Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park: Exploring Kenya’s Unique Volcanic Landmark

Mt. Longonot NP is a distinctive and captivating natural destination situated in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. The park, named after the stratovolcano it encompasses, offers visitors a chance to experience remarkable geological features, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking panoramic views. It’s a popular destination for hiking, nature enthusiasts, and adventure seekers.

Geological Significance:

At the heart of Mount Longonot National Park stands Mount Longonot, a dormant stratovolcano that rises about 2,776 meters (9,107 feet) above sea level. The volcano has a unique circular shape, known as a caldera, which was formed through volcanic activity and subsequent erosion. The caldera has a diameter of approximately 7.2 kilometers and a depth of around 300 meters.

Flora and Fauna:

Despite its harsh volcanic environment, Mount Longonot National Park boasts an array of plant and animal life. The lower slopes are covered in savannah grasslands and acacia trees, while the higher altitudes feature montane forest and unique plant species adapted to the volcanic soil.

The park is home to various wildlife species, including buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, baboons, and a variety of antelope species. Additionally, the park provides habitat for many bird species, making it a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Hiking and Adventure:

One of the main attractions of Mount Longonot National Park is the opportunity to hike up the volcano. The trek up Mount Longonot offers a moderate to challenging experience, taking hikers through diverse landscapes, from open grasslands to dense forested areas. The trail leads to the rim of the caldera, where hikers can walk along the crater rim to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, and even glimpse the distant Mount Suswa.

The hike is around 7.2 kilometers (4.5 miles) in total, and while it’s not extremely technically challenging, it does involve some steep sections and loose gravel paths. The reward for your effort is the stunning vista from the summit, making it a popular activity for both tourists and locals.

Conservation and Visitor Experience:

Mount Longonot National Park is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service, which aims to balance conservation efforts with sustainable tourism. Visitors to the park can enjoy guided hikes, birdwatching, and picnicking. Camping is allowed at designated sites within the park, allowing visitors to experience the unique beauty of the area while respecting its ecological integrity.

Getting There:

The Park is conveniently located approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. The journey by road from Nairobi takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, making it an accessible day trip destination. The nearest town is Naivasha, where travelers can find accommodation, restaurants, and other amenities.


Key Features and Attractions at Mount Longonot National Park.

Mount Longonot National Park is a remarkable destination in Kenya, known for its unique geological features, diverse flora and fauna, and outdoor activities. Here are some key features and attractions that you can experience at the park:

Mount Longonot Caldera:

The centerpiece of the park is the Mount Longonot Caldera, a dormant stratovolcano with a perfectly circular shape. The caldera was formed by volcanic activity and erosion, creating a distinctive landscape that offers breathtaking panoramic views from its rim.

Hiking Trails:

Hiking is the main activity at Mount Longonot National Park. The park offers a challenging hiking trail that leads to the rim of the caldera. The trek takes you through various ecosystems, from savannah grasslands to montane forest, providing an opportunity to experience diverse flora and fauna along the way.

Summit Views:

Reaching the summit of Mount Longonot rewards hikers with stunning views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, and the surrounding landscape. The panoramic vista from the rim of the caldera is a highlight and a great spot for photography.

Wildlife Watching:

While not a primary wildlife destination, Mount Longonot National Park still hosts a variety of wildlife, including buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and baboons. Birdwatchers can enjoy spotting numerous bird species, making it a pleasant experience for nature enthusiasts.

Flora and Vegetation:

The Park’s vegetation varies with altitude, ranging from savannah grasslands and acacia trees at lower elevations to montane forest on the upper slopes. The unique volcanic soil supports a variety of plant species adapted to these conditions.

Picnicking and Relaxation:

There are designated picnic areas within the park where visitors can relax, enjoy a meal, and take in the scenic beauty. These areas are perfect for families and groups looking to have a leisurely day out.


Camping is allowed at designated sites within the park. Spending the night in the park offers a chance to experience the serene atmosphere and gaze at the starry skies, enhancing the overall adventure.

Guided Tours:

Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the park’s geological history, flora, fauna, and cultural significance. Local guides provide insights and enhance the overall experience.

Adventure and Fitness:

The challenging hike up Mount Longonot is a great way to engage in physical activity and test your endurance. It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals seeking an adventure.

