Nights: Hotel: 2; Huts: 3
Recommended days on trek: 4 – 5 days
Kilimanjaro Bliss: 4 day tours
Minimum days on trek: 3
Scenery: Very Good
Traffic: Low – Medium
Stating point: Arusha
Day 0: Your arrival in Arusha. Airport Pick-up and transfer to hotel. Meeting with your guide.
Day 1: Arusha – Momella Gate (1500m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m) 10km
In the morning, you will be collected from your hotel and driven to Arusha National Park, Momella gate. (a 45min. drive from Arusha). Here you will have about a one hour wait while your guide completes the mandatory entry forms. During this time, you can peruse the information boards, which will give you lots of information about the Park and region, or if you are starting a little later you can eat your picnic lunch. Once the paperwork is completed, and the hiking team are ready, an armed park ranger will assemble you, along with other hiking groups to begin your hike. You will get a first glimpse of the wonderful giraffes and buffalos, as you cross the open plain. Once you have left the buffalo herds and giraffes behind, you will enter the acacia forest in which you will follow the Southern Route. After a steady 2-hour climb, you will reach Maio Falls and some picturesque meadows that are a perfect place for a picnic. After a rest, you will again be on your way and soon reach the well-known ‘Arched Fig Tree’. Here your park ranger will tell you about the formation of this tree and how it gained its shape forming an arch over the path. After another 1½ – 2 hours, you will reach the Miriakamba Hut. Here you will be allocated a room (each room sleeps up to four people) You will receive a bowl of hot water for washing. Your expedition cook will have afternoon tea ready for you, followed by an evening meal before you retire to your room for a well-earnt rest.
Day 2 Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Saddle Hut (3550m) 6km
In the morning, after breakfast you will leave the Miriakamba Hut at about 08:30. The hike follows a steep track with wooden steps. The gain in elevation, will make it noticeably cooler, than on the previous day. This will make the hike appear to get easier, as you will be less drained by the African heat. Clouds which are part of the mountains micro-environment often linger in the rainforest, give a mystical appearance to the mountain, and intensify the lushness of the vegetation. Approximately 2 hours into the hike, you will reach the vantage point ‘Mgongo wa Tembo’ (Elephant back) at an elevation of 3200m, where you will enjoy a well-earned break. A few step up the trail from here you will find a well-placed washroom. Continuing upwards from here the vegetation changes from rainforest into a bush land, before reaching the Saddle Hut (3550m) at midday. Your cook will have lunch ready by the time you have settled into your room and enjoyed a wash. There will be time for a relaxing break, and socializing with other hikers. Later in the afternoon, you have the option of a making a side trip to Little Meru (3820m). This delightful peak takes approx. 1 – 1 ½ hours to reach and on a clear day provides you with stunning views of Arusha National Park, and of Mt Kilimanjaro (approx. 80 km away). On your return to Saddle hut, an early warm dinner will be served, and your guide will prepare you for the night hike, beginning between 12 – 2am up to the summit.
Day 3 Saddle Hut – Socialist Peak (4562m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500m) 5km up, 13km dowm
After an early start with tea and biscuits, you will leave for the summit between 12:00 – 02:00am. You will make your way up the trail by torchlight, zig-zagging through bush land to Rhino Point (3821m) After this point the path is a little exposed as it descends a little, before again ascending. This downward section is a little more challenging for many, especially in torch-light, because it requires an occasional light climb, and a head for heights. Following this the trail alternates between dark purple/black lava ash and volcanic rock along the north ridge to the summit. It is a steep slog upward, which is made more challenging by the increasing altitude. It should be hiked slowly, to avoid altitude sickness. After approx. 4 – 5 hours, you will reach the summit exhausted and elated from the upward journey through the night. The Tanzanian flag and name plaque for this summit, also known as the “socialist peak” mark the highest point. Depending on the time you reach the summit, you will be able to enjoy the sun rising above Kilimanjaro and the fantastic view of Mount Meru’s crater with its steep sides and the “Ash Cone” in the middle. Be sure to bundle up now that you are not hiking, as you will cool down quickly, in addition to a cool breeze. You will descend along the same route back to Saddle Hut (3550m). You will be tiered, but be sure to take photographs as you descend now that it is light. Your guide will happily take photos for you. You will arrive back at Saddle Hut before lunch, where you will take a well-deserved break and recuperate with hot soup and tea. Once refreshed, you will continue with the descent. During the early afternoon, you will reach Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – tired but happy. At this hut, you can finally relax, enjoy the evening meal and sleep.
