Mt. Longonot is a stratovolcano located in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and about 2 hours drive from Nairobi. Depending on the route used and the current ongoing road works on Waiyaki way, I’d suggest the earlier you leave Nairobi, the better as traffic cause by trucks especially as you descend the escarpment can really eat into your time. It also helps to start the hike early as the sun can get hot from as early as 8:00 a.m. and since it is an easy and accessible hike, sometimes it can get very crowded.
First time I hiked Mt. Longonot was in January of 2016. I needed something distracting from day to day and so I signed up. It was such an experience and remains the most important decision I ever made. I had the wrong gear, bag, clothing and basically everything I had on was wrong for the mountain. As we circled the crater, the heavens blessed up with heavy downpour. I had no rain gear and so the drenching was to the bone. Been a rookie, I had not brought a change of clothes with me and so the journey back home was simply nerve wrecking. I suppose we all learn from our experiences because that was the beginning of greatness.
In July of 2020 when I returned for my third time, It was interesting to note how disruptive water erosion can be to the landscape. There was massive gullies on the ground which would in no time become a hazard. As you can see above, the damage done by the water as it found its path downhill was screaming for remedy. I am happy to report that there are new paths away from the gullies and therefore safe for all kinds of hikers-including the children.
A lot of work has gone into controlling the erosion as witnessed in the May 2021 hike. I think the Kenya Wildlife Service personnel took advantage of the lockdown and the reduced numbers of hikers on the trail. The gabions that had been erected have been reinforced, there are sand bags on strategic places along the steep slopes and the ground erosion has been filled with some coarse sand. There is a section that has some loose soil as you descend from the summit so watch out for that. Your face mask and sunglasses will come in handy if there’s someone ahead of you otherwise wait for the dust to settle.
The other new developments on the mountain is that the summit signages have been redone. There is also a cross on one side of the summit inscribed “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis” which is Latin for , “The cross is steady while the world turns”. I have seen many people run round the crater twice or thrice so if this is your cup of tea, it’s perfect for you. Just start early.
The data from the hike:
Tips to Hikers
- Carry your sun hat. The sun can be unforgivingly hot.
- Bring enough water. 2 liters plus.
- Mountain weather changes without notice. Do not forget your raingear.
- If you are playing music, pay attention to your environment.