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 sickness.
Visitors spend a fist night at Miriakamba Accommodation Centre (2500m). From Momella Gate to Miriakamba There are two routes; Southern and Northern routes.
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 pearl, etc.
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 Gladiolus.
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.
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 tevolutum.
The ascend of Little Meru is possible even during the afternoon
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 Accommodation Centre.
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.