Day 4 Miriakamba Hut (2500m) – Momella Gate (1500m) 10km
After breakfast, you will descend via the ‘Northern Route’, a 2 – 3hour hike back to your starting point, Momella Gate. The descent is shorter than the ascent, but there is still a chance to see elephants, buffalos, giraffes, as well as the black and white Columbus monkeys. At the gate, you will say farewell to your ranger and hiking crew (be sure to tip them for their service before you leave). Your driver will take you back to Arusha for lunch. Let us know at the time of booking, if you would like an afternoon driving safari in Arusha National Park, so that we can schedule the timing of this. This is a great opportunity for GEOCACHERS to seek some of the many Geocaches and Earth caches located in this park.
If you are also planning to hike Kilimanjaro, we recommend that you take a rest day in Arusha to allow your legs (knees) time to recover from the steep descent coming off Mt Meru, and time to send clothing to laundry (be sure to check it will be ready the same evening). Various local visits, and soft activities can be arranged by your guide.
Mt Meru difficulty Note:
As stated above, the majority of the hike is relatively easy going, with steep trail in places. The night ascent to the summit stage contains a few short, exposed sections, some of which have a chain rope to provide some security on these semi-climbing passages. A good head for heights and sure footedness are necessary for this final ascent to Mt. Meru Summit. Those wishing to hike on Mt Meru as part of an acclimatization hike for Mt. Kilimanjaro, but not wishing to make the full summit ascent, due to the exposed sections, will find equal enjoyment in the ascent to ‘Little Mt. Meru’.
In adverse weather conditions (heavy rain, icy rocks and paths or thick fog) the park ranger may call off the hike to the steeper, exposed Meru summit. We do not advise climbs in the rain season (April and May).
HIKE START TIMES (Strictly enforced): There are set hiking start times from Momella Gate, which are scheduled to avoid conflicts with the wildlife in the park. The start times are strictly between 9:00am and 3:00pm. If you plan to hake Meru in 3-days, you will need to start your hike by 10:00am on the first day. Especially if you plan to take the 10km “long road” route up to Miriakamba Hut.
- Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport
- 2-nights hotel accommodation in Arusha at either end of your stay.
- National Park gate fees
- Hut/camping fees
- Transport from Arusha to starting point on mountain and return to Arusha
- Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides for all routes
- Hiking support team (Cook, assistant, porters)
- Emergency Communications systems
- Emergency First Aid kit, including: Emergency Oxygen, pulse-oximeter, stethoscope.
- Daily altitude acclimatization check-ups.
- Rescue fees within Park
- 3 meals daily on the mountain
- Tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and eating utensils
- Boiled / filtered water on the mountain. (Plastic water bottles are not permitted in the Park, so please be sure to bring and fill up your reusable water bottle on the first day of the climb).
- Group Mess Tent with table and chairs.
- Private group toilet.
- Travel insurance
- Tips for guides cooks and porters
- Personal mountain equipment (boots clothing and sleeping bag)
- Lunches, dinners, drinks at your hotel in Arusha
- Laundry (available at the hotel)
I was impressed by Aristarick, one of our guides. He was very helpful, motivating and knows a lot. Thanks to him we made it to the top.
It was clear from the start of the expedition that Ari was very professional indeed. Above all though was his passion for Tanzania. If you are planning a trip to Tanzania for a trek up Kilimanjaro or a Safari, then I highly recommend this guy. He will look after you very well indeed.
Ari of Kilimanjaro Bliss was an amazing host. We had signed up to do our climb to the top of Kilimanjaro with Kilimanjaro Bliss and got so much more than we expected. Ari and his crew took great care of us on the seven days that we took to get to the top and back down again. The food was incredibly delicious and the crew were awesome. It was an amazing adventure and we made it back a day early, so we decided to do a safari to Tarangire National Park.
We were blown away with the great lengths the team went through to, not only make us comfortable, but make us feel like royalty. Meals were better than I have had in 5-star restaurants. Although summit day was tough, the journey getting there will be what I remember best. I miss the team already!