Mount Meru Climbing Routes


How many routes are there to Climb Mount Meru, and which one is the best for inexperienced Climber?

Answer ( 1 )


    There is only route to Mount Meru and the Momella route is the only route up Mt Meru. It starts at Momella gate on the eastern side of the mountain and goes to the summit along the northern arm of the horseshoe crater.

    The route can be done comfortably in four days (three nights). Trekkers aren’t allowed to begin after 3pm, which means that if you travel to the park by bus you’ll almost certainly have to camp and wait until the next day to start climbing.

    While Meru is small compared to Kilimanjaro, don’t underestimate it: because of the steepness, many have found that Meru is almost as difficult a climb. And it’s still high enough for you to feel the effects of altitude, so don’t try to rush up if you’re not properly acclimatized.

    Day 1: Momella gate to Miriakamba Hut (10km, four to five hours, 1000m ascent) There are two routes, one long and one short, at the start of the climb. Most people prefer taking the mostly forested long route up and the short route down, so that’s how the trek is described here. And do watch out for buffaloes…

    From Momella gate, the road winds uphill for an hour to Fig Tree Arch, a parasitic wild fig that originally grew around two other trees, eventually strangling them. Now only the fig tree remains, with its distinctive arch large enough to drive a car through. After another hour the track crosses a large stream, just above Maio Falls, and one hour further you’ll reach Kitoto Camp, with excellent views over the Momella Lakes and out to Kilimanjaro in the distance. It’s then one final hour to Miriakamba Hut (2514m). From Miriakamba you can walk to the Meru Crater floor (a two- to three-hour return trip) either in the afternoon of Stage 1 or during Stage 4 (there is time to do it on the morning of Stage 2, but this is a bad idea as it reduces your time for acclimatisation), but you need to let your guide know you want to do this before starting the climb. The path across the floor leads to Njeku Viewpoint on a high cliff overlooking a waterfall, with excellent views of the Ash Cone and the entire extent of the crater.

    Day 2: Miriakamba Hut to Saddle Hut (4km, three to five hours, 1250m ascent) From Miriakamba the path climbs steeply up through pleasant glades to reach Topela Mbogo (Buffalo Swamp) after 45 minutes and Mgongo Wa Tembo (Elephant Ridge) after another 30 minutes. From the top of Mgongo Wa Tembo there are great views down into the crater and up to the main cliffs below the summit. Continue through some open grassy clearings and over several stream beds (usually dry) to Saddle Hut (3570m).

    From Saddle Hut a side trip to the summit of Little Meru (3820m) takes about an hour and gives impressive views of Meru’s summit, the horseshoe crater, the top of the Ash Cone and the sheer cliffs of the crater’s inner wall. As the sun sets behind Meru, casting huge jagged shadows across the clouds, the snows on Kili turn orange and then pink as the light fades.

    Day 3: Saddle Hut to Meru Summit and return (5km, four to five hours, 816m ascent, plus 5km, two to three hours, 816m descent) This stage, along a very narrow ridge between the outer slopes of the mountain and the sheer cliffs of the inner crater, promises some of the most dramatic and exhilarating trekking anywhere in East Africa. During the rainy season, ice and snow can occur on this section of the route, so take care. If there’s no mist, the views from the summit are spectacular.

    If you’re looking forward to watching the sun rise behind Kilimanjaro, but you’re not keen on attempting this section in the dark, the views at dawn are just as impressive from Rhino Point (3814m), about an hour from Saddle Hut, as they are from the summit, perhaps even more so because you’ll also see the main cliffs of the crater’s inner wall being illuminated by the rising sun.

    Day 4: Saddle Hut to Momella gate (5km, three to five hours, 2250m descent) From Saddle Hut, retrace the Stage 2 route to Miriakamba. From Miriakamba, the short path descends gradually down the ridge directly to Momella gate. It goes through forest some of the way, then open grassland, where giraffes and zebras are often seen.

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