Soaring above Tanzania's Massai Steppe, Mount Meru is reputed to be a more exhilarating climb than nearby Kilimanjaro. A trek to Meru's snow dusted summit takes hikers along precipitous ridges and, in our case, within arm's reach of a grazing giraffe.
Mount Meru seen from Momella park gate at the start of the trek and below, the lower trail, through dense woodland.
Dawn view of the summit ridge from Miriakamba Hut and the breathtaking vista from Rhino Point as dawn breaks over Kilimanjaro.
The summit ridge with clouds boiling over the crater rim and below, Socialist Peak.
Trekking Guide to East Africa
Years ago the first edition of this Lonely Planet title just leapt off the bookshop display: Africa and mountains - the sleeve just conjured up so many exotic possibilities that I had to own it. It's now in its third edition.
Arusha NP & Mt. Meru Tourist Map
Forget T-shirts; for me it's "Been there, got the map." I can relive a holiday or climb, or go on a brand new fanciful adventure, just by poring over a map. This one is GPS approved, whatever that may mean!
My firm favorite is the Lonely Planet trekking guide (above) but it was first published nearly 20 years ago and has not been revised since 2003. So, I feel duty bound to suggest a more recent guide too:
Kilimanjaro the trekking guide to Africa's Highest Mountain: Includes Mount Meru & guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi & Dar-Es-Salaam
"Stedman is something of a Kili obsessive... and that shows on every page of this fully revised and expanded edition of his guide..." Trek & Mountain, March 2010
"A comprehensive and informative guide." Wanderlust magazine, February 2011
Swahili (Lonely Planet Phrasebook)
Portable, pocket-size and cheap, but packed full of useful phrases. Swahili is an uncomplicated language and Tanzanians are patient with beginners. Believe me, a few Swahili words go a long way.
'Power shower' on the decent.
All images © Jon Bigg. All rights reserved.