Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mount Meru

Mount meru is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and is the fifth highest in Africa, it’s about (1999ft) 4566m.With a
gracefully profile that is clearly visible to any one who visit in Arusha.Mount meru a classic volcanic cone-offers of East Africa
Most scenic and rewarding climbs and definitely worth to a visit.
Small eruption has been reported in last 100 years indicating that meru is still not quit extinct.
Local Waarusha and wameru people who live in the area regard the mountain as scared. Every year a hull or a sheep is
Sacrificed and offered to the mountain to ensure rain in the coming season.
Over (400 species) 0f birds, elephant, buffalo, baboon, warthog, black and white colobus monkey and antelopes are all
Founded in this ecosystem.
The visit to Mount meru is unforgettable experience.

The Climb
Ascending Mount Meru once required either a dawn start and a hectic dash to the top followed by a tiring trudge back down in the dying light, or camping on the first and perhaps even the second night Now the trip can be made in comfort by the new cabins, Miriakamba Hut and Saddle Hut.

DAY ONE: From Momela Gate where it is necessary to sign and pay fees the roads leads west, fording the Ngare Nanyuki River and crossing some open bushy grassland where a resident herd of buffalo regularly graze around the base of an outlier, Tulusia Hill. The track skirts the domed hill to the south, past several excellent campsites, and begins to climb through densely forested foothills. Leopard and rhino have been seen here, but you are more likely to encounter bush back and a fleeting glimpse of a turaco flashing across a glade.

The road continues to wind its way between the buttressed trunks of the lower mountain forest at about 2,000 meters (6,560 feet).Many of the trees are fig and Nuxia congesta species, and the much taller African olive, Olea hochstetteri.With its finery curved, tall, and slender climbers, it is a far cry from the stubby, gnarled European olive. Around the base of the tree grows black-eyed Susan, Thunbergia alata.

Higher into the upper zone of the forest the trees are predominantly loft juniper, or African pencies and the equally tall podocapus, or East African yellow wood, both valuable as timber species. The provides food for the flocks of raucous red-fronted parrots.

Glades formed by the fallen trees and elephants are kept open by buffalo which graze the areas where lady's mantle, Achemilla volkensii, and a blue vetch, Parochetus communis thrive in the sunlight.

By the time Kitoto Hill is reached the vegetation has become open health land characterized by the bushy green Erica arborea

From here an alternative trip up the mountains track can be taken westwards towards the crater itself and an area called Njeku which lies at the confluence of several streams.Njeku refers to the old woman who has the of the power of rainmaking. In times of drought the Meru people would make a sacrifice to the gods at the base of an ancient juniper tree that stands nearby.

When the long rains do arrive they bring out the "red hot pokers” that glow in the surrounding woods and valleys, along with the pink-flowed balsam.

DAY TWO: After spending the night at Miriakamba, there is a steep but relatively relaxed walk up to the Saddle Hurt, passing through the open north-eastern flanks of the mountain where the red-flowered hagenia trees grow profusely. The trees are often covered in epiphytic ferns and mosses, their rich green splashed with the exuberance of that other perching plant, the orchid.

The path curved through health land and the gradient becomes gentler as the Saddle Hut at 3,600 meters (11,808feet) comes into view between the crater rim and the peak of Little Meru to north.

Little Meru is only 250 meters (820 feet) higher than the Saddle and can be reached easily by those who feel up to the short scramble to the park's north-western limit. From here there are superb views of Kilimanjaro, the Momela Lakes and, to the west and north, the wildness that harbors Ol Doinyo Lengai and Lake Natron.

The healthier quickly thins after the saddle and gives way to hardly grasses and sedge. But even these cannot survive on the barren sands of the crater rim that curves around in a counterclockwise direction along a series of ridges, crags and lava boulder to the rocky knoll of the summit itself.

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