20-08-2023 by redazione
Mount Longonot National Park and its ecosystem are located about 90 km from Nairobi.
The reserve covers about fifty square kilometres, most of which is occupied by the mountain itself, which is in fact a rather young volcano rising to 2776 metres above sea level.
Mount Longonot is a stratified volcano, created during the formation of the Great Rift Valley, and is located southeast of Lake Naivasha in Kenya.
Its last eruption is thought to have occurred in 1860.
Its name is derived from the Maasai word 'oloonong' ot', which means 'mountain of many peaks' or 'steep ridges'. This is because the sides of the mountain have beautiful V-shaped valleys and fantastic ridges.
The stony soils have little vegetation but the crater has a virtually impenetrable forest.
Longonot contains a large 8 x 12 km caldera formed by vast eruptions of trachytic lava about 21,000 years ago. The present main cone developed within the previous caldera.
The cone itself is covered by a 1.8 km long crater.
On the flanks and within the floor of the caldera, satellite cones and effusive lava eruptions formed. Periodic geodetic activity recorded at Longonot in 2004-2006 demonstrated the presence of active magmatic systems beneath this volcano.
Mount Longonot offers a wide range of attractions for visitors who enjoy active holidays, including hiking, climbing, mountain biking, bird watching and game drives.
It can be reached from Nairobi in about an hour by a tarmac road that has recently been resurfaced by the European Union and leads to the town of Longonot.
The mountain offers a ruggedly scenic spectacle, especially for those who undertake the climb to the edge or summit, and who can enjoy the breathtaking view for miles around.
From the entrance to the park, one climbs up to the crater through the 'Gate of Hell' and from there continues along a loop around the crater.
The whole tour is only about 8-9 km long, but very steep, making the loop around the park - Longonot Peak - take about 3-4 hours. The 'gate' is at about 2150 metres and the summit at 2780, but following the jagged circle greatly exceeds the 630 m vertical difference.
The sides of the mountain have deep gorges that make the trek even more scenic and challenging! You may come across buffalo and baboons in the wild, not to mention other wildlife, so it is advisable to take a KWS ranger with you at a minimal cost and by prior arrangement.
Rangers from the Kenyan Wildlife Service are available as guides.
Accommodation within this park is limited: Hell's Gate has three campsites, Longonot has no accommodation within the park; however, the fabulous range of nearby hotels, lodges, luxury ranches and homestays around Lake Naivasha provide ample accommodation for all budgets.
Good news for safari lovers in Kenya and especially for those who organize them, agencies and tour operators.
The Kenya Wildlife Service from November 1 reduced entry ticket in Kenya's national parks and reserves.
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