OPTION TWO: Mount Meru Climb - 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS
OPTIION ONE: Mount Meru Climb - 3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS  
   
OPTION TWO: Mount Meru Climb - 4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS
 

Mount Meru Over view

Mount Meru is sub-Sahara Africa’s third highest mountain. Meru’s last minor eruption occurred around 1877. Since then activity has been negligible, with small tremors occurring occasionally.

The crater wall of Mount Meru was ruptured by a series of violent explosions a quarter of a million years ago. These explosions may have been caused by the vent becoming blocked or by water from a crater –lake seeping into it. This caused the whole eastern wall of the crater to be blown away.

A mass of water, mud, rocks and lava cascaded down the eastern side of the mountain across the Sanya Plains almost as far as Moshi covering the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru comprises two peaks. The Big Meru (4,562.13 m AMSL) and little Meru (3,820m AMSL). The crater floor is at 2,400 m AMSL and the Ash cone rising from the floor is at 3,667 m AMSL.

The cliff between the summit and Ash cone of Mount Meru is 2,000 m AMSL in height and is one of the tallest cliff in the world. Mount Meru’s lower, inhabited slopes rise gently to 2,100 m AMSL and then sharply to the summit, giving an overall rise of thirty degrees compared with only eight degree on Mt. Kilimanjaro. The heath on Mount Meru begins at 3,000 m AMSL. Mount Meru’s bush land zone is dominated by Erica arborea and stoebe kilimandscharica shrub with form thickets four meters in height. It requires 3-4 days to conquer Mount Meru summit. The park recommends 4 days trekking Mount Meru to allow for acclimatization and to avoid high altitude sickness.

Accessibility

The Park is easily accessible from Arusha city, Moshi town and Kilimanjaro International Airport. It is about 32 kilometers Arusha and 40 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary – Day 1

Momella Gate (1500m) to Miriakamba (2500m)
Visitors spend a fist night at Miriakamba Accommodation Centre (2500m). From Momella Gate to Miriakamba There are two routes; Southern and Northern routes.

Southern route (road): takes 5 hours walk from Momella Gate to Mariakamba Accommodation Centre. Though this route, visitors have chances to see almost all mammals found in the forest including hornbill, Hartlaub’s turaco and birds of pray. It is possible to see several species of butterflies such as Mocker Swallow tailed, Soldier commodores, Blue Swallow tailed, Golden winged forester, Emperor, Mother of pearl, etc.

Visitors will pass through the montane forest where different features such as the Fig Tree Arch, Maio Waterfall, and different kind of vegetation such as Wild mango, Africa olive, Strangler Fig and Wild elder could be seen. At about 2300m the higher montane forest begins. Common trees are Juniper and Podo. The common beautiful wild flowers are Empetient species, Red hot pocker, Orchids, Fire ball lily and Gladiolus.

Northern route: Takes between 3-4 hours from Momella Gate to Mariakamba Accommodation Centre. This is the shorter and steeper route. Along this route the views of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Momella Lakes are spectacular. Common mammals along this route are Cape Buffalo, Maasai giraffe, Warthogs, Bushbuck, etc. Present birds are Hartlaub’s turaco, White Fronted Bee Eaters, Fiscal Shrike, Tropical Boubou, Stone chat, variable sun birds and Olive pigeon. Common beautiful wild flowers are Red hot pocker, Blue violet, Cynium, Tubalosum and Gladiolus.

4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary – Day 2

Miriakamba to Saddle Accommodation Centre (3,750m)
It takes 3-4 hours. Along this portion of the route visitors do enjoy the spectacular view of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Momella Lakes, Meru crater, Ash cone, Mt. Meru diff and the little Meru. Though the forest, common animals include Buffalo, Bushbuck, Elephant, Block and Black & White Colobus.

Attractive wild flowers such as Empetient species, Red hot pocker, Orchids, Fire ball lily, Gladiolus, Giant Lobelia, Everlasting flowers (Helcrysum, Senecio and Alchemilla). Common Shrubs are Erica arboreas, Stoebe Kilimandscharica, Leonits nepatifolia, mosses and Lichens. The trail takes the visitors through striking tree species such as Hygenium abyssinica, Nuxia congesta, Podocarpus, and Hypericum tevolutum.

The ascend of Little Meru is possible even during the afternoon.

