Mount Longonot. Endless, stunning expanses. Exhilarating hike. Unmatched memories. When I first visited Kenya, I was determined to explore beyond just the typical safaris and into the more hidden treasures of the country. Of course safaris are lovely and unique, but I knew that the country had so much more to offer. After searching long and hard for a day hike that I could do, I discovered the incredible Mount Longonot.
Although most people visit Kenya just for the safaris, it’s a shame to miss out on some other truly incredible things the country has to offer. Mount Longonot is located about 2 hours northwest of Nairobi and is the perfect choice for a day trip hike. A dormant volcano that erupted last in the 1860s, Mount Longonot is now one of the best hikes Kenya has to offer. Longonot comes from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot which means “mountain of many steep ridges”.
Multiple craters, full and robust forestry, and unmatched views of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha make the steep incline up the mountain more than worth it!
Hiking Mount Longonot
Mount Longonot contains in total about 14 km of trails. The incline, which is VERY steep (directly up) is about 3 km and it leads you to the crater rim. You can walk the loop all around the crater’s rim which is about 7 km before continuing down the same path (very steep decline). It is not a particularly challenging hike, especially if you take your time, but it is certainly invigorating. Taking your time, the hike will be about 4 hours total.
The views are majestic. You will see a small crater before reaching the enormous crater at the top. The paths are very clear, it’s difficult to get lost and there will most likely be other people on the narrow trail as well, but consider taking a guide along with you just in case. I hired a local Maasai guide for multi-day travels in the region and it was the best decision ever1 he was incredible, taught me about the plants and wildlife in the region, and gave me so many insights into the history and local culture.
There are many animals in the area itself. Riding up to the park entrance, we found ourselves face to face with a giraffe. It’s also possible to see zebras, gazelle, and on a very rare occasion…leopards and lions! I felt safe having a Maasai warrior with me just in case. 😅
Mount Longonot Cost
Mount Longonot is an official national park in Kenya and thereby has an entrance fee. For tourist, the cost is 20 USD. For citizens, the cost is around 2 USD. Most entrance fees/general costs in Kenya are at least 3-10x more expensive for tourists than for the locals.
How to Get There
Mount Longonot is conveniently located just 2 hours northwest of Nairobi. If you are in the capital city, Mount Longonot can easily be done with just a day trip from Nairobi. However, the areas is FULL of other amazing things to do, so I would highly suggest staying in the Naivasha region for at least 1-2 nights.
Hell’s Gate National Park (post coming soon) is one of Kenya’s most famous tourist attractions as it is the basis for the location of The Lion King. Remember the gorge where Mufasa dies…it’s a real place and you can do a bike safari through the national park. Lake Naivasha itself is also incredibly beautiful and is home to a plethora of hippos and lovely things to do.
It is however still a bit of a drive from Naivasha itself. My guide took me there on a boda boda (scooter) and it was almost an hour’s journey! It was really an amazing ride filled with zebras, giraffes, and Maasai villages. If you’re looking for a less adventurous option, a car will also easily help you arrive!
It is also possible to arrive by public transportation! Busses can drop you off at Mai Mahiu and then it is just about a 30 minutes drive/ride to Longonot.
Tips for Visiting Mount Longonot
- Where to Stay – Naivasha is full of countless amazing options of places to stay. From luxurious resorts to shared cabins, there are plenty of options. If you just want a day trip, it is also possible to stay in Nairobi and leave early in the morning.
- What to Bring – Bring lots of water of course and also some snacks. It’s only about a 4 hour hike, but it is nice to relax at the top of the crater and enjoy a little snack. My local Maasai guide recommended bringing milk, which seemed like an odd choice, but actually kept us hydrated and energized for the whole hike!
- Go with a Guide – I usually never hire a guide for any experience. I prefer to explore alone, but for this hike and this region in general I would highly recommend the local Maasai guide who showed me so many hidden treasures, taught me so much, and was really just incredible. He took care of my every need, transported me around the countryside and made sure I stayed perfectly safe. Contact Joseph at +254 713 058 529 for a truly unforgettable experience. He doesn’t have WhatsApp or Instagram or even a smartphone for that matter, but I can promise you an amazing experience!
- Explore the Area – The Naivasha area really has so many incredible places to explore. Conservancies, national parks, lakes, and so much more! If you have the time, explore!!
Looking for more amazing things to do in Kenya? Check out: 11 AMAZING THINGS TO DO ON YOUR TRIP TO KENYA – NOT JUST A SAFARI
Lots of Love and Safe Travels,
Danielle and Brooke, Colorful Sisters