80 km away). On your return to Saddle hut, an early warm dinner will be served, and your guide will prepare you for the night hike, beginning between 12 - 2am up to the summit.
Day 3 : Saddle Hut - Socialist Peak (4562m) - Miriakamba Hut (2500m) 5km up, 13km dowm
After an early start with tea and biscuits, you will leave for the summit between 12:00 - 02:00am. You will make your way up the trail by torchlight, zig-zagging through bush land to Rhino Point (3821m) After this point the path is a little exposed as it descends a little, before again ascending. This downward section is a little more challenging for many, especially in torch-light, because it requires an occasional light climb, and a head for heights. Following this the trail alternates between dark purple/black lava ash and volcanic rock along the north ridge to the summit. It is a steep slog upward, which is made more challenging by the increasing altitude. It should be hiked slowly, to avoid altitude sickness. After approx. 4 - 5 hours, you will reach the summit exhausted and elated from the upward journey through the night.
The Tanzanian flag and name plaque for this summit, also known as the “socialist peak” mark the highest point. Depending on the time you reach the summit, you will be able to enjoy the sun rising above Kilimanjaro and the fantastic view of Mount Meru’s crater with its steep sides and the “Ash Cone” in the middle. Be sure to bundle up now that you are not hiking, as you will cool down quickly, in addition to a cool breeze. You will descend along the same route back to Saddle Hut (3550m). You will be tiered, but be sure to take photographs as you descend now that it is light. Your guide will happily take photos for you. You will arrive back at Saddle Hut before lunch, where you will take a well-deserved break and recuperate with hot soup and tea. Once refreshed, you will continue with the descent. During the early afternoon, you will reach Miriakamba Hut (2500m) - tired but happy. At this hut, you can finally relax, enjoy the evening meal and sleep.
Day 4 : Miriakamba Hut (2500m) - Momella Gate (1500m) 10km
After breakfast, you will descend via the ‘Northern Route’, a 2 - 3hour hike back to your starting point, Momella Gate. The descent is shorter than the ascent, but there is still a chance to see elephants, buffalos, giraffes, as well as the black and white Columbus monkeys. At the gate, you will say farewell to your ranger and hiking crew (be sure to tip them for their service before you leave). Your driver will take you back to Arusha for lunch. Let us know at the time of booking, if you would like an afternoon driving safari in Arusha National Park, so that we can schedule the timing of this. This is a great opportunity for GEOCACHERS to seek some of the many Geocaches and Earth caches located in this park.
If you are also planning to hike Kilimanjaro, we recommend that you take a rest day in Arusha to allow your legs (knees) time to recover from the steep descent coming off Mt Meru, and time to send clothing to laundry (be sure to check it will be ready the same evening). Various local visits, and soft activities can be arranged by your guide.
Mt Meru difficulty Note:
As stated above, the majority of the hike is relatively easy going, with steep trail in places. The night ascent to the summit stage contains a few short, exposed sections, some of which have a chain rope to provide some security on these semi-climbing passages. A good head for heights and sure footedness are necessary for this final ascent to Mt. Meru Summit. Those wishing to hike on Mt Meru as part of an acclimatization hike for Mt. Kilimanjaro, but not wishing to make the full summit ascent, due to the exposed sections, will find equal enjoyment in the ascent to ‘Little Mt. Meru’.
In adverse weather conditions (heavy rain, icy rocks and paths or thick fog) the park ranger may call off the hike to the steeper, exposed Meru summit. We do not advise climbs in the rain season (April and May).
HIKE START TIMES (Strictly enforced): There are set hiking start times from Momella Gate, which are scheduled to avoid conflicts with the wildlife in the park. The start times are strictly between 9:00am and 3:00pm.
Day 1 :
Your guide will pick you up from your accommodation at 08:00. The journey to Manyara from Arusha is a scenic two and half hour journey. On route, you will experience a variety of colourful scenic and vegetation changes, with Maasai grazing their cattle and goats along the roadside
Following a box picnic lunch, you will enjoy an afternoon game drive. Later in the afternoon you will transfer to the Ngorongoro Conservancy Area, where you will watch the African sunset, enjoy local cuisine, and spend a relaxing evening at your accommodation.
Accommodation: Simba campsite
Meals Included: Box Lunch, Dinner
Day 2 :
After breakfast, you will descend into Ngorongoro crater for a days game drive with picnic lunch. Ngorongoro is a world UNESCO heritage site, in which wildlife and pastoral Maasai exist alongside one another. In this stunningly beautiful area your guide will seek out the best locations for you to see ‘the big five’, and if you are lucky a black rhino. Following your game drive you will enjoy the local cuisine, and spend a relaxing evening at your camp.
