A Guide To Mt.Longonot National Park
Mt. Longonot National Park is about 90km from Nairobi. It is a young volcano which rises to 2,776m above sea level. Mt.Longonot National Park is an arresting sight for visitors to the Naivasha basin. Mt Longonot was created by the massive eruptions which formed the Great Rift Valley and has a beautiful V-shaped valleys.
‘The scene was of such an astounding character that I was completely fascinated and felt under an almost irresistible impulse madly to plunge into the fearful chasm’.
So spoke the famous African explorer, Joseph Thomson as he made the first recorded ascent to the rim of Mount Longonot in 1884. The mightiest of the Rift Valley volcanoes, Longonot towers some 2,776 metres above the waters of bewitching Lake Naivasha.
As to climbing it – there is a well-defined track that leads, in around 45 minutes of steep scrambling, to the rim. Once on top, you can either absorb the view – which is a stunner, encompassing both the distant Aberdares Range and the Mau Escarpment – or you can strike off around the rim, the entire circuit of which takes around 3 hours.
Technically dormant, but better described as ‘senile’, Longonot is a relatively young volcano, having been formed within the last 400-600 years. And, while seemingly peaceful, only several thousand meters below its surface the ground water seethes at an incredible 304°C (one of the hottest temperatures on earth).
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Much of this energy has now been harnessed to the nearby Olkaria Geothermal Project in Hell’s Gate National Park, but the hot thermals rising above the mountain still have sufficient power to deflect the path of light aircraft flying overhead. Longonot stands within its own national park, 90km northwest of Nairobi.
Facts About Mt.Longonot National Park
- Altitude: 1,875-2,776 meters above sea level.
- Area: 52 sq km.
- Province: Rift Valley, close to Hells Gate National Park.
- Location: Naivasha
- Distance From Nairobi: 90km
What To See At Mt.Longonot National Park
The extinct volcano and crater forest, scenic landscape, views of Lake Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley are the major attractions. Major wildlife attractions include the buffalo, eland, lion, leopard, bushbuck, zebra, giraffe, Grant’s and Thomson gazelles and antelopes. The park, 52sq km, is accessible via tarmac road from Nairobi. It does not operate on the smart card system and entry is by cash. There is no accommodation in the park although options are available in Naivasha town and on the South Lake Road.
Mount Longonot has steep sparsely vegetated sides but the crater itself is densely forested. A fire in 2009 that swept up the sides and into the crater did burn much of the forests, causing a great deal of stress for the animals that had to survive on the ravaged bush.
Mount Longonot National Park has some animals but it is more about the fascinating scenery and the hiking that the park is known for. Animals found in the park include Zebra, Giraffe and Buffalo with Leopards known only from their tracks.
The main attractions of the park include the extinct volcano and crater forest and the views of Lake Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley. It is also a great destination for birding – and in particular birds of prey.
What To Do At Mt. Longonot National Park
The main activities in Mount Longonot include Hiking, Rock Climbing, Biking, Walking, Birding and viewing Lake Naivasha.
Accommodation And Hotels At Mt.Longonot National Park
There are no accommodation facilities in the park itself but Naivasha town and surrounds has a range of options. The Olongoonot campsite does provide for those who prefer to rough it.
Main Atrractions At Mt. Longonot National Park
- Extinct volcano and crater forest, Scenic Landscape, Views of lake Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley.
- The park is a paradise for birds of prey
How to get to Mt. Longonot National Park
- The park is accessible via tarmac road from Nairobi (90 kms)
Campsites in Mt. Longonot National Park
- Oloongonot Campsite
Mount Longonot National Park fees
- Adults KSH: 350
- Child KSH: 250
- Adults KSH: 700
- Child KSH: 350
Non – Resident
- Adults USD:30
- Child USD:20
Mt. Longonot National Park contacts
Attraction Type: Wildlife, Scenery & Landscapes
Category: National Park, Mountain, Volcano
Region: South Rift
City / Town: Naivasha
Road / Street: Mai Mahiu Road
Telephone: 254 50 50255