Spirit of Kilimanjaro

Mount Meru Climb

A thrilling hiking adventure in the pristine wild

Magnetized by Mt Kilimanjaro, the hikers often overlook Mt Meru, the second highest peak of Tanzania. Towering over Arusha National Park, Mount Meru offers both an excellent warm-up exercise for Kilimanjaro, in addition to being a stunning trekking experience in the wild by its own right.

Mount Meru trekking is a real adventure. The slopes of this dormant (yet active – the last eruption was in 1910) volcano offer fascinating panoramic vistas and bustling wildlife around.

This volcano was “born” around 500,000 years ago, and its very first eruption virtually exploded its eastern side, creating its, peculiar appearance. In addition to that, Mt Meru has one of the deepest craters – over 1,500 meters!

Why Climb Mount Meru

There are several reasons to include Mount Meru into your Tanzania adventures list. Regrettably, this volcano is often outshadowed by Kilimanjaro – located in the immediate vicinity, it attracts more international hikers, thus making it a secondary hiking destination or a warm-up exercise. The majority of hikers, however, ignore it altogether.

We at Kilimanjaro 360 firmly believe that Mt Meru hiking is a great adventure by itself because of these reasons:

Reason 1 - Stunning scenery

Mount Meru features incredibly captivating scenic vistas. The trek to Socialist Peak (4566 m/14,980 f), traverses several climatic zones, offering diverse landscapes and unparalleled scenes for wildlife photography.

The views from the summit area of Mt Meru are truly rewarding – valleys, forests and meadows, all buried in lush verdure, and magnetizing view of the Kilimanjaro peak looming on a horizon will surprise even the most seasoned travellers.

Reason 2 - Rich wildlife

Nestled in Arusha National Park, Mount Meru is one of the few mountains of the world still densely inhabited by the wildlife, which freely roam on its slopes. The hikers are likely to experience multiple encounters with different animals, including buffaloes, antelopes, monkeys, giraffes and, with some luck in your pocket, even elephants.

Reason 3 - No crowds

Meru is not yet popular among hikers. During the high season, on the popular routes of Kilimanjaro (Marangu and Machame) there is a chance of “traffic jams”, something that you will never experience on the trails of Meru. For those who are seeking reclusive, tranquil hiking in the wild, Meru is a great choice.


Climbing Mount Meru is by far the most proven way to gain acclimatization for your Kilimanjaro adventure. As we explained in our article about the importance of high altitude acclimatization, it is the adaptation of your body to the heights (not your physical strength and stamina) that is critical for the Kilimanjaro success. Practically, the longer you stay at high altitudes, the better your body adapts. Thus, hiking Meru before Kilimanjaro is a good extra acclimatization boost for you, hugely elevating your Uhuru chances! In addition, Mt Meru trekking gives good insights into what it takes to be a member of a true mountain expedition. A minor of version of Kilimanjaro, it gives a glimpse into the “main mount” challenge, showing you what the future adventure will be like.

Reason 4 - Mount Meru hiking tour is affordable

In contrast to other hiking adventures, Mount Meru climb is quite an affordable activity. Because no tents are necessary (overnight stays on Mt Meru are in huts), the number of crew is small, reducing the travel costs. Therefore, for those with shrinking budgets, Meru can become a good and affordable alternative.

Reason 5 - Excellent addition for the safari tour

The wildlife of Tanzania is what attracts most of the visitors to the country. Tanzania has been voted the best destination for wildlife viewing several years in a row.

At the same time, flying over half of the world surely justifies having more diverse experiences. Thus, pairing your safari tour with a Meru climb may be an excellent idea to get the best of Tanzania.

Mount Meru Climb Expedition - Essential points

The key features of Mt Meru expedition:

You do not need special alpine skills or experience to take part. Together with Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru is a “hiking”, not climbing “mountain”. Neither ropes, nor ice axes or helmets are necessary – the trekkers reach the Socialist Peak (4,562 m/14,967 f) on foot, and for the majority of them, Mt Meru is the first mountaineering experience.
Ordinary fitness level is ok. Meru hiking does not require anything special – as long as you can comfortably walk up to 10 km/6 miles per day, you can do it. Trekking level there is moderate.

Acclimatization to altitude is important!

Do not take it lightly – the altitude of Mt Meru is serious enough to be the cause of altitude sickness. Follow these fundamental rules acclimatization:

  • Hike slowly (recommended pace is two times slower than your ordinary one)
  • Drink much water (3-4 liters per day)
  • Listen to your guide
  • Do not drink alcohol or too much coffee

The combination of these simple principles will make your Meru climb enjoyable, safe and successful.

The crew will take care of everything.

Under the TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks Authority), a qualified guide should accompany the hikers. The team of porters and cooks are responsible for carrying your luggage, camp organization, food preparation, etc.


 At Kilimanjaro 360 we believe that it is the crew that makes your adventure a lifetime experience. All our guides and porters are hand-picked, individually trained professionals. The guides have Wilderness First Responder/Wilderness First Aid certifications. They know how to act in times of emergency and how to make your experience with Kilimanjaro 360 a lifetime adventure.

Under the local customs, in order to promote employment, half of the porters crew should be hired from the Meru tribe, which live in the foothills of Mount Meru.