Proximity to Lake Naivasha:

Mount Longonot National Park is located near Lake Naivasha, one of the Great Rift Valley’s freshwater lakes. Visitors can combine their visit to the park with a boat ride or a visit to the lake’s shores, adding more diversity to their itinerary.

Overall, Mount Longonot National Park offers a unique combination of natural beauty, geological wonders, and outdoor activities, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Kenya’s diverse landscapes.


Activities to do at Mountain Longonot National Park.

Mount Longonot National Park offers a range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, here are some activities you can engage in at the park:


Hiking is the primary activity at Mount Longonot National Park. The main trail takes you on a challenging trek up to the rim of the volcano’s caldera. The hike offers a mix of terrains, from open grasslands to forested areas, and rewards you with breathtaking views from the summit.


The Park’s unique landscape, panoramic vistas, and diverse flora and fauna provide excellent opportunities for photography. Capture the stunning views from the caldera rim, the volcanic features, and the wildlife you encounter along the way.

Wildlife Viewing:

While not a traditional wildlife park, Mount Longonot still hosts a variety of animals, including buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and baboons. Keep an eye out for these creatures during your hike.


The Park is home to numerous bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Bring your binoculars and spot various birds while enjoying the natural surroundings.

Scenic Views and Picnicking:

Enjoy a leisurely day by packing a picnic and heading to one of the designated picnic spots within the park. Relax, take in the panoramic views, and savor your meal in the midst of nature.


Spend a night under the stars by camping at the designated camping sites in the park. Camping allows you to experience the tranquility of the surroundings and observe the night sky away from city lights.

Guided Tours:

Join a guided tour to learn more about the park’s geology, history, flora, and fauna. Local guides provide insights and enrich your experience by sharing their knowledge.

Fitness and Adventure:

The challenging hike up Mount Longonot is a great way to test your fitness levels and enjoy an adventurous activity. The steep sections and varying terrain add an element of excitement to the journey.

Educational Activities:

Mount Longonot National Park is an ideal place for educational trips. Teachers, students, and nature enthusiasts can explore the geological processes, volcanic formations, and ecosystems within the park.

Visit Lake Naivasha:

Combine your visit to Mount Longonot National Park with a trip to nearby Lake Naivasha. Take a boat ride on the lake, visit Crescent Island for more wildlife viewing, or simply relax by the lakeside.

Photographic Safaris:

Consider engaging in a photographic safari, focusing on capturing the park’s natural beauty and unique features while honing your photography skills.

Enjoy Sunrise or Sunset:

If you’re up for an early morning adventure, hike up to the caldera rim to catch a stunning sunrise. Alternatively, you can plan a late afternoon hike to witness the park bathed in the warm hues of sunset.

Remember to check with the park authorities for any entry fees, regulations, and safety guidelines before embarking on your chosen activities. Whether you’re seeking physical challenges, natural beauty, or educational experiences, Mount Longonot National Park has something to offer for every type of traveler.


Accommodation at Mount Longonot National Park.

Mount Longonot National Park is primarily known for its stunning volcanic crater and diverse wildlife, offering hiking and nature exploration opportunities. However, it might not have accommodation options directly within the park itself. Visitors often choose to stay in nearby towns or cities and then travel to the park for day trips.

Naivasha is the nearest major town to Mount Longonot National Park and has a range of accommodation options to choose from. These accommodations vary in terms of budget, style, and amenities. Some popular choices include lodges, hotels, guesthouses, and even campsites.


When to Visit Mount Longonot NP.

Mount Longonot National Park in Kenya can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking. Here are a few things to consider:

Dry Season (January – February and June – September):

These months are generally considered the best time to visit Mount Longonot National Park. The weather is dry and the skies are clear, making it ideal for hiking and enjoying the panoramic views from the summit. The temperatures are usually moderate during these months, making outdoor activities more comfortable.

Rainy Season (March – May and October – December):

The rainy season can bring lush greenery and vibrant landscapes to the area, but hiking might be more challenging due to slippery trails and the possibility of rain. If you’re interested in photography and enjoy the sight of lush vegetation, visiting during the rainy season could be rewarding. However, keep in mind that some trails might be closed for safety reasons.

