Climbing Kilimanjaro is possibly the Number #1 Bucket List Adventure in the world, and deservedly so. Africa’s highest mountain is one of the Seven Summits after all, and while many of us will never get to conquer Everest in Nepal, Denali in Alaska, or Carstensz Pyramid in Western Papua, Mount Kilimanjaro is within everyone’s reach.
The beauty of Kilimanjaro is that it is not a technically challenging mountain, and so you don’t need ropes, crampons or mountaineering equipment to successfully climb it. That said, it cannot be compared to a hiking holiday in Europe, and no matter how well-trained you are, you could still succumb to the effects of altitude.
One way to limit this, is by training for Kilimanjaro at elevation. This can difficult if you live at sea level, or in a country with few mountains to climb, which is why many people choose to travel Tanzania early, and prepare for their expedition to the Roof of Africa by climbing Mount Meru first.
Mt. Meru is a dormant stratovolcano located in the heart of Arusha National Park, just 50 miles west of the iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro. Reaching 4,565m high, it is a mighty peak in its own right, and while it often gets overlooked by hikers who dream of reaching Uhuru Peak, it is the perfect warm-up trek, with challenging ascents and a stunning display of wildlife.
Mount Meru Expeditions generally last 5-days, so they tag on perfectly to Kilimanjaro Expeditions, and if you are lucky enough to have secured two or three weeks off work, you can end your adventure with a few days on Zanzibar, where the only thing you have to do is sit back, relax on the white sandy beaches, and order another cocktail.
Here’s a brief overview of a standard Mount Meru itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive Arusha / Afternoon Briefing with Guide / Dinner & Overnight
Day 2: Transfer to Arusha National Park / Hike from Momella Gate to Miriakamba Hut
Day 3: Hike from Miriakamba Hut to Saddle Hut, visiting the summit of Little Meru along the way
Day 4: Early Morning Summit Attempt / Return to Saddle Hut for Lunch / Hike down to Miriakamba Hut for Dinner and Overnight
Day 5: Hike from Miriakamba Hut to the gate / Transfer to Arusha / Overnight or Departure
You will walk up to 6 hours per day during the first 2 days, up to 12 hours on summit day, and then around 3 – 4 hours on your last day on Mount Meru.
If this doesn’t have ready for Kilimanjaro, we don’t know what will!