Mount Longonot National Park
Mount Longonot National Park, a dormant volcano, rising to 2,776 meters above sea level, is located near Lake Naivasha and only 100kms from Nairobi City. Longonot, as it is known, is a ruggedly scenic sight especially so for those who undertake the climb up to the rim or peak of this mountain, and who can enjoy the stunning views for miles around the mountain. The climb takes anything from 1 to 3 hours depending on one’s fitness levels.
History of Mount Longonot National Park
The name Longonot is derived from the Masai word Oloonong’ot meaning mountains of man spurs or steep ridges. Longonot park covers 52 km2 most of it being occupied by Mt. Longonot a young volcano rising to 2776 meters above sea level. The sides of the mountain have beautiful V-shaped valleys and ridges. The stony soil has little vegetation but the crater has an impenetrable forest.
The entire mountain is a National Park within the jurisdiction of Kenya Wildlife Services. The park is home to a number of wild games, most of which harbor in the thick forest covering the crater floor. Spotting the animals (wildlife) is not guaranteed.
Hiking Mount Longonot
Hiking on this mountain takes approximately 2 hours from the Park Gate to reach the rim of the crater rim and descent back to the gate. The hike going around the crater rim would mean another two hours, thus the total hike takes approximately 4 hours for the round trip. You might want to include a visit to Lake Naivasha for a sunset boat ride to see hippos before return to Nairobi.
The path up the mountain slope is pretty steep and can get slippery at some points. Thus, hikers need to be reasonably fit to take part in this hike. The magnificent views from the crater rim itself are however worth every painful step and the effort. This day hiking is of moderate difficulty with steep climbing. Terrain has fine dust, with loose gravel in some areas of the hike.
Mount Longonot Hiking Essential Tips
The terrain is pretty much dusty and steep with places that require you to put your bum on the ground. Do not go with a dress, skirt or anything uncomfortable. Invest in some hike worthy shoes, as this will help you avoid cones and foot injuries. There is a stretch of fine magma rocks that can easily give one a hard time while on the ascent.
Hydrate yourself properly
If you are going around the crater, have enough water with you and drink sparingly. Drink after every 30 minutes and not so much. The place is windy, therefore; you will not feel too much sweat dripping down your face. Drink only so much to avoid getting a stitch. Start drinking water way before the hike.
Once the vehicle is parked at the secure Longonot parking zone, strive to leave for the climb with as little things as possible. The lighter you are as you hike, the less energy you will use.
Take your time
The hike might take you a good three to four hours to accomplish but do not rush, take the climbs at your pace. The longer you take the more you see and the more fun you have.
Be with someone
The best thing you can do during the hike is to have another person with you or a crowd. Do not walk alone. The ascents and drops will have you wishing you had not taken the challenge. However, if you have at least one other person with you to talk to, it becomes so much easier to push on.
Get a Guide
If you can afford it, do get a guide. The amount of information that these guys have is way beyond what most of you will ever get from the internet or research. It is through one of these guides that we got to know about the use of one of the plants called Leleshwa as a deodorant/perfume.
Have fun and enjoy the adventure that is the mountain.
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