Mount Meru Climbing & Usambara Cultural Tour
Meru is a great preparation hike for climbing Kilimanjaro, or a spectacular trek for those not compelled to do Kilimanjaro. You will hike past wildlife, the landscape is spectacular, and sunrise on the summit has Kilimanjaro as the backdrop.
While typically done in only 4 days, it is not an easy peak to summit. To reach the top, there is some scrambling on rocks in the dark and at high altitude. You should be prepared for at least 10 hours of hiking on summit day. For an easier hike, you can climb just to Rhino Point for sunrise, and then descend.
Mt. Meru is in Arusha National Park. In Arusha National Park all hikers must be accompanied by an armed ranger in addition to the AWR guide. This ranger is employed directly by the national park. You will also have your own guide, who is managing the crew and watching out for your safety.
The park ranger has the authority to make decisions such as trail choices, pace, etc. Arusha National Park will combine groups of people to hike with one park ranger, therefore, well trained tour guides will lead you to the top
Arusha National Park requires the hire of porters specific to Arusha National Park, which will be assigned once you arrive at the trail registration.
Here are two other options to the popular 4-day trek, in brief: The Meru itself is 4 days of trekking then will be transferred to the Usambara Mountains for 4 days Cultural trek across the village’s forest and nice landscape while experiencing traditional way of living of the Washambaa people.
To Miriakamba Hut
1500m / 4900 ft
to 2500m / 8200 ft
4 hours hiking Starting from Momela Gate, the track passes through open grassland with cape buffalo and warthogs. With luck, you may also see giraffe and elephants. Continue a steady climb through montane forest. You can have your lunch at the famous “Fig tree”. After lunch, the trek continues through less dense forest, where there are lots of birds and monkeys including the black and white colobus. By mid-afternoon, there are the first close views of the towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. Miriakampa Hut, situated in idyllic grassy glade, is reached in time to enjoy the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro.
DAY 2To Saddle Hut
2500m / 8200 ft
to 3500m / 11,700 ft
4 hours hiking The walk from Miriakampa Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a a steep sustained climb all the way. Starting through beautiful and lush montane forest, the path continues beyond the halfway point of Elephant Back Ridge and carries on uphill through the giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut and lunch. In the afternoon, you can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3820 m / 12,533 ft) for superb views. It takes about 1 hour to walk up and 30 minutes to walk down. The ascent is 1056 m / 3465 ft.
Summit and down to Miriakamba Hut
3500m / 11,700 ft
to 4566m / 14,980 ft
Down to 2500m / 8200 ft
5+ hours hiking up 3+ hours hiking down to Saddle Hut and 2+ hours to Miriakamba Hut. Summit day has an early start at around 12:00AM. There is a 1 hours steep climb to Rhino Point (3800m / 12,467ft), then the path continues along a ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4350m / 14,272ft). The summit of Socialist Peak (4566 m) is an hour more on a steep path wih magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. Depending your speed, you can enjoy sunrise at Cobra Point or the summit. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley. The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light along a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Brunch and a brief rest is taken at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut.
NOTE: For an easier climb, you can start the trek at 05:00 A.M., hike for about 1 hour, and enjoy sunrise at Rhino Point before going back to Saddle Hut for breakfast and then descending.
NOTE: In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point.
To Moshi 2500m / 8200 ft
to 1500m / 4900 ft
2+ hours hiking There are two ways down from here. You can descend the route you came up or walk down the jeep road, which descends to the lower crater floor. You pass through the well-known Fig Tree Arch and can visit an impressive waterfall hidden in a ravine not far from the road. A fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. Momela Gate is reached by late morning. Overnight at your hotel in Moshi or Arusha.
Day 5: Usambara Trek
Transfer to Usambara Mountain- The Galapagos of Africa. Arrival and check inn in the Tumain Hostel, Visit Tourism information Center for briefing on the trekking, walking on your own in town.
Day 6: Usambara Trek
After breakfast at the hotel, start walking with your packed lunch through the villages uphill to the Magamba rain forest and sleep over night at Papaa Moze Lodge in Lukozi. This is the day of trekking through the natural forest, home of black Columbus monkey, chameleons on the way and nice landscape. The lodge is basically local sharing the toilet but very clean
Day 7: Usambara Trek
Trekking through the villages of Manolo, Sunga, farming areas and spend the night at Rangwi sisters convent - lovely landscape and a chance to interact with the locals in traditional villages and learning traditional local way of living, visiting traditional irrigation practices by the shambaa. Accommodations are basic sharing the toilets
Day 8: Usambara Trek
Trekking through the villages, to pottery village for the workshop and along the escarpement of the mountains to Mtae – World class (The world class view point is because you will view about 180 degree over the Tsavo west Kenya and Kilimanjaro), The name of the local guest house is Mwivano Guest house, This is basically local sharing the toilets but other Optional can be Mamboviepoint lodge see www.mamboviewoint.org with extras costs of $60 per person. Lunch with Ernest family well known for best serving lunch, however our sheaf is travelling along with group throughout
Day 9: Usambara Trek
Catch the Private transport back to Lushoto at 4.30am, Descending from Magamba 4 hours to Irente biodiversity reserve for Lunch, down here brown bread cheese and all local made products is made by this unique farm.