Mount Longonot Trekking Quick Facts

A short but strenuous day trek to a recently dormant stratovolcano (9100 ft) located in the center of the Great Rift Valley. The trailhead is 60km from Nairobi on a paved road and is reachable by private vehicle and public transport.

Distance – 9 km hike.
Elevation – The hike starts at around 7000 ft (2150m) and the summit is approximately 9100 ft (2780m). The actual vertical of 630m is greater due to the up and down on the crater rim.
Time Required – 1 Day. 5 hours of hiking to the summit.
Cost – Mount Longonot National Park Entrance Fee is $20 for nonresidents.
Time to Visit – Year round.

Longonot

Mount Longonot is an imposing stratovolcano that is located in the center of the Great Rift Valley. The summit can easily be reached in a day and the trailhead is only 60km from Nairobi making it a great option for a single day outing. The trek is 9km round trip and it takes approximately 5 hours to reach the summit. The peak is protected within Mount Longonot National Park and a $20 entry fee is charged to nonresidents.

Driving from Nairobi to Naivasha, Mount Longonot can be seen rising an estimated 750m from the floor of the rift valley. A number of viewpoints on the road give visitors a great view of this volcano and the surrounding country of the rift valley. Interestingly, the name Longonot comes from the Maasai word ‘oloongonot’ which references the mountains many steep spurs and ridges.

Mount Longonot Crater

It takes about 2 hours to hike to the rim of the crater and another 2 hours hiking along the crater rim to reach the summit. One has a fantastic view of the giant Oloongonot Crater and nearby Lake Naivasha from the top. The trail up is quite steep at times and the going can be rough but can be overcome by anyone in reasonably good condition. The crater floor is lined with a small forest of trees and small fumaroles (steam vents) attest to the ongoing volcanic activity.

View of Longonot in Rift Valley

Mount Longonot is a stratavolcano which may have erupted a recently as the 1860’s. The giant caldera at the top is believed to be the result of an eruption approximately 21,000 years ago (Source 1). The most recent eruption was in 1863 and studies in geodetic activity in 2004–2006 demonstrated the existence of an active magmatic system. The volcano is home to a variety of wildlife including Zebra and Giraffe but sightings are unusual.

On your own? This is a great trek to do on your own. It is particularly easy if you have your own transport as the entrance to the park is indicated by a number of signs. If you don’t have access to a vehicle you can grab a Matatu (Van used for public transport in Kenya) from Nyamakima off River Road for about 200 Ksh and go to Naivasha. Once in Naivasha get the next Matatu to Mai Mahiu for Ksh 70 and get off at Longonot Station. Its another 4km to the park gate and you maybe able to find a ride or worse case walk.

Great Rift Valley View Point

Want this arranged for you? We can arrange this with prices starting around $150 for the trip. Please send an inquiry.

Sources:
1. Biggs, J.; Anthony, E. Y.; Ebinger, C. J. (2009). “Multiple inflation and deflation events at Kenyan volcanoes, East African Rift”. Geology 37 (11): 979
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Longonot