Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list for a very long time, but I never expected that somewhere between climbing Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro I would have a life transforming experience that over the six day trek would change my outlook on life forever.
I really wanted to see Kilimanjaro at its least crowded. Given thousands of people climb it every year this was unlikely to happen, but the Rongai route seemed like the sensible choice as it comes from the North and avoids the main route of Marangu on the way up, which is used by large groups climbing the mountain for charity. All routes use this path to descend so that everyone gets to the national park gate. So on the way down I had chance to walk the incredibly busy route making us glad for my route choice.
Day 1 heading up to Simba camp, day 2 to Kikelewa Cave, day 3 to Mawenzi tarn hut and day 4 to Kibo before heading for the summit. This route allows for 2 days descent down the Marangu path to the main gate.
Heading off to climb two African mountains felt like a huge challenge, though mostly of the mind, as I felt confident that (minus potential altitude issues) I could cope with the physical challenge.
Mount Meru is the 5th highest mountain range in Africa, but was every bit just as challenging as Kilimanjaro which I would climb later. The walk takes 4 days to complete and as it is in the Arusha National Park all groups also require a park ranger (complete with rifle) as well as a guide and the team of porters.
I would definitely recommend this mountain to anyone who truly loves walking and is keen to do more than just Kilimanjaro. The walk is not difficult but the final night’s ascent is scrambly and much more technically challenging that what you will encounter on Kilimanjaro. So thankfully its not at the same altitude!
Back in March when I booked the trip of a lifetime to climb Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro it was on the basis that I couldn’t see the point of flying all the way to Tanzania and spending all that money, and only climbing one mountain. After all squillions of people have climbed Kilimanjaro (ok probably not that many but millions I bet), and its not hard to find lots of blog about people’s trips. So why not push myself a bit further and climb neighbouring Meru too?