The other weekend we decided to do a day trip with some friends. The plan was to hike Mount Longonot up in Naivasha. We expected it to be a full day including the drive, with the hiking taking up maybe two to three hours for going up and down total.
The drive up was pretty. We took the Old Naivasha Highway, also known as the Great North Road. It’s narrow. It’s winding. There are some crazy drivers who like to pass a lot on the road. There are tons of trucks. But, it’s still pretty.
We got more and more excited as we got closer to the mountain and could see it clearly.
Once you get off the highway, the road gets pretty dusty and there are a few obstacles that might wander into your way. Be prepared to slow and honk a lot as these guys really don’t care to move.
Once there, we started the hike. We knew there were some hard parts. We knew it was nine kilometers up to the top. We knew it would be hot and dusty. But, we felt ready as we began the hike.
We didn’t know how much dust there would be or that the soft sand would make some parts slippery. We also didn’t know that this was a very hard, very steep climb. It took over two hours to get up to the rim.
At one point, about halfway actually, I thought we were at the top. When I got to that area and looked up, I saw the rest of the trail, which was at an even steeper incline. I thought I was going to cry.
I complained for a bit. Along with some others who were resting with me, I declared that I was not going to make it all the way up. But, after resting and hydrating, I got back on the trail. It was the hardest hike I’ve ever done. I was really damned slow. But, I did it.
It felt great to make it up to the top. I have to say, the view at the crater rim is totally worth it. The featured photo shows a panorama at the top. I also took some additional photos. I have to say they are not the best.
I wasn’t using a wide angle lens, which I should have. I didn’t have a hood for the lens, which I should have brought. Most of all, I was really wiped out. While the photos aren’t the best, I did really enjoy the view.
While at the top, we walked around the crater rim. It’s seven kilometers around. It’s mostly level but there is one bit steep part. We only made it partway. We had to keep track of time and so after about 40 minutes, we made our way back down.
Downhill was easier, but it wasn’t easy. It was steep and areas are slippery. We got down faster but we had to be careful.
Some tips for those who want to do this hike:
- Make it an overnight trip so that you can spend time up at the crater and not worry about driving back into Nairobi at night. (There are no lights on those highways and lot of bad drivers.)
- Plan for about seven to eight hours at the mountain. It takes a while to get up. You’ll need rest breaks. It takes a while to walk the rim.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen.
- Wear proper hiking shoes.
- Take plenty of water.
I would definitely make it an overnight trip if I went again. If I were the type to camp, then I’d do an overnight stay in the jungle of the crater. Please note that if you do go into the crater you will need an armed ranger as there are wild animals in the crater itself.
I don’t know that I’ll do the hike again anytime soon. There are so many other things I want to see and do in Kenya. But, I’m sure in a couple years my legs will no longer be sore and I’ll be up for doing the hike again.