Mount Longonot is one of the many extinct volcanoes in Kenya. It is a very old stratovolcano mountain, rising in the Great Rift Valley – south of lake Naivasha. It overlooks huge plains and the whole territory is protected by the omonimous protected reserve, Mount Longonot National Park. It is not one of the most famous parks in Kenya, but maybe this is what makes it interesting. Few tourists come to explore it, so it is easier to book safaris over there.
The mountain may seem a dry, rocky mountain but the best of nature lives inside its large crater. A “lake of green”, where many wild animals find a shelter and an ideal habitat where to live. Exploring the crater of Mount Longonot is an exciting adventure which has no equal in Africa. Worth the try.
About Mount Longonot National Park
Mount Longonot National Park was created in 1984, covering a small area of the region around the great volcano: 52 sq km. The territory includes grasslands, savannahs and – as you climb on – bush and small woods, mainly of acacia trees. At low altitudes live most of the typical African wild animals: elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, giraffes and zebras. As you get closer to the top of the mountain (2776 m. above sea level) you meet gazelles, mountain reeducks, many species of beautiful birds (over 100). Mount Longonot National Park is mainly known for zebras. Here you find many zebrasof the plainsand can admire them as they stay grazing or as they migrate from one place to another.
What to do at Mount Longonot
This small national park is more famous for hiking and for the views from the top, rather than for its animals. But tourists come here to enjoy everything. And they can book safaris, go exploring the park, climb the mountain and enjoy the panoramas during the same stay. They can: camp, have picnics, walk at the park. It is also possible to ride a mountain bike around, or to climb rocks.
If you want to hike to the top of the volcano, make sure you are well trained and in good health. The climb is very steep and air too thin since you will get to almost 3000 metres. You must work hard both with your legs and lungs, do not even try if you are not in a excellent health condition. Getting from the base – on the left flank – to the crater’s rim takes a 45-minute walk. Going down to the bottom of the crater or climbing up to the top of the mountain takes 3 to 4 more hours.
How to get there
Mount Longonot National Park is very close to Nairobi, just 90 km north-west from it. A modern road, in good condition, connects the capital city of Kenya to Naivasha Lake region and the national park is right on the way. At the Longonot railway crossing, follow the directions for 4 more kilometres up to the Park’s gate. ATTENTION: this park has opening timetable, from 6am to 6pm. Make sure you always have a KWS ranger by your side.
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