Avoiding Crowds:

If you prefer to visit when there are fewer tourists, consider going during the shoulder seasons (between the dry and rainy seasons). This could be around late February to early March or late September to early October. During these times, you might find fewer visitors and more tranquility in the park.

Wildlife Viewing:

While Mount Longonot National Park is not primarily known for its wildlife, you might spot some animals like zebras, giraffes, and antelopes. Wildlife viewing is generally better during the dry season when animals congregate around water sources.

Remember that weather patterns can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check the current weather forecast before your trip. Also, keep in mind that the information might have changed since my last update, so I recommend consulting local tourism resources or travel websites for the most up-to-date information on the best times to visit Mount Longonot National Park


Geography and Geology of Mount Longonot NP.

Mount Longonot National Park is located in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, the capital city. It is known for its unique geography and geology, characterized by a dormant stratovolcano and a stunning crater at its summit. Here’s an overview of the geography and geology of Mount Longonot:


  • Crater: The most distinctive feature of Mount Longonot is its large crater, which is approximately 7.2 kilometers in diameter and reaches a depth of about 750 meters. The crater was formed by volcanic activity and has a relatively flat bottom.
  • Rift Valley: Mount Longonot is situated within the Great Rift Valley, a massive geological trench that runs through eastern Africa. The valley is known for its diverse landscapes, geological formations, and unique ecosystems.
  • Surrounding Landscape: The Park’s terrain is rugged and hilly, with a mix of rocky outcrops, grasslands, and scattered trees. The crater rim offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Rift Valley and nearby Lake Naivasha.


  • Stratovolcano: Mount Longonot is a stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano. This type of volcano is characterized by alternating layers of lava flows, volcanic ash, and other volcanic materials. Over time, these layers build up to create the distinctive conical shape of the volcano.
  • Dormant Status: While Mount Longonot is considered dormant, it still has the potential to become active in the future. The last eruption of Mount Longonot is believed to have occurred in the 19th century. However, there have been no recorded eruptions in modern history.
  • Volcanic Activity: The volcanic activity that formed Mount Longonot is related to the tectonic processes associated with the Great Rift Valley. The East African Rift, which is part of the larger East African Rift System, is responsible for the geological activity in the region.

Visitors to Mount Longonot National Park can explore hiking trails that lead to the summit of the volcano, offering breathtaking views of the crater and surrounding landscapes. The park is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and those interested in geological formations. It’s important to note that due to the unique terrain, visitors should be prepared for challenging hikes and changes in weather conditions


Getting to Mount Longonot NP.

To get to Mount Longonot National Park in Kenya, you can follow these general directions:

From Nairobi:

  • The most common starting point is Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.
  • The park is located approximately 90 kilometers northwest of Nairobi.

By Road:

  • The most practical way to reach Mount Longonot National Park is by road.
  • You can take a private vehicle, hire a taxi, or use a tour operator’s transportation services.
  • The journey typically takes around 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions.


  • Head northwest out of Nairobi on the A104 highway (Nairobi-Nakuru Highway) toward Naivasha.
  • Continue on the A104 until you reach Naivasha town.

From Naivasha:

  • Once you’re in Naivasha, follow signs or directions to Mount Longonot National Park.
  • The park’s entrance is well-marked and easily accessible from Naivasha.

Travel Tips:

  • Make sure to have a reliable map or GPS navigation to guide you.
  • Check road conditions and weather before you travel.
  • If you’re not familiar with the area, consider hiring a local driver or using a guided tour for added convenience and safety.

Public Transportation:

  • While public transportation options (buses, matatus) are available in Kenya, they might not provide direct access to the park entrance.
  • You might need to travel to Naivasha and then arrange for local transportation or a taxi to reach the park.

Air Travel:

  • If you’re flying to Kenya from abroad, you’ll likely land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
  • From Nairobi, you can then follow the road directions mentioned above to reach Mount Longonot National Park.

Remember that road conditions can vary, and it’s recommended to plan your journey well in advance. Consider the time of day, traffic conditions, and local advice when traveling.


Conservation Measures and Challenges at Mount Longonot NP.

