Little Meru from Meru’s Summit Ridge
Meru is magical, an incomparable, experience. In no sense is it overshadowed by Kilimanjaro, its big brother 70 km to the east. An ascent on Meru is certainly not something to be taken lightly. The final ridge to the summit is steep and sharp and rocky, and at times those with a mild fear for heights will have a small challenge cut out for them. But at all times just remember that you are in extremely safe hands.
The ascent of Meru begins by crossing a beautiful lush green plateau where many wild animals still fearlessly roam. It is not unusual to be approached by a family of curious giraffes who will come close enough to be touched sometimes. Having crossed this valley the route begins to ascend steeply through beautiful indigenous forest, emerging at Miriakamba Hut, a clean and well maintained hut where overnight accommodation is in small four person dormitories.
One of many rests en route to Meru’s jagged summit ridge. It is a mistake to think of an ascent of Meru as an easy alternative to Kilimanjaro. Assault night is very challenging and requires considerable resolve and mental fortitude. For many breaking through the necessary mental barriers, resisting the temptation to give up and turn back, is a time of deep reflection and personal development. It is no exaggeration to say that for many the experience will change them for life and they discover reserves they never knew they had.
Shortly after leaving Momella Gate curious giraffes will often approach. Buffalo graze peacefully just yards from the trail.
Altitude is gained quite quickly on Meru’s first day. The vast plains seen here stretch across to the Kilimanjaro.
Miriakamba Hut, your beautifully sited home for the first night. This is nestled at the crater’s northern edge.
A late afternoon excursion from Miriakamba Hut into the crater’s centre. It is usual to encounter elephant at close range.
From Miriakamba the route soon attains the crater’s northern boundary ridge. Still densely forested the ascent from here is vivid and picturesque with breathtaking views at conveniently spaced rest points. We emerge at the top of this ridge onto a saddle from where we will usually climb Little Meru, an afternoon’s trek. From here the best views of Meru’s summit ridge are afforded and for those who will be unable to attain Mount Meru’s summit tomorrow morning Little Meru will have been a very respectable attainment indeed.
Sunrise over Kilimanjaro from Miriakamba Hut is often enjoyed with elephants that visit camp. Those really wanting to understand Kilimanjaro should climb Meru first. Your time spent on Kilimanjaro will tell you little about it’s shape and location whereas from Meru climbers gain a very thorough appreciation of and respect for Africa’s highest mountain.