Tanzania’s second-highest peak is Mount Meru (4,566m) which is situated in the Arusha National Park. It is a volcano and has the classic cone shape associated with them. It was last active 100 years ago and is thought to have had a major eruption 8000 years ago which created the rich fertile soil in the region which support diverse flora and fauna.
Hikes and trekking are offered to the summit. The routes are often less crowded with trekkers than nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. The routes start on volcanic plains before wending their way through beautiful montane forests on the lower slopes, before giving way to alpine moorland dotted with lobelia plants. This in turn gives way to a volcanic desert and sometimes snow-covered peak. These different habitats are home to a variety of animals, including elephant, rhino, giraffe, monkey, baboon, klipspringer, warthog, duiker and leopard. Mount Meru boasts up to 400 species of bird, and the mountain is usually a fixed item on birders’ itineraries.
Many trekkers climb Mount Meru as a practice run for Kilimanjaro’s more challenging climbs. Mt Meru can be scaled in 3-4 days. It is both high and demanding enough to prepare climbers for the effects of altitude – without posing risks to health – and nights are spent in well-equipped huts. It is worth noting that beyond Miriakamba Hut point (2,514m) the climb up to Rhino Point is steep.