Mount Meru

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mt. Meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4566m (14,979 ft), although it is overshadowed by Kilimanjaro, its famous neighbour, and frequently overlooked by trekkers. But Meru is a spectacular classic volcanic cone, and well worth a visit. A trek to the summit involves hiking through the grassland and lush forest on the mountain's beautiful lower slopes, followed by a dramatic and exhilarating walk along the knife-edge rim of the horseshoe crater.

Meru was formed by volcanic action like most of the mountains in the region associated with the creation of the Great Rift Valley. The circular wall of the crater was broken by subsequent explosions to make today's horseshoe shape, and more recent volcanic activity has created the ash cone that stands inside the crater. Small eruptions have been reported in the last 100 years, indicating that Meru is still not quite extinct. The local Waarusha who live in the area regard the mountain as sacred. Every year a bull or sheep is sacrificed and offered to the mountain to ensure rain in the coming season. It is most likely that local people have been visiting the forest and even the area on the crater floor for generations. It is not known whether anybody ever reached the summit. The eposed nature of the effects of altitude would probably have deterred causal curiosity.