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4 Day Mount Meru Route

M ount Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania, and many use it as a warm-up hike for climbing Kilimanjaro. Meru towers over the town of Arusha, which is where your Kilimanjaro, Meru, and safaris begin. Just like Kilimanjaro, you have to ascend through several different zones of vegetation to reach its summit. 

However, unlike Kilimanjaro, Meru has a lot more wildlife to observe as you ascend to its crater rim. Meru lies in the heart of Arusha National Safari Park. So along the trek, you may see monkeys, giraffes, elephants, dik dik, warthog, and water buffalo. If birds are your thing, then keep your eyes out for the Hartlaub turaco or the silver-cheeked hornbill.


We recommend booking your flight to arrive at least the morning before your climb starts or the prior evening. It is difficult to get a trip briefing and proper rest if you arrive the evening before your climb. JRO is 45 minutes from your lodging. We will pick you up from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and take you to your hotel. Or you can take a taxi.

At the trip briefing, we will make sure you have the required equipment, perform your initial health check, and that you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.

Meru: Day 1

4-6 hours · 6.2 miles · elevation: +3,330 ft.

Your adventure begins by checking into Arusha National Park before proceeding through the Momella Gate (4,921 ft.). The trek starts in the grasslands where you’ll view water buffalo, warthogs, and elephants. Shortly, you’ll begin a steady ascent through the montane forest. You’ll stop at the famous fig tree to enjoy your lunch. By mid-afternoon, you have closer views of Meru’s towering cliffs and Ash Cone. The Miriakamba Huts (8,250 ft.) are situated in an idyllic grassy glade, and you will reach them in time to enjoy the beautiful views over the surrounding plains. If you are lucky, a giraffe may walk through camp.

Meru: Day 2

3-5 hours · 4.9 miles · elevation: +3,460 ft.

It is often clear in the morning, which may make it possible to view Kilimanjaro. From the Miriakamba Huts, you’ll climb steeply to the crater rim, called Elephant Ridge. You’ll follow a steep path through lush montane forest to reach the giant heather in the Moorland region near the saddle between Little Meru and the summit. A hot lunch will welcome you to Saddle Huts (11,712 ft.). Your afternoon is free to rest and enjoy the views or make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (12,533 ft.).

Meru: Day 3

10-12 hours · 11.1 miles · elevation: +3,285 ft., -6,747 ft.

The summit push starts around 2 AM, It begins by climbing steeply for an hour to Rhino point (12,467 ft.). In icy conditions or strong winds, it may be unsafe to continue past Rhino Point, but sunrise from here is equally as spectacular as from Cobra Point. If the weather is fine, you’ll descend slightly and continue along or near a rough undulating ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (14,271 ft.). The stunning views include the cliffs of the crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley. As the sun climbs higher, the hike continues for another hour on a steep path to reach the summit of Meru (14,997 ft.). The view from the top is breathtaking.

Your hike back to Rhino Point between the crater’s sloping outer wall and sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Enjoy brunch and a well-earned rest at the Saddle Huts before continuing your descent to Miriakamba Huts where you will spend the night.

Meru: Day 4

2-4 hours · 6.2 miles · elevation: -3,330 ft.

You’ll descend rapidly on a slightly different route than you ascended. You’ll pass 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. You will reach Momella Gate by late morning. A vehicle will take you back to Arusha where it is time for celebration.

Meru Route Map


  • Transport to and from the hotel and trailhead
  • Private guide
  • Cook and porters
  • All Park, ranger fees, and taxes
  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • All food & water on the mountain
  • Certificate of achievement
  • Free storage of bags not needed on the mountain


  • Sleeping bags and other personal gear
  • Drinks
  • Trip insurance
  • Tips for porters, cook, and guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Hotel lodging the night before and the night after the climb (double occupancy)

Miles & Elevation