Accommodation: Simba Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 :
Enjoy freshly brewed Tanzanian coffee as you eat breakfast. You will drive to Tarangire for a full day game drive. Tarangire Park you will be treated to a stunning diversity of landscapes, rolling hills, Acadia and Baobab trees. The Tarangire river winds it way through the park, providing watering holes around which wildlife gather during the dry season. This lush park is home to the largest population of African elephants, impala, giraffe, lions and approximately 500 species of birds.
Late afternoon you will be driven back to Arusha, arriving at your accommodation around 6 pm.
Mt. Meru is a stratovolcano, which up until its last eruption in 1910, was very active. Approximately 8,000 years ago, Mt. Meru was higher than Mt. Kilimanjaro. At that time, the entire eastern flank of Mt. Meru was blown away by a massive volcanic blast. This left Meru with a huge caldera on it eastern side, from which lava erupted and flowed, forming many lava cones. These give the mountain the distinctive appearance and character that it has today. Officially, Mt. Meru, is still considered an active volcano, last erupting with a small eruption in 1910, but has no sign of life recently.
Flora and Wildlife
The ascent up Mt Meru passes through many different vegetation zones. The dry forest of the lower region gives way to a dense mountain rainforest, which then turns into a scrubland. As the flora changes the wildlife does so too, making this a diverse and impressive hiking experience. Due to the presence of big game and leopards, it is obligatory that every tour be accompanied by an armed park ranger. The experience of walking past giraffe, elephants, and buffalo as they feed off the drier scrubland plants in the lower zones, and then entering the rainforest with monkeys feeding and swinging in the trees, makes this tour as much a walking safari as a mountain ascent. In the rainforest, you will be treated to the sight of giant plantain leaves, the smelling sweet Jasmine, as it blooms, along with many other sensory treats. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation consists of heath and moorland. After Rhino Point the vegetation is replaced by volcanic rock of shades of brown and red, creating a stunning baron alpine desert.
Those hikers who also like to Geocache, you will find an Earth-cache at the summit, and Geocaches hidden around Arusha National Park, leading you to some of the most scenic locations. Our guides are Geocache friendly, and will happily stop while you hunt.
• Arusha Accommodation final night night
• Game drives in 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser
• Accommodation, double or triple occupancy during safari
• Breakfast and dinner at hotel and Picnic Lunches during safari
• Wifi access at most locations
• National Park gate fees
• Ngorongoro Crater car supplement fee
• Serengeti supplement fee
• Flying Doctors coverage (emergency evacuation only)
• 18% Tourism Tax.
Not Included Hiking :
• International Flights
• Travel Visas
• Travel insurance
• Tips for guides cooks and porters (see below)
• Personal mountain equipment (boots clothing and sleeping bag) We will send you an equipment list!
• Lunches, dinners, drinks at your hotel in Arusha
• Laundry (available at the hotel)
*Recommended Tipping Amounts per day
• Per main guide – US$20-25 per day
• Per assistant guide – US$15-20 per day
• Per cook – US$15 per day
• Assistant cook – US$12-15 per day
• Per porter – US$10-12 per day
Not Included Safari in price :
• Alcoholic and soft drink beverages at the hotel
• Cultural Tour Fee (unless specified in itinerary)
• Laundry service
• Tips (see Tip Rates below)
• Personal Travel and Medical insurance
• Flights /visas
• Arusha NP 1/2 day driving safari
Cost of additional services:
• Additional Cultural tours $50 per person per extra tour
• Arusha NP 1/2 day driving safari $75pp
Safari Tip Rates
These Rates are only a basic guideline however feel free to tip more if you feel that the service you have received merits it.
Driver / Guide $15 - $30
Cook (if on budget safari) $10 - $15
Hotel Staff $1
* Price based on 2 people sharing
Ask us about pricing for other size groups.
- Booking: A non refundable deposit of 30% of tour price is required for booking
- Payment: Credit card payment available with a 5% fee
- Purchaser pays all Wire Transfers fees
- Balance is due 30 days prior to tour.
Trip Cancellation Terms and Conditions:
We reserve the right to alter the itinerary and daily route plan of safaris in order to manage accommodation reservations and environmental considerations.
Cancellation by us: We recognize the inconvenience of trip cancellations and endeavor not to cancel on our guests. However, should we have to cancel your safari or climb we will:
a) notify you of cancellation or changes.
b) sub contract your safari or climb to a reputable company and provide you with written notification of new details.
c) In the event that your tour is completely cancelled we will refund you the cost of the tour payment made by you to us.
Note: Cancellations due to circumstances beyond our control, such as environmental conditions, civil unrest, travel advisories are not covered under section c) conditions.
Cancellation by You: The trip deposit of 30% of your trip cost is NON- REFUNDABLE. If you cancel your safari or climb prior to 30 days before the departure date the balance of your trip will be refunded to you less a $50 management fee. Cancellation within 30 days of your trip will result in no refund of monies paid.
We recommend that travelers purchase trip interruption and medical insurance.
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