Mount Meru - Tanzania
Mount Meru is an active volcano located 70 kilometres (44 miles) west of Mount Kilimanjaro. It reaches 4,566 metres (14,980 feet) in height but has lost much of its bulk due to an eastward volcanic blast about 8,000 years ago. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption about a century ago. The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity.
Mount Meru has a spectacular ash cone in her centre that has formed in the old crater. She is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park whose fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.
The mountain offers excellent views across to her big sister Mt Kilimanjaro and is an excellent climb either as a standalone trip or as an acclimatiser before tackling Kilimanjaro.
Mount Meru is one of Africa's most beautiful volcanoes and is the second highest mountain in Tanzania after Kilimanjaro at 4,5685m it is also the fifth highest in the whole of Africa.
The mountain is located in Arusha National Park, which gives trekkers the opportunity to see a lot of wildlife as they approach and climb the mountain. The ascent is quite steep in places and the route to the summit passes over a number of streams. As you ascend, similar to Kilimanjaro, you pass from the equator to what feels like the Arctic, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and desert uplands to snow and ice. The summit is reached by a narrow, barren ridge, which provides stunning views of the Ash Cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater. Weather permitting, Kilimanjaro can be seen in the West.
We offer private climbs at no extra cost and will work with groups or individuals to create the perfect tailormade holiday.
We are passionate about responsible tourism and every aspect of your trip, from transport and accommodation to staff policies, and how we behave on the climb will reflect this. Adventure Alternative was winner of the Responsible Tourism Award in 2009 in the Best Personal Contribution category.
We run our own company in Moshi at the foot of Kilimanjaro called Adventure Alternative Tanzania and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. We have operated in the region for many years and have taken thousands of people up Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru and on safari in Tanzania.
All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate, who has climbed Kilimanjaro over forty times and is a guide on Everest. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs. They all have the necessary KINAPA cards (Kilimanjaro National Park qualification).
We give our staff in excess of the recommended wage and we are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project). We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier. We also provide a development programme for the guides and cooks, including first aid training and regular visits from International Mountain Leaders to help improve service and mountain management.
Dates and Itinerary
Dates: Our dates are totally flexible and we can work with your own plans. Since we have our own team in Tanzania all year round we can offer any dates you prefer. We do ask that there is a minimum of two people in your party otherwise there would be a single supplement of £100 for a solo climb. If you are planning on climbing Mt Meru as an acclimatiser before Mt Kilimanjaro then you should aim to arrive into Tanzania 4 days before the advertised Kilimanjaro arrival date.
When to Climb – Peak seasons are traditionally January to March and June to October, and these are popular times to climb with temperatures in Moshi averaging 22 degrees C and summit temperatures around - 5 degrees C. The rains are in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has changed this pattern greatly. December is getting warmer again with clear skies.
Groups, such as charities or clubs, can easily create their own trip in the Booking Section and personalise any details according to their preference. The Booking Page becomes a live trip summary for any number of people in a group, and it allows our staff in Tanzania to monitor the arrangements.
In the itinerary below, the following indicators apply: ST = Starting altitude, HP = High Point for the day and SL = Sleep Level
|1||1500m||n/a||Arrival and transfer to your hotel in Moshi.|
|2||ST: 1500m HP: 2615m SL: 2615m||1hr drive 4hrs walk||After breakfast we depart Moshi at about 8:30am and drive to Momella gate. Here we meet our team and start the climb with a picnic lunch to the first hut called Miriakamaba hut. Dinner and overnight - Miriakamba hut|
|3||ST: 2615m HP: 3566m SL: 3566m||3hrs||After breakfast we will proceed with a climb to the second hut called the Saddle. This is a steeper climb compared to yesterday and takes about 2 ½hrs. During the afternoon, we can climb little Meru peak if everyone is feeling well which takes about an hour. Dinner and overnight at the Saddle hut.|
|4||ST: 3566m HP: 4566m SL: 3566m||5hrs||Wake up at mid-night and have a cup of tea and some snacks before starting our attempt of the main Meru peak. We will proceed to the summit via a rocky path and back to the Saddle hut for a full breakfast. The rest of the day will be spent resting with lunch, dinner and overnight at the Saddle hut.|
|5||ST: 3566m SL: 1500m||6 - 8hrs||Leave Saddle hut and descend down to Momella gate via our first hut (Miriakamba) where you will be transferred to Arusha/Moshi.|
|6||n/a||n/a||Onward travel or if you are climbing Kilimanjaro we will have a rest and briefing day and start the climb the following day.|
Mount Meru cost: £625.00
- 2 transfers from Moshi/Arusha to Mount Meru park gate -return
- 3 meals per day while trekking -Vegetarian/Non-Vegetarian
- 4 days Mount Meru trek
- 3 nights accommodation in huts while trekking
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Moshi B&B
- All park entrance fees and government levies
- English speaking mountain Guide and assistant guides
- Porters and cooks
- All group Equipment
- Personal equipment (see Kilimanjaro kit list)
- International Travel
- Additional drinks
- Lunch and dinners in Moshi
- Tips - paid in local currency only to Castro Capelo for distribution at exit gate
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
Many people do Mt Meru to acclimatise before climbing Kilimanjaro. If so you would meet up with the Kilimanjaro team when you return to Moshi.
