Many adventurers coming to Tanzania dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. However, there’s a spectacular trekking alternative just around the corner: at 4566 metres, the rugged cliffs of Mount Meru tower above Arusha National Park.
Hiking alongside giraffes and antelopes
The dormant volcano and its horseshoe-shaped crater impress with spectacular views and varied vegetation. But there’s more: since it is located within the Arusha National Park, Mt Meru is not only a favourite amongst trekking adventurers, but home to quite a number of wildlife! During the first two days of your climb, you might meet the likes of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes and colobus monkeys along the way. Not to worry – an armed ranger will accompany you on every climb. The higher you get, the fewer animals will cross your way once dense rainforest changes into moorland and naked rugged rocks.
Climbing Mount Meru despite fear of hights
It is often said that climbing Mount Meru serves as warm up and acclimatisation in the run up to a Kilimanjaro climb. And while this is very commendable, let’s face it, this will always be an endeavour for the very ambitious. The rest of us ordinary mortals take it one mountain at a time.
What’s more important, Mount Meru is also said to be less popular with the crowds and therefore giving you a more solitary hiking experience. But it is also ranked as technically more challenging than its big brother Kilimanjaro.
One person who will know is the Tanzania-Experience Operations Manager Andrew Cowie. He climbed both mountains! “Of course, it is physically demanding. You have to be fit and physically in good shape”, he says after his Meru-adventure. Mount Meru certainly has steep passages and especially towards the end, hiking along the crater rim towards Socialist Peak, you will benefit from hiking and climbing experience. “But your guide will tell you exactly when to look out for difficult passages and he is always there to lend a helping hand or words of encouragement. Despite my fear of heights, I felt 100% safe at all times”, says Andrew. “And the sunrise, even when not at the summit, is amazing!”
After a Mount Meru trek, you might just feel ready to tackle the next adventure and climb Kilimanjaro after all. For everyone else, the sandy beaches of Zanzibar are just a quick flight away.