The last day of our hike started with a relaxed breakfast at the usual time. Since we were awake a little earlier than usual, we were able to watch our cook Eli preparing our breakfast. Afterwards we descended the mountain via the southern route. During the descent we saw elephants in the distance for the first time, which was very impressive for us. The descent went well and quite quickly. So we had enough time to stop at a waterfall just before reaching the great plains. The last few meters of the hike take you through grasslands, including the pastures of Kaffir Buffalos and other wild animals. Finally, we reached Momella Gate, the point from which we had started a few days earlier. Once there, we ate lunch and said goodbye to the other hikers and our mountain team. In line with East-African tradition, we handed over the tips to the team before leaving the national park. Afterwards we went to do a last stop in Arusha National Park.
Canoeing in Momella Lake is a popular addition to a climb of Mount Meru. Especially bird lovers get their money’s worth here. But as the way to the lake leads through the national park, one can also discover all kinds of other wild animals. We felt the trip was like a mini safari and would recommend it especially to those who do not plan a subsequent safari anyway. “Momella” is Swahili and means “wind”. And indeed, it was quite windy! Together with our two guides we discovered the lake and surrounding nature by canoe. We were the only tourists at that time, which gave the trip more charm. Beside buffalos we saw different bird species and even hippos. For safety reasons, however, we kept enough distance, but were able to hear the signals of the animals loudly and clearly. After about two hours of canoeing we returned to our jeep and made our way to our lodge in the late afternoon.
The ascent of Mount Meru and the stay in Arusha National Park was a great experience for us. Rarely before have we experienced such a varied fauna and flora and varied landscape in such a short time. We also perceived the ascent of the mountain as a great experience. However, a certain degree of fitness and stamina are highly recommended. Since we had already climbed Kilimanjaro a few years earlier, we also made some (un)conscious comparisons. All in all, there are great parallels between the ascent of Mount Meru and that of Kilimanjaro. However, the abundance of hikers, the flora and fauna as well as the landscape and views differ considerably. We ourselves found the experience at Mount Meru a bit more pleasant, unusual and in no case less impressive than the ascent of Kilimanjaro and would therefore recommend it to everyone traveling to Tanzania!