Mountain Biking and Racing against the Dormant Meru Volcano
Arusha National Park is introducing Mountain Biking atop Tanzania’s second hiighest peak, the dormant Meru Volcano.
But first, let us start with a big Marathon at its base
The most daring bicycle expedition is expected to challenge riders as they peddle their way from the Arusha National Park base to the summit of Tanzania’s second highest peak, Mount Meru.
Peaking at 4562 meters, above sea level, the usually snow-less, Mount Meru protrudes from the lush forested Arusha National Park in Tanzania, but also casts its giant shadow across the border onto Kenya’s Amboseli, thus labelled East Africa’s most important tourism feature.
The Arusha National Park’s Conservator, Assistant Commissioner Albert Mziray, said the Mountain Biking on Meru is among the latest Tourism products being initiated by the Tanzania National Parks, others being the Vintage Cars tourism which was unveiled last December.
Conservator Mziray was speaking during the special launch of ‘Arusha Park Wildlife Marathon,’ an International Athletic event expected to take place at the Arusha National Park next November 2022.
Mount Meru Marathon?
Arusha used to host the annual Mount Meru International Marathon, a full 42 kilometer long cross-country which became a spectacular global event.
During its heydays, the MMIR attracted tens of thousand participants from all over the world and sometimes it would involve Motor Rallying in the package.
Unfortunately the popular event folded up without explanation.
Now it seems the proposed ‘Arusha Park Wildlife Marathon,’ can serve as the ultimate phoenix ressurecting from the defunct Mount Meru Marathon ashes.
Plus the event will practically be raced at the foor of Mount Meru.
Beatrice Kessy is the Tanzania National Park’s Assistant Commissioner, in-charge of Tourism Development, who was of the view that, while most youth don’t usually visit National Parks, they will be attracted to do so through a series of interesting physical activities such as cross-park racing and Mountain Biking.
“We therefore need to introduce many other sporting activities in National Parks so as to attract more young people,” said Ms Kessy.
When vintage cars meet Mountain Bikes in Bush
Already the Arusha National Park runs a vintage car tourism package at the foot of Mount Meru. An event introduced at the reserve recently.
Now a full-fledged cross-country race that will also cut through the wildlife packed deestination is slated to be staged in the park next November 2022
The trial run was raced on Sunday, the 20th of February in the park, was organized by ‘Bush 2 Base,’ a Non-profit organization dealing with studying and addressing challenges of animal-human-environmental interactions.
The ‘Bush 2 Base’ Coordinator, Lomaiyan Komolo Simel said his organization focuses on studying Chimpanzees but has also branched into other interesting events to help create awareness on their activities.
“Arusha National Park is a unique destination, located at the center of tourism business and that is why it needs more promotional efforts,” said Simel.
At least 70 participants, most of them being young people took part in the inaugural ‘Arusha Park Wildlife Marathon,’ and while they were scared to race among wild animals, they later got used to the situation, promising never to miss the main event next November.
One of the runners, Hussein Mallya, said the Arusha Park Wildlife Marathon is the best portal for young people to peep into wildlife reserves, destinations that they hardly get to visit.