Suppose you plan to pick up hiking and climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and one of the Seven Summits. In that case, you might wonder how to prepare for this challenging adventure.
Climbing Kilimanjaro requires good physical fitness, mental stamina, and proper acclimatization to high altitude. While there are many ways to train and prepare for Kilimanjaro, one of the best options is to climb another mountain in Tanzania before attempting the big one. And that mountain is Mount Meru.
At a height of 4,562.13 meters (14,968 feet), this mountain is visible from Mount Kilimanjaro on a clear day and is the fifth-highest mountain peak in Africa. So, this blog post will explain why Mount Meru is the perfect warm-up for Kilimanjaro and how it can help you physically and mentally prepare for your ultimate goal.
Why Mount Meru is the Perfect Warm-Up for Kilimanjaro
Physical and Mental Preparation
Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, but it is not a walk in the park either. It requires good physical fitness, as you will be hiking several hours a day, carrying a backpack, and dealing with steep slopes and rocky terrain.
You will also need to cope with the effects of high altitude, such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. According to some estimates, about 50% of climbers fail to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro due to altitude sickness or other reasons.
Therefore, preparing yourself physically and mentally before attempting Kilimanjaro is essential to travel safely. One of the best ways to do that is to climb Mount Meru first. Mount Meru is a challenging yet manageable climb that will test your endurance, strength, and stamina. It will also give you a taste of what it is like to hike at high altitude and help you acclimatize to the thin air.
Starting with Meru treks could get you physically and mentally ready to take on Kilimanjaro. You will learn how to cope with the cold, the wind, and the lack of oxygen. You will also gain confidence and motivation for your next challenge.
Similarities to Kilimanjaro
Another reason why Mount Meru is a perfect warm-up for Kilimanjaro is because it has many similarities to its bigger brother. Both mountains are located in Tanzania, near the border with Kenya.
Both mountains are stratovolcanoes that have three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira for Kilimanjaro; Kibo (also known as Socialist Peak), Mawenzi (also known as Little Meru), and Shira (also known as Rhino Point) for Mount Meru. Both mountains have similar weather conditions and terrain features.
The elevation of Mount Meru is comparable to that of some camps on Kilimanjaro. For example, Saddle Hut on Mount Meru (3,570 meters or 11,710 feet) has a similar elevation to Barafu Camp on Kilimanjaro (4,673 meters or 15,331 feet), which is the base camp for the summit attempt on most routes.
The weather conditions on Mount Meru are similar to those on Kilimanjaro. Both mountains have distinct wet and dry seasons and experience temperature variations depending on the altitude and time of day. The best time to climb both hills is from June to October and December to March when the weather is dry and clear.
However, both mountains can experience unpredictable weather changes, such as rain, snow, fog, and strong winds, at any time of the year. Therefore, it is vital to be prepared for any weather scenario and dress in layers.
Climbing Mount Meru is an excellent warm-up for Kilimanjaro and an enriching addition to your Tanzanian adventure. Mount Meru has unique features that make it worth visiting, regardless of Kilimanjaro. For example:
Flora and Fauna
One of them is the unique flora and fauna found on Mount Meru. The mountain is part of Arusha National Park, which hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, monkeys, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, hyenas, and more.
You might encounter some of these animals on your way up or down the mountain, especially in the lower slopes where the forest is dense. You might also see rare plants like giant lobelias, heathers, orchids, and proteas.
Another feature that makes Mount Meru special is its stunning panoramic views and sunrises. From the summit of Mount Meru, you can see the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as the crater of Mount Meru, the Ash Cone, and the Ngurdoto Crater.
You can also see the plains of Tanzania, Kenya, and the Indian Ocean on a clear day. The sunrise from Mount Meru is one of the most beautiful sights you will ever witness, as the sky turns from dark to light and the colors change from purple to orange to yellow.
Climbing Mount Meru is a perfect warm-up for Kilimanjaro for many reasons. It will help you physically and mentally prepare for your ultimate goal by improving your fitness level, acclimatizing to high altitude, testing your gear, and boosting your confidence.
Consider climbing Mount Meru before attempting the big one to make your Kilimanjaro adventure more enjoyable and successful. You will not regret it.