4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary – Day 3

Saddle Accommodation Centre to Summit
Takes 5-6 hours. This is the place where visitors enjoy the most views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, little Meru, Meru Crater Ash cone, Momella Lakes, Cliff face, Meru summit, Ngorongoro crater highlands, Arusha town, sunrise and sunset.

Klipspringers and mountain Redbucks are seen over rocks. Birds like White naked raven, Beareded vultures, Lammerger, Stone chat, Cliff chat, Alpine swift, can be seen in this higher elevations. While walking along the trail to saddle it is possible to step on wild flowers like Alchemilla, Helicysum, and Iris flowers. The start for the summit is made early in the morning. After reaching the summit at 4566m visitors do walk all the way back to Miriakamba Accommodation Centre.

4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary – Day 4

Miriakamba to Momella Gate
Visitors who went Through the shorter route while ascending, can descend via the longer route or vice versa. Hurrying-up while going down is not advisable. Please take your time to enjoy scenic beauty as well as occasional sightings of game.

Price: US $ 780. per person

 


Price includes:

2 transfers from Moshi to Momella gate – return.
3 meals a day while trekking – vegetarian / non vegetarian.
4 days Mount Meru trek.
3 nights accommodation in huts while trekking Meru Route.
2 nights hotel accommodation bed and breakfast in Moshi before and after climb.
All park entrance fees and government Levies.
English speaking mountain guide and assistant.
Porters – Minimum 2 per client.
First Aid Kit including Oxygen Kit.

Tourist accommodation Facilities in the park.

Park accommodation facilities

Public campsites: Nos. 1,2 and 3, Special campsites: Ltikoni, Ngongongare Spring and Nasula. Rest House: Three self-contained rooms with two beds each. Kitchen and cooking utensils are available. Mountain accommodation centers: (Miriakamba 96 beds and saddle 72 beds) Clean flush toilets and showers are available at both centers.

Private accommodation facilities

Momella Wildlife Lodge: 150 beds (self contained rooms) and one suite. Hatari Lodge: 8 beds (self contained rooms). These are several other hotels and lodges outside the park including the famous Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge.

Park Rules and Regulations

Conditions And Regulations for Mont Meru Climbing.

- Every climbing group must be led by an armed TAAPA ranger / guide.
- Tourist are advised to always take advise from the park ranger / guide, as they know more about the local conditions on the mountain than you do.
- Always go as a group, avoid ascending or descending by yourself.
- Climbing to the Ash cone is not allowed unless visitor has a valid permit from the Director General of Tanzania National Parks.
- All climbers are required to bring their own climbing gears.
- Children under the age of 10 years are not allowed to go beyond Miriakamba hut.
- Children under the age of 16 years are not allowed to go beyond saddle hut.
- Convenient time to start the summit ascend is 02:00 am, during day time it is not advisable to ascend.
- Ascending through the route (southern route) shall only start before 10:00 am for 4 or more days climbers.
- Leave the park undisturbed by not introducing or removing anything, whether animate or inanimate.
- Tourist are required to bring with them all necessary food and water for drinking and cooking for 4 days or more.
- Follow official routes / trails only, when you are walking in the forest. It is easy to get lost. Never go alone if it can be helped.
- Litter disfigures nature. Ensure that everyone in party picks, brings back, or disposes of it at places provided.
- Do no light, or cause a fire to be lighted. Be particularly careful of live lit cigarette butts.
- TANAPA will only deal with properly registered tour companies that have a current / valid TALA license.
- All climbers are supposed to organize their trip through licensed tour operators.
- Tour operators should hire porters from registered / licensed Porters Associations.
- The entry permit is to be used and is valid for 12 hours only.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS AROUND MOUNT MERU.

The following attractions are worth to visit.

Serengeti Ndogo.

The name which means the ‘’Little Serengeti’, describes the open grassland, a place in the park where various animals in large numbers can easily be seen such as buffaloes warthogs, zebras, waterbucks, giraffes, etc.

Ngurdoto Museum.
This is a place in the park where stuffed and mounted mammals, birds and insects are found. The building overlooks the Ngurdoto natural forest, the home of the Black and white Colobus monkey.

Ngurdoto Forest.

There is a large variety of tree species in this area. For identification purposes, labels have been attached to some dominant trees species such as Wild Mango Tabernaemontana usambarensis, Bersama abyssinica, Rauvolfia caffra, Olea capensis (Cape olive) etc.

Ngurdoto Crater.

