|Starting Point||Longonot park gate|
|Ending point||Longonot park gate|
|Walking Duration||3 hours|
|Prevalent Weather||Hot, dusty and windy. Afternoon showers.|
|Terrain||Very dusty steep trail|
The objective of the hiker is to hike to the summit of Mt. Longonot at 2780masl, then proceed round the crater rim and back to the gate.
The trail is a short 3.1 km to the rim or 5km trek to the summit. However it is strenuous and may take half-day to trek on account of the loose scree, soil, dust and the steep gradient. This hike is suitable for both a group and a lone hiker. The hike starts at the park gate around 2,150masl. After payment and registration, you then walk on fairly flat ground often with zebras, hogs and other grazers and browsers watching you from a distance, then past the campsite where the climb begins. At first, the climb is a gentle incline that nonetheless takes a toll on your muscles and chest as they try to acclimatise and as you find you pace. This gentle climb goes on for some thirty to forty minutes until you get to the concrete steps where the gradient changes dramatically and the heavy lifting starts. After the concrete steps you arrive at the first hut for a rest.
You then proceed eastwards through the thicket cover, a gentle easy going uphill slope that gradually increases in gradient until you get to the next hut at the rim of the crater. The picturesque caldera invites you to take photos all your labours all forgotten. A short rest is advisable before launching your attempt for the summit. You can either opt approach the summit in a clockwise (5.3km) or counter-clockwise (1.9 km) direction. The circumference of the rim is 7.2km. Whichever way you chose it is a scramble through loose soil that frustrates your every move aided by sharp assents and false peaks.
At the summit you take a well-earned rest as you get treated to the vast open country all around you including the dots of the vehicles snaking their way down and up the escarpment. You may then opt to go down the way you came or walk round the crater rim to the hut and down to the gate.
Options: As mentioned above, the normal Longonot hike is a short 3 hours. This can leave you feeling like your day wasn’t full enough. In the this case you may want to pep up your hike by considering one or both of these two additional objectives
- Secondary crater – Take the sign posted detour near the hut at the rim of the crater. The trails is quite discernible at the beginning but virtually disappears within five minutes of walking and you start some serious bushwhacking through treacherous terrain with fairly deep ravines.
- Crater floor – Walking anticlockwise from the hut at the rim of the crater, look out for the sign post to the crater entry point. It is about half kilometre down the cliffs to the base. You may want to do a bit of exploring there e.g. to the hot vents and the strange lock formations
The park is managed by Kenya wildlife service and there KWS park regulations and fees apply. At the time of writing these are the charges
Non residents – $20
Children – –
Non resident –
Guiding is not necessary at mt. Longonot unless you will be going off the beaten track. However enterprising locals will still entice you into. Decide for yourself whether you need a guide. The walking sticks hired by the guides may come in handy though.
Driving: Drive to Mai-Mahiu town a town 70km from Nairobi. From Mai-mahiu drive nine kilometres towards Naivasha, until you see the Mt.Longonot National park sign post. Turn into this road and drive on 4 kilometres to the park gate.
Take a Matatu to Mai-Mahiu from Nyamakima (off River road. Fare is about 150). At Mai Mahiu board a matatu bound for Naivasha and alight at Mt. Longonot National park turn off. Walk the four kilometres to the gate. Alternatively, if you are in a group, it maybe cost effective to hire a seven seater matatu or taxi from Mai-Mahiu to the park gate. Other alternative is to ride on a boda-boda