Overnight stays on Mount Meru are in huts only. In contrast to Kilimanjaro, where tented camping options are available on all routes but Marangu, on Mount Meru one should be ready to stay in huts only.

An armed ranger will be accompanying your party up to the summit camp. In order to make your stay in the wild safe and protect the animals from poachers, an armed ranger will be hiking with you up to Saddle Hut Camp (see itinerary below).

Mount Meru Climb - day-by-day itinerary

There is only one route leading to Socialist Peak – “Momella”. Three and four day hiking are available


If the schedule allows and you have not gained acclimatization on other mountains before (meaning that you have successfully climbed anything above 4,000m/13,123f and did not get affected by altitude sickness), we always recommend choosing a longer option. The more time you spend on Mount Meru – the more effectively your body adapts to the altitude, making the whole experience less stressful for it.

The Momella route approaches Mount Meru from the eastern face, moving up through the northern ridge to the peak.

The total trek distance is 45 km/27 miles.

Mount Meru Photography


Below we have shared a 4 day / 3 nights Meru climb but you can do it in 3 days / 2 nights which we do not recommend due to the long walking distance from Miriakamba Hut to the Socialist Peak and back all the way to Momella Gate.


Leaving early in the morning from your accommodation in Arusha or Moshi and driving to Momella gate in Arusha National Park.

Driving takes about 3 hours from Moshi and about 1 hr from Arusha. At the gate you will clear your trekking permits, meet up with your porters, guide, cook and game ranger, and start climbing.

You will pass open grassland which will give you a good opportunity to see buffaloes, warthogs and other grazers.

You will cross the Ngare Nanyuki River and continue climbing through mountain forest. There you will have chance to see many different kind of birds and black and white colobus monkeys.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Finally you will reach Miriakamba Hut where you will stay overnight.


Second day climbing is quite short but demanding. You will start early in the morning and ascent steeply through lush mountain forest full of birds to reach the halfway point of Elephant Ridge. There you can see the crater. After 3 to 5 hours climbing you will reach Saddle Hut where you will have lunch.

In the afternoon you will have another hiking to Little Meru (3794 m) for superb views before sunset. Then you will return to Saddle Hut for overnight. It is good to go to sleep early so that you get enough rest for the next day’s hiking.

DAY 3 : SADDLE HUT (3570 M) – RHINO POINT (3850 M) – PEAK ( 4566 M) – RHINO POINT (3850 M) – SADDLE HUT (3570 M) – MIRIAKAMBA HUT (2541 M) WALKING TIME: 10-12 HOURS

You will start climbing between 1 to 2 at night. The route is very steep towards Rhino Point (3850 m) and from there towards the summit along very narrow ridge. You will reach the mount meru summit, Socialist Peak, (4566 m) right at the sunrise.

The sceneries there are stunning; you will see Mount Kilimanjaro in close distance. After taking photos on the summit you will descent back to Saddle hut.
Note: On icy conditions or strong wind it is not necessarily possible to pass the ridge between Rhino Point and summit. You guide will decide if the conditions are not good enough to continue.


You will leave about at 8.00 in the morning and descent to Momella gate. You can choose longer or shorter route down. On the longer way down you have very good changes to see wildlife and the ash cone. Once at the gate, it’s time to tip your porters, guide, cook and game ranger. After that your transportation back to Moshi will be waiting for you.

3 Day Mount Meru Climb quick over view

Day 1: Arusha – Momella gate – Mariakamba Hut Drive 1 Hr, Hike Distance 10 km, 4 – 5 hrs, 1000m ascent, Altitude: 2516m

Drive to the Arusha National Park gate at Momella. For the first section of the climb through the lush forest, crossing the Ngare Nanyuki river to reach Miriakamba Hut at 8337ft/2541m for overnight stay. Dinner and overnight Mariakamba Hut.

Day 2: Mariakamba Hut to Saddle Hut
Hike Distance 4km, 2 – 3 hrs, 1050m ascent, Altitude: 3566m

Continue to ascend steeply through the pleasant forest glades and giant heather to reach Saddle Hut at 11,713ft/3570m.
From here it is possible to take a side trek to reach the summit of Little Meru 12,450ft/3794m and return to Saddle Hut in about 2 hours. Dinner and overnight Saddle Hut.

Day 3: Saddle Hut to Meru Summit to Momella Gate
Hike distance 5km ascent + 19km descent, 4 – 5 hrs ascent + 6-8 hours descent, 1000m ascent, Altitude: 4566m

An early start to reach Rhino Point and then on to the summit at 14,981ft/4566m to see the sunrise behind Mount Kilimanjaro, before descending back to Momella Gate to be met and transferred back to your hotel.
Drive 1 hr back to Arusha.

Items included

  • Transport to/from Arusha National Park
  • Overnight stays in mountain huts
  • Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
  • All Park fees
  • Rescue fees
  • All meals while on the Mountain
  • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
  • Large portions of fresh, healthy nutritious food
  • Clean, purified drinking water
  • Crisis management and safety procedures
  • Fair and ethical treatment of porters

Items excluded

  • Airport transfers ( can be included upon request )
  • Accommodation in Arusha  ( can be included upon request )
  • Tanzania Visa
  • Gratuity
  • Personal Expenses (e.g. laundry, telephone, beverages, etc.)
  • Meals not listed above
  • Optional Tours (short safari after your climb etc)

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