The measures (Conservation) and challenges at Mount Longonot NP are important aspects to consider for the protection of its unique ecosystems, wildlife, and geological features.

Conservation Measures:

  • Protected Area Status: Mount Longonot National Park is designated as a protected area, which means it is legally recognized and managed for the conservation of its natural and cultural heritage.
  • Biodiversity Monitoring: Park authorities and conservation organizations often conduct surveys and monitoring programs to assess the health of the park’s ecosystems and the status of its wildlife.
  • Habitat Restoration: Efforts may be made to restore and rehabilitate degraded areas within the park to enhance the habitat for wildlife and improve overall ecological health.
  • Community Engagement: Involving local communities in conservation efforts can lead to better protection of the park. Sustainable tourism initiatives and community-based conservation projects may be implemented.
  • Visitor Education: Educating visitors about the importance of conservation and responsible behavior within the park can help reduce negative impacts on the environment and wildlife.
  • Enforcement: Park rangers and authorities work to enforce regulations to prevent illegal activities such as poaching, habitat destruction, and unauthorized access.


  • Human Encroachment: Encroachment by local communities for agricultural purposes and settlements can lead to habitat destruction and fragmentation, impacting wildlife and ecosystems.
  • Illegal Activities: Poaching, illegal logging, and other illicit activities can threaten the park’s wildlife and biodiversity.
  • Invasive Species: Invasive plant and animal species can outcompete native species, disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.
  • Tourism Impact: While tourism can provide revenue for conservation efforts, unregulated or unsustainable tourism can lead to habitat disturbance, waste pollution, and degradation.
  • Climate Change: Climate change can affect the park’s ecosystems through changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, and other environmental factors. This can impact wildlife habitats and the overall health of the ecosystem.
  • Limited Resources: Limited funding, personnel, and infrastructure can hinder effective conservation and management efforts.
  • Balancing Conservation and Development: Striking a balance between conserving the park’s natural values and allowing sustainable development in surrounding areas can be challenging.
  • Public Awareness: Lack of awareness among the public about the importance of conservation and responsible behavior can contribute to challenges.

Efforts are typically ongoing to address these challenges and implement effective conservation strategies.


What to Pack for Mount Longonot NP.

When visiting Mt. Longonot National Park, it’s important to be well-prepared to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here’s a list of items you should consider packing:

Hiking Gear:

  • Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support for navigating the uneven and sometimes rocky terrain.
  • Comfortable moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters.
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing, such as moisture-wicking shirts and pants.
  • Hat or cap to protect your head from the sun.
  • Sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
  • Insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes and other insects.


  • A small backpack to carry your essentials.
  • A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated.
  • Snacks and energy bars for sustenance during your hike.

Weather Gear:

  • Lightweight rain jacket or poncho in case of rain, as weather can change quickly.
  • Warm layer or fleece for cooler temperatures at higher elevations, especially during the evening.

Navigation and Safety:

  • Map of the park and the hiking trails.
  • Compass or GPS device for navigation, especially if you plan on exploring less-traveled paths.
  • Fully charged mobile phone for emergencies (keep in mind that signal reception may be limited in some areas).
  • Whistle and a small flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries.

First Aid Kit:

  • Basic first aid supplies, including adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister treatment, and any personal medications you might need.

Personal Items:

  • Identification (passport, ID card, etc.).
  • Camera or Smartphone for capturing the stunning views and memorable moments.


  • Bring some local currency in small denominations for entrance fees, tips, and small purchases.

Respect for the Environment:

  • Trash bags to carry out your waste; leave no trace by packing out what you bring in.
  • Consider using a reusable water bottle and avoiding single-use plastic items.


  • Binoculars for birdwatching and wildlife observation.
  • Trekking poles for added stability on steep sections of the trail.

Remember that the weather conditions can change quickly, so it’s essential to be prepared for various scenarios. Pack according to the season and weather forecast during your visit. It’s also a good idea to check with local authorities or guides for any specific recommendations or requirements before your trip.


Remarks on Mount Longonot National Park.

The National Park (Mt. Longonot) offers an exceptional opportunity to explore the fascinating geological features of a dormant volcano, experience diverse ecosystems, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking. Its unique landscape and captivating views make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an adventure in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley.