The surroundings are awe-inspiring, but inspire a lot of fear as well. To the left, the soft black volcanic sand slopes away at an almost 45° angle until, many hundreds of metres below, it plummets over a completely vertical cliff-face. To the right, the same steep open sand slope extends down to the tree line far, far below. An awesome experience, walking along a knife-edge ridge, as screaming winds threatens to blow you off your path down to the forest.
Meru is a spectacular volcano. Once upon a very long time ago, it rose higher than the Kilimanjaro, the legend says. However tall it once was, it certainly erupted sideways a few million years ago, leaving the northern, southern and western slopes intact, but obliterating the eastern slope of the volcanic cone. From above, Meru is now shaped like a horseshoe opening east, with a new tiny cinder cone forming in the bottom of the devastated crater, and huge cliffs extending up the crater walls almost to the summit. The crater floor and the lower slopes are densely forested, but the upper slopes are barren expanses of black volcanic ash and occasional massive boulders of lava.
Mount Meru is one of Africa’s most beautiful volcanoes, and it is the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4,5685m, the fifth highest in Africa. The mountain is located within Arusha National Park, Tanzania’s gem. This prime location gives walkers the opportunity to spot some of the birds and wildlife that inhabit the area. The ascend is quite steep, the route to the summit passes over streams, through parkland, montane forest, a giant heather zone and moorland. The summit is reached by a narrow, barren ridge, which provides stunning views of the Ash Cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater. Weather permitting, Kilimanjaro can be seen in the West. There are two huts available to climbers on the mountain and firewood is supplied. The best time to climb Meru is between October and February. But also June to September, while it is colder then.