The Ngurdoto volcano is now extinct. But from the pear-shape of the present-day crater it seems that towards the end of its activity there were two cones lying very close together. When the molten rock below the cones withdrew to deeper levels, the cones were left without support. They then collapsed forming the present crater, or more properly, a caldera, just like a miniature Ngorongoro. The crater rim comprises five view points namely: Mikindu, The Rock, Buffalo, The Glade and Leitong. Leitong is the highest point approximately 1824m AMSL. From this point the snowy peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Momella Lakes and agricultural settlement can be seen. Due to the damp misty atmosphere here, mosses, ferns, orchids and lichens flourish. Inside the crater, one can see wild animals especially groups of resident buffalos.

Lake Longil.
Lake Longil is the only fresh water lake in the park, where fish like Tilapia species are found. Buffaloes and waterbucks can be seen also around the lake. In this lake, there are Papyrus and Mace reed floating as islands and changes their positions following the wind directions.

Momella Lakes.
The Momella lakes are largely fed from under-ground streams and are nor very deep. They are alkaline which means they are very salty and animals do not use them for drinking. The lakes contain very few fish but many micro-organisms can grow in the highly alkaline water. Because of their different mineral contents each lake supports a different type of algal growth and this gives each a different color. Migratory birds can also be seen in the lakes.

Tululusia Hill.
Tululusia means a look out point, this implies that Wameru and Waarusha used the hill as an observation point during tribal wars. The trail around Tululusia Hill, enables to encounter several excellent campsites and a dense forest. Tululusia View Point provides an excellent view of the lower areas of Arusha National Park, Mount Meru and the majestic Kilimanjaro. Also animals like elephant, buffalo, colobus, monkeys, red duiker, suni, Leopard, python and others are likely to be seen.

Fig Tree Arch.

From Tululusia the next striking feature is the Fig Tree Arch (Ficus Thoningii). This tree was formed when foraging birds in the fork of a host tree dropped seeds of the fig which grew to an arch. This distinctive arch is large enough for a ca (elephant size) to drive through.

WALKING SAFARI (Day Hikes) AROUND MOUNT MERU

Today, walking safari is one of the popular tourism activities within Arusha National Park. Here, this activity means “Nature’s afoot”. Walking Safari offers unusual recreational opportunities, environmental education, sense touch of nature increased public respect and appreciation of conservation activities.

This activity eliminates the monopoly of the traditional way of viewing nature while confine in a van, and allows visitors to have direct touch or closer watch of cultural treasures.

The following are existing nature trails and estimated time to lake you deep into the park.

- Momella gate to ltikoni, then descend back to Momella gate (4 hrs).
- Kitoto View Point to Njeku View Point then descend through Meru Crater back to Kitoto View Point (4 hrs).
- Momella gate to Tululusia Waterfall back to Mome gate (4 hrs).
- Momella gate to Campsite no. 3 via Tululusia Waterfall, Campsite no. 1 and Campsite no. 2 (3 hrs).
- Ngurdoto Crater Rim walking trail.
- Laitong – Buffalo (5 hrs) descending.
- Buffalo – Laitong (6 hrs) ascending.

ATTRACTIONS ALONG HIKING ROUTES.
Ngarenanyuki River (Engare Nanyokie).

Meaning: A Maasai word for brown a tea color water. This color is not observed in the park but 4 kilometers down the village as the river collects water from the streams which contain brown water.

Sources:
The sources of the Ngarenanyuki River is up the high Montane forest and Meru Crater below Njeku View point about 2500 meters a.s.l.

Organism living / Uses the river: Frogs, Crabs and Birds utilize the river for living. No fish found in the river. The river contains brackish water (perhaps above 9 ph), which is not suitable for fish life. Other uses: Wild animals and domestic animals use the water for drinking and wallowing. Otherwise large quality of water is being used by community living adjacent for irrigation if vegetable and cereal crop farms. Domestically, water from Ngarananyuki River is used for various purposes except for consumption. The amount of fluoride contained may affect teeth and bones of growing children.

The”Uwanja wa Mbogo” (Buffalos Glade)

This open area is a natural glade consisting of marsh, bushes and streams. It attracts animals such as Buffalos, Warthogs and Giraffes. The first two species spend their day-light hours grazing, resting and wallowing in the present mud-holes. These two species can coexist in the area because of the following reason: -
Defense Mechanism.

Buffalos and Warthogs are always found in this glade grazing together. Warthogs use buffalos biomass and number against its natural enemies, by Spending most of its time near buffalos.

Warthogs have good eyesight and are always On the alert. When an enemy is sensed Warthogs would run while holding their tails up In the air, a posture that signifies danger both To other Worthogs and Buffalos. This Phenomenon can be observed as one walks Towards the glade.
Feeding Facilitation.

Buffalos as pioneer species in the context of Feeding facilitation. They tend to feed on long grass and in the process make it shorter and therefore accessible to Warthogs which are adapted to grazing while resting on their callused knees. Scientific reasons behind this feeding posture are yet to be known.
Tululusia Waterfall.

Its height is approximately 28 meters (84ft). Because the volcanic material is soft it is being eroded by the waterfall leaving behind a gorge (narrow sided valley). The steep gorge walls provide nesting sites for Red-winged starlings. You can cool your body there after a long hike. Photos around this around environment are usually spectacular.
Tululusia Hill.

Tululusia means a look out point. Wameru and Waarusha used the hill as an observation (vantage) point during tribal wars. The trail around Tululusia Hill will take you through a dense forest and excellent campsites. Tululusia View Point provides spectacular view of the lower areas of Arusha National Park, Mount Meru and the majestic Kilimanajaro. Sightings of animals such as Elephant, Buffalo, Colobus, Monkeys, Red duiker, Suni, Leopard, Python and other more, are likely during the walk.

Fig Tree Arch.
Fig Tree Arch (Ficus thoningii) was formed when Seeds of the Fig were dropped by foraging birds in the fork of a host tree. Germination took place and the fig’s aerial roots slowly reached the ground and strangled the host tree resulting in its eventual death, leaving behind the fig tree. The distinctive arch is large enough for a car (elephant size) to drive through.

Lower Montane Forest.

Lower Montane Forest is rich in species diversity and can be uncounted around public campsites 1 and 2 to ltikoni special campsite. The most prominent tree species in the forest are Wild Fig (Ficus thoningii). African Olive (Olea Africana), East African Yellow Wood (Podocarpus gracilior), African Pencil Cedar (juniperus procera). Other unique attractions are troops of black and white colobus monkeys that are often seen feeding on tree leaves. Unique among the primates, the colobus monkeys have given up their omnivorous habits and live entirely as vegetarians. They have evolved complex digestive systems along the way to deal with the high fibre diet of leaves. Their croaking call of “horr, horr, horr” can be heard through the forest before a crashing black and white fur advertises their presence completely.

One of the most beautiful birds in the forest is the Hartlaub’s Turaco which has a white patch above and in front of its eyes, a dark bluish crest, and is purplish black with striking crimson wings. It draws attention to itself by its loud croak call, similar to that of Colobus Monkey. Other common birds are silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Mountain Greenbul, Stonechat, Olive Pigeon, Bar Tailed Trogon and Olive Thrush.

Kitoto Camp / View Point.
This wide open space overlooks the forest and give a spectacular view of the Momella Lakes, plains beyond and Mt. Kilimanjaro. In this area, vegetation has become open health-land characterized by the green bush known as Erica arborea, Grey Bush (Stoube kilimandscharica) and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum revolutum) a shrub that has bright yellow flower, and Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia thomsonii) with a yellow to flame-red flower belonging to the lily family.
Meru Crater.

Leaving Kitoto View Point, a narrow trail leads up through the forest to Njeku View Point. At this point, there is a superb scenery of the Ash-cone and the crater. There is a platform located on a high point overlooking the waterfall in the gorge of Ngarenanyuki River. Njeku refers to an old woman who has the power of rainmaking. In times of drought, the Meru people would make a sacrifice to their God at the base of a juniper tree which stands nearby the open Crater Floor. This trail continues to the open floor of the Meru Crater. Rising up like clawing talons within the crater wall, is the ash-cone. Here also gets an exquisite view of the Mount Meru diff face. This is one of the highest cliff faces in the world (2000m from the crater floor). Soaring on updrafts from the crater, you might be lucky enough to catch sight of the rare Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer), With its narrow angled wings, diamond shaped tail and rusty-buff neck and underparts. This large and distinctive bird of pray will lift bones high into the air and drop them onto a rock in order to break the bones to extract the marrow.

NB: Armed guide is necessary for comfortable and safe hiking.

 
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