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“A great hike, the perfect alternative to Kili” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mount Meru

Mount Meru
Arusha National Park | Mageso chember, Tanzania
254720650869
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Ranked #23 of 126 Attractions in Tanzania
Type: Mountains, Volcanos, Outdoors
Activities: Mountaineering, Hiking
Attraction details
New York City, New York
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A great hike, the perfect alternative to Kili”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2014

We did not have enough time to dedicate to Kilimandjaro, so we settled for Mt Meru, and did not regret our choice. We spent three days in a beautiful natural setting with amazing views over Kilimandjaro! The hike itself is not difficult but for a couple of rocky passages.
We chose the 3 days/2 nights alternative. 3 days is not an issue, unless you suffer from alternative sickness (which we did not).
The only issue is that, though you book a "private" trek with your own guide, cook and porters, you are actually not allowed to walk on your own: you must be accompanied by a ranger, and there are not enough rangers for everyone. Thus we climbed the first day in a group of approximately 20 people (all very nice, by the way, but still, that was not what we had expected). On the second day, we got to the second refuge as early as 11AM, so we insisted with our guide to go to the top on the same day (the classical trek is that you go on the third day, starting at 1AM, which we did not want). Our guide agreed and the ranger accepted to let us go from the second camp to the top without him. We had an amazing afternoon, walking in the wind, with clouds coming up from below and suddenly opening to reveal views over the crater, or over Kili (most beautiful sunset over Kili ever). And we were by ourselves at the top, which was great. We were back at the camp by 8:30PM. I recommend this solution if you prefer to be alone when hiking (otherwise you will have to follow everybody else on the third day).
All this made for a great hike. Our second day was tough, that's for sure, but very much worth it!

Visited January 2014
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54 reviews from our community

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Vancouver, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic hike with the Base Camp crew”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

We did the standard 3 night / 4 day hike up Mt Meru with a guide & cook & porters organised by Base Camp Tanzania. Our guide Noah was a quiet, fit, and very pleasant fellow who was good company for our time together. We got to meet our cook, assistant cook, and porters that Basecamp provided, and they were all a lot of fun.

The "huts" on the mountain you stay at are mis-named - "small villages" would be a better description! We were amazed at the facilities. The trail is beautifully maintained and extremely clean - we saw almost no litter on the entire trip.

People tend to focus on the summit, and yes the views from the top are great, and the sunrise we were fortunate enough to see from up there was nothing short of mind-blowing. But, the hike to the huts is a delight. Walking through the forest is very enjoyable, with amazing trees, flowers, monkeys etc. Low down on the hike you can see buffalo, warthogs, giraffe, etc. Even if you skip the summit and just hike up to the second hut (Saddle Hut) and return, you'll have a wonderful time. We saw folks doing exactly that.

We do a lot of hiking, and plenty in the mountains, still, the summit day was hard. Going to the summit involves a number of ups and downs, some on scree, and you're not really acclimatized so it's tough. Train before you leave for Tanzania, and on summit day go slow! There are no prizes for getting to the top first.

We met plenty of people on the hike who had done Killi, and the consensus was pretty simple. Meru is a much prettier hike. The forests are beautiful, the huts are amazing, the views are amazing. If you're in it for the hiking, do Meru. If you're in it to bag the highest peak, Killi is higher, so do Meru first and then immediately scoot over to Killi. We loved this hike and we'd do it again.

Visited September 2013
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Huddersfield, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
55 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Possibly a better hike that Kili?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

So everyone who goes to Tanzania heads straight for Kilimanjaro in order to hike, and this is understandable as it is a massive achievement as Africa's highest mountain. However, if you miss Mount Meru you are missing a truly fantastic trek.
We took 4 days to complete the trek, stopping in the two huts along the way. the huts are surprisingly big and as this isn't Kili they are also quieter.
We also climbed little Meru as an acclimatization walk which gave us a great view of what we would be climbing on summit night. The summit night walk is more challenging than climbing Kili as there is a lot of scrambling over rocks and the wind is much stronger. But it is worth the effort for fit walkers as the view from the top, looking across the valley to Kilimanjaro is magical.

Visited October 2013
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Leuven, Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Beautiful views and a good work-out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

This was an excellent trip! A bit strenuous for non-trained people, but defenitely worth it. The last steep stretch is during the second night (4-5 hours hiking) so that you reach the summit at sunrise. The sunrise and views of the Kilimanjaro were literally breath-taking!

We booked with Meru Mountain Treks and Safaris Ltd (http://merutreks.com/home.html): costs were $600 pp for 4 days, including an extra afternoon trip around the lakes of Arusha NP and one night in Rafiki lodge. A pretty sweet deal, all-in-all. One more positive thing was that the chef could make very nice vegetarian food for us. One negative thing was that the company did not provide us with a real guide, so that the ranger (who acted like a substitute guide on the first two days) had to arrange for someone to come with us to the summit. This guy was friendly but not very experienced and we raced up to reach the summit 45 min before sunrise, and then stood there waiting and freezing our *** off. Nonetheless, the trip of a life time!

We booked with Meru Mountain Treks and Safaris Ltd (http://merutreks.com/home.html): costs were $600 pp for 4 days, including an extra afternoon trip around the lakes of Arusha NP and one night in Rafiki lodge. A pretty sweet deal, all-in-all. One more positive thing was that the chef could make very nice vegetarian food for us. One negative thing was that the company did not provide us with a real guide, so that the ranger (who acted like a substitute guide on the first two days) had to arrange for someone to come with us to the summit. This guy was friendly but not very experienced and we raced up to reach the summit 45 min before sunrise, and then stood there waiting and freezing our ... off. Nonetheless, the trip of a life time!

Visited October 2013
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York, Pennsylvania
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Don't Miss Waterfall”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2013

There is a terrific waterfall in the Forrest Reserve nearer to the base of Mt. Meru. A group of us walked from Arusha to the waterfall, which on foot was pretty much of a full day trip. As we hiked our trail took us over one of the foothills to Meru that was incredibly beautiful. The land, even with its slope, was being actively farmed by the local Maasai, most of whom still live in traditional round, mud covered, thatch roofed homes. As we huffed and puffed our way up the hill, a number of women in sandals were carried large sacks of potatoes down the same trail toward Arusha. The men were tilling fields all around us.
Once you crest the hill, you start into the forrest reserve with some impressively large trees and then the hike suddenly takes you down a very steep trail into a ravine. At the bottom is a large stream (small river in the rainy season), which you follow some distance through tropical foliage to a large waterfall that cascades from a green covered heights far over our heads into a crystal clear pool. I am told there is often a rainbow over the falls, and an even larger falls if you are able to following the stream further up the mountain.
For anyone without the time to take the several day trek to the top of Mt. Meru, this is a shorter trek that will give you some idea of the majesty of the mountain.

Visited August 2013
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