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
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
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
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
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 –
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
The ascend of Little Meru is possible even during the afternoon.
4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary –
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
4 Days Mount Meru Climbing / Trekking Itinerary –
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 $ 1200. per person
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
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
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
- Children under the age of 16 years are not allowed to go beyond
- 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
- 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 should hire porters from registered / licensed
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 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
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
- 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
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: -
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
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.
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 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
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
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.
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.