Activity: Climbing Mt.Longonot
When: 27th July 2019
Service: The Alpine Troupe
Charges: Ksh 1,500
Total time to and fro: 3hrs 45min
Derived from the Maasai name Oloonong’ot meaning mountain of many spurs or steep ridges, this mount stands at an elevation of 2,780m totaling to 9,108 ft. Located in the Great Rift Valley the stratovolcano last erupted in 1863.
Our journey began at 6:50am and within 2 hours drive from Nairobi CBD we were at the Mount Longonot National Park at 9:00am having used the Mai-Mahiu route. At the entry gate walking sticks can be hired for Ksh 50. The park is surrounded by a fast food restaurant, art gallery shop and mini shops. Another interesting feature is the display of Buffalo head carcasses that reminded me of Mt.Kilimambogo. From here one can spot the magical mountain in full flicker.
At 9:15am the adrenaline junkies started their hike. The distance from the main gate to the crater rim is 3.1km at an altitude of 2146meters. The vegetation from the starting point is that of acacia, shrubs and loose soil before encountering the staircase point surrounded by gabions and rocks. The beauty of the staircases is that it makes one envision the Great Wall of China while enduring the steep ascend.After this strenuous exercise there is a resting point where thirst plus hunger can be quenched before resuming to climb the steeper zone. Been a sharp hike, I would advise that you wear shoes meant for steepness and not those meant to break your legs as you slide and fall. Within one hour I got to the crater rim. The basin has been replaced by vegetation while the rim welcomes one to the steep ridges awaiting to be accomplished. A resting chamber is present here too as one meditates on how to go round the rim at a distance of 7.2km and spot Lake Naivasha.Much has been said on how one should go through it using the anti-clockwise technique but am here to detest. For starters if you like accomplishing tasks using short cuts then anti-clockwise it is. It is the easiest route (the Gram lovers can actually get here, prove they did it and go back without going round- thinking out loud) to get to the highest point of Longonot-Kilele Ngamia but your energy will be drained by climbing on fours on a gravel path combined with narrow gorges and deep soil. This is actually the only torturous ascend you will experience before navigating to well calculated descends all round. If you decide to go clockwise Kilele Ngamia will be your last challenge. You will hike through flat terrains before enduring high rocky ascends and feel the thrill of hiking. This is why we hike, right? To feel every inch of it. Then boom you will get to Ngamia point and embrace yourself for the risky descend. So, which is your route?Clockwise it was and after 2 hours I had bucket listed off going round the crater rim of spurs. The descend back to the main gate was 45 minutes where dust became the main ingredient as hikers from all over were either going up or down. Dust mask and glasses are a must have here. One can also shower when done.We left the park at 3pm with a stopover at Mai-Mahiu for lunch before embarking to Nairobi where our journey was met with unending traffic at the busy View Point. The road is notorious for colliding trailers as it is curvy as well as sharp making them vulnerable as they carry transit goods. The more the reason to drive carefully while en-route.