Mount Longonot National Park

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Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park is a stratovolcano located 90 km north-west of Nairobi, southeast of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya, it is thought to have last erupted in 1860 and its name is delivered from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot, meaning ‘’ mountains of many spurs’’ or ‘’steep ridges’’.

The park covers an area of 52 square kilometers with a landscape standing at an elevation of 1,875-2,776 meters above sea level. The landscape of the park is composed of mainly grassland and shrubs, dominated by leleshwa bushes and several varieties of acacia trees, a V-shaped valley, ridges, and little vegetation cover.

The park was established in 1984. A unique feature of the park is the thick forest that lies within the crater of the mountain. The crater rim also provides great scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley to Lake Naivasha.

How do I get to Mt Longonot National Park?

By Road: The journey starts from Nairobi via the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway (A104). After passing through small towns, including Naivasha, you continue on the highway until you see signs directing you to Mt. Longonot. Turning left off the highway, you follow a smaller road that leads directly to the park entrance. The drive typically takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic and stops.

By Air: You would start at Wilson Airport in Nairobi and charter a flight to Naivasha Airstrip, the closest airstrip to Mt. Longonot. The flight takes approximately 30 minutes. Upon arrival at Naivasha Airstrip, you would need to arrange ground transportation for the 20-kilometer drive to Mt. Longonot, which takes about 30-40 minutes. This option offers a unique experience and saves time for those who are pressed for time. 

What is the climate and ecosystem like in Mt Longonot National Park?

The ecosystem of Longonot National Park comprises a mountain rising 2,776m above sea level. On the sides of the hill