Ngorongoro & Serengeti Lakes Safari : £695.00
4 day/3 night safari in luxury 4* accommodation at the Lake Manyara Lodge
Ngorongoro & Serengeti Lakes Safari : £595.00
4 day/3 night safari with accommodation in rooms at the Twiga Resort
Ngorongoro & Serengeti Lakes Safari: £495.00
4 day/3 night safari with accommodation in tents at the Twiga Resort
Not all about money
Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.
The climb is usually £695 but if you are doing it as part of a Kilimanjaro climb then it is discounted to £595
We include three support staff to each member plus one guide for every four members which is the Park requirement. We do not operate kitties and we use a very good hotel in town with which we have built up a strong relationship for the past ten years.
We have our own license to operate tours on Mount Kilimanjaro and are a member of the local Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators.
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.
You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 4600m (or 6000m if you are also doing Kilimanjaro), but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport.
Adventure Alternative is a member of AiTO (Association of Independant Tour Operators), which ensures complete protection for your money.
Type of Terrain
The drive to Momella Gate is along a very rough track once you turn off the road and into Arusha National Park, and it takes a 4WD to negotiate. The journey is several hours. Initially the trekking is much like a safari walk along easy ground and open forest, with an easy gradient up to the first hut.
All of the trails on the mountain are quite short and not of a difficult grade. Some people attempt to climb the mountain in two days but the Park authorities have made three days mandatory and recommend four days in order to acclimatise to the altitude.
On the summit there are some patches of open rock above Rhino Point which are not difficult but in heavy rain they might be slippery. Also, despite the markers on the rocks, it might be easy to miss the way in the dark. It is possible to climb the inner ash cone with a permit from the Park Ranger but this will take extra time and is generally only give to research scientists.
The entire climb and descent covers just over 35 kilometres
Day of Climb Start Level Daily High Point Sleep Level
Day One 1500m 2600m 2600m
Day Two 2600m 3600m 3600m
Day Three 3600m 4566m 3600m
Day Four 3600m 3600m 1500m
Day One: Miriakamba Hut
Day Two: Saddle Hut
Day Three: Saddle Hut
Day Four: Moshi Hotel
This is a non-technical trek of Mt Meru, but it offers a mountaineering experience all the same and high altitude to contend with. You will need to be fit and any regular hill walker will find this expedition within his or her capabilities. A training programme should include at least one hill walk a week with a small pack of around 10kgs, and regular visits to the gym or the swimming pool once a week for the final two months before departure. Age is not a limiting factor either; the secret of climbing Mt Meru is to go slowly and enjoy the scenery, drink well, eat well and sleep well. A regular, maintained pace will ensure proper acclimatisation.
Adventure Alternative Support
The staff will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs plus all the tents, kitchen equipment, food, fuel, tables and chairs. They will cater for all the group needs, providing excellent meals and putting up the tents. The guides will also brief you daily on the climb.
Castro Capelo is our operations manager in Moshi and Director of Adventure Alternative Tanzania. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is organiser, translator, problem-solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He talks to the guides every day on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are up high.
You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us.
- Strong, waterproof duffle bag or rucksack for your main gear
- Waterproof day sack of about 30 -40 litres for carrying your daily needs
- Sleeping bag rated down to -10° Celsius or more if you get cold easily
- Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily. Gore-Tex lined fabric boots are fine but not quite as warm as leather.
- Waterproof windbreaker and trousers, preferably breathable, with a hood and big enough to accommodate several layers beneath
- Down jacket or a heavy duty fleece for warmth especially on summit night
- Thermal underwear or long johns for summit night
- Balaclava or insulated warm hat, insulated gloves or mittens and thermal inner gloves
- Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
- Trekking clothes - trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
- Water bottle and/or camelback (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets (optional, iodine-based is fine)
- Head torch with spare batteries
- Trekking poles (especially useful for coming down from the summit)
- Personal wash kit – include a nail brush, moisturising cream, a small towel, tweezers, soap, nail clippers and wet wipes
- Variety of waterproof bags - for dirty clothes, sleeping bag and things to keep dry
- Personal first aid – include aspirin, Nurofen, plasters, Germolene, Immodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
- Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, 2 pin (round) plug adaptor, spare batteries for digital cameras, reading books, diary, pen
Additional Kit Info
Since you are staying in huts you do not need a sleeping mat.
You can rent equipment in Moshi directly from Castro and our guides. We do have some equipment in our store, but there are also many rental shops in the town. Prices vary, and you can bargain.
- We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which you can tailor at no extra cost.
- We have a 95% success rate to the summit.
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director, Mountaineer and Everest Guide
- We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
- All the staff in our UK office have climbed Kilimanjaro so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go up for the first time, before you go.
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Tanzania and Kenya in a real way. (include award logo).
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
- Financial security guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
- We are members on Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
- Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.