After hiking the Table Mountain in Cape Town I had a pressing quest to hike in Kenya. I had hiked Mount Longonot before when I was in school and had wanted to do it again, this time without rushing anything. I’m the type who prefers to hike slowly but fast enough, appreciating nature and capturing the memories through my lens.
We left Nairobi at 7 am driving towards Mai Mahiu with a quick stop at the View Point just to appreciate breathtaking view of the Great Rift Valley. It had rained heavily that night and were afraid our hike may not go as smooth with the ground being slippery but we were totally wrong. The hiking trails were super dusty!
Mount Longonot National Park is 90 kms from Nairobi which is about 1.5 to 2 hours drive, thanks to the narrow Mai-Mahiu route. When you get to Mai-Mahiu town, drive on for 14 kms and you’ll see a large signboard on your left indicating the path to the park.
We almost missed it since it doesn’t look like a proper road for cars 😀
Mount Longonot hike can be done all year round. Parking is available for free and park charges are as below:
|Citizens (KES)||Residents (KES)||Non-Residents (USD)|
Note: KWS doesn’t accept cash payments any more. You’ll be required to pay using M-Pesa or credit card
We were lucky to meet these majestic giraffes near the entrance, and on our way we could see a herd of many other wildlife from a distance – zebras, giraffes, gazelles and buffaloes. How rewarding!
What to Carry when hiking Mount Longonot
Although volcanic action ended centuries ago, this place gets hot and dry therefore you need a lot of drinking water. The hike is short but steep with resting points. It’s advisable to bring some energy bars like chocolate granola bars just to refuel during the hike.
Sunscreen is a must if you mind being scorched. Hiking up, around the crater rim and down is a long way which means you’ll remain exposed to the unforgiving sun for hours.
What to Wear
When choosing what to wear for a hike, I always consider three things- comfort, safety, and style. The hiking trail is steep with loose fine volcanic soil on parts of the trail. You’ll need good hiking shoes which are comfortable on your feet. Normal gym shoes would do as well.
We met some school kids hiking down barefoot. Not sure how it went with their feet afterward given the ground was hot.
Also, wear light comfortable moisture-wicking clothes. If you choose to dress heavily, the extra fabric becomes a liability and a source of discomfort during your hike so leave that trendy maxi for the ruracio next weekend.
Bring your sunglasses too. Hiking up especially if you hike towards midday means you’re facing the sun directly.
Remember never sacrifice safety and comfort for style.
The summits… Crater Point and Kilele Ngamia
We hiked up, round the rim and down with the entire trip taking us 5 hours. Many people just hike up and down with very few going round the rim. The highest part of the whole journey is Kilele Ngamia summit at 2780 metres above sea level.
A random stranger advised us to go round the crater rim from the right so that we conquer the most difficult part then have it easier on the left side when we have lesser energy left, and he was totally right.
Do you hike? Have you hiked Mount Longonot? What do you wear for hiking? Leave a comment!
Carolina | My Global Attitude