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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Tanzania - 28 February, 2001

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Meserani (Snake Park) S0324.586' E03628.997' 1,312 m
Arusha
Mt Meru - Momela Gate S0314.021' E03650.983' 1,606 m 63 km (Land Rover)
Mt Meru - Momela Route Stage 1 (the long way) 8 km (walk)
Finish Mt Meru - Miriakamba Hut S0313.772' E03647.985' 2,512 m

Total:

26,400 km

5,480 km

 

Weather: Partly cloudy, sunny and very hot with a cool wind.  Brief, occasional rain showers in mid-afternoon.  Cool evening and cold at night.

 

 

Daily Journal Entry:

We are up early this morning to get ready to climb Mt. Meru.  We take some time to decide if we should climb the mountain.  Lars has an upset stomach and has been up most of the night.  We decide to go ahead and hope for the best.  We pack up our stuff and grab some toast for breakfast and then our transport picks us up.

 

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We head into Arusha, where we go to Safari Makers office to pay for our trip and pick up our cook and guide.  We are then off and we arrive at Momela Gate in Arusha National Park at 9:30 AM.  We organise our stuff and get our porters and ranger who will take us up the mountain.  The ranger is armed as this is a national park and the buffalos and other animals can be dangerous.

 

Mt Meru, compared to it's famous neighbor Kilimanjaro, is relatively obscure, but it is a spectacular mountain with a dramatic volcanic cone and steep walls and jutting peaks.  You start off in grass land, climb through a lush temperate rain forest and then have a dramatic walk along the knife edge of the crater rim.  The highest point, Socialist Peak, is 4,566 meters and is the second highest point in Tanzania.

 

On our way up to the first hut, we decide to take the long way.  It is a bit harder, but it is more interesting.  This trail goes through the forest towards the crater floor and then steeply up towards Miriakamba Hut.  On our way along this walk we see a number of animals, including giraffe, wart hogs, small deer, buffalo and black and white colubus monkeys.  There are also dozens of different kinds of butterflies that we get glimpses of along the way.

 

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The forest that we are walking through is wonderful.  It is very green and lush. The trees are covered with vines, moss and other hanging plants.  In the winds the trees would creak and groan, making eerie sounds as we would walk along.  After about 1 hours of walking, we come to the fig tree.  It is an amazing combination of two fig trees that have come together near the base and now grow together, intertwined together.  We can walk under the arch formed by the two trees.

 

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We head on and we arrive shortly after noon at a small waterfall. We decide to stop here for a short rest and to have some lunch.  The sun is shining and we sit in the opening near the water fall enjoying our light lunch and the sound of the water.

 

After lunch we head on and at this point it starts to get a bit steeper.  The trail is actually on a rough dirt road that goes up to the first hut and we follow it all the way up.  There are a number of great view points, where we get a fantastic view over the plains below.  We arrive at the first hut - Miriakamba Hut - shortly after 2 PM.  

 

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We spend the rest of the afternoon taking it easy and relaxing.  We have some tea and popcorn (a whole plate that must have been enough for four people) as a snack.  The sun comes and goes between the clouds and there are a couple of very short rain showers.  We chat with some of the other hikers, including one from Germany and a group from Poland.

 

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Dinner is soup with bread, fried chicken, rice and sauce.  We get our fill.  After dinner, another group arrives that had just climbed the peak.  They were not in good shape and Jacqui was getting worried about whether she would be able to make it.  We then watch the sunset over the volcanic rim of Mt Meru.  We spend the night in a dorm room with 12 bunk beds.  It is about half full, so it is not too bad.

 

Our sleep during the night is disturbed by a window that keeps banging.  After a while, Lars gets up and finds a way to wedge it shut so that it does not keep on banging.  The other problem is that Lars' stomach starts acting up again, and he has to go visit the outhouse about 5 times.  Each time he has to put on the warm clothing (as it is now quite cold at night) and the boots and head outside.  The only blessing was the beautiful night sky - there was not a cloud in the sky and the sky glimmered with all the bright lights of the stars and the milky way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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