Mt. Meru is located in Arusha National Park, which may be reached in a variety of ways. The Ngongongare Gate, about 10 kilometers north of Usa River, is the most often utilized entry and major gate to Arusha National Park. Usa River is a tiny hamlet between Arusha and Moshi on the A-23 route, not far from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Momella Gate, the beginning site of the Mt. Meru trek, is 17 kilometers from the Ngongongare Gate.
On the A-23, about 1 km east of “downtown” Usa River, the route to Arusha National Park is indicated at the turn-off.
The approximately 10-kilometer road leading to the park is paved for the most part, but before you reach the Ngongongare Gate, it becomes a gravel road.
The primary gate into Arusha National Park, Ngongongare Gate, is the easiest and most probable site of access. Parking fines are collected at the office building across the street from the road. Fees can be paid in cash or by credit card (TZS for East Africans, USD for all others). Keep both halves of the receipt; one is yours to keep, and the other must be displayed at the Ngongongare Gate to gain access to the park, and then delivered to the armed ranger at Momella Gate.
Although the gate opens at 6:00 a.m., the office does not open until 06:30 a.m. To deter wild animals and possible poachers, armed protection is stationed at the gate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You are not permitted to sleep at the gate while waiting for it to open since you could get shot by mistake (!). You cannot stroll inside the park; instead, you must take a cab or hitchhike to reach Momella Gate.
Toilets, a store selling soda, water, snacks, and souvenirs, various displays about the park’s history, geomorphology, flora and animals, and local populations, as well as an amazing diorama, are all available at the Ngongongare Gate.
To Momella Gate:
You must be driven in a vehicle from Ngongongare Gate to Momella Gate, the beginning site of the Mt. Meru trek. Because the National Park does not provide transportation between the two entrances, you must organize your own transportation. According to park signage, the gravel road to Momella is roughly 17 kilometers long and is difficult and uneven, although a 4×4 is not required. While we were in the park, some road work was being done.
The subsections offer many options for getting to Mt. Meru, including driving from Moshi or Arusha, or flying straight from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
Private Transport to Mount Meru
Taking private transportation to Momella Gate is a quick and easy method to get there, but it is significantly more expensive than taking public transit. Keep in mind that you don’t have to take private transportation both ways or for the entire journey! To meet your schedule and budget, there are several methods to mix private and public transportation.
You may hire a tour company to pick you up from Moshi, Arusha, or JRO and take you all the way to Momella Gate and back. This is likely the most expensive choice to trek Mount Meru, or one that is comparable to the cost of renting a car.
Rent a vehicle:
Renting a car in Moshi or Arusha (not at JRO?) is another an option. and drive yourself into the park, parking your car at Momella Gate while you hike. This implies you’ll need to rent a car for four days (about $50 per day? ), plus pay $40 in vehicle fees to the national park (not sure if this is a single fee, or per day).
Taking a cab is arguably the most cost-effective mode of private transportation. Prices will be determined by your geographical knowledge (particularly, distances between locations), local contacts (if any), and negotiating abilities.
If you want to go straight from JRO to Mt. Meru, you should hire one of the waiting taxi drivers. Depending on the season and the amount of available taxi drivers, you may definitely bring the price down to approximately 50-60 USD one way if you haggle hard enough. This price should include the car and driver’s admission fee to the park (TZS 11500), thus make sure it’s included in the contract. If you need supplies for the trip, have the cab driver stop at shops along the way. (For further information, see the supplies section.)
If you’re taking a cab to Momella from Moshi or Arusha, stock up on supplies before heading to the park.
We anticipate that a taxi from Moshi will cost approximately 70 USD one trip, while a cab from Arusha would cost around 50 USD. However, there are no promises; we’re only speculating! It might be more, or it could be less.
You should probably agree on a price and a pick-up time in advance, or exchange phone numbers if you have a functional cell phone, if you wish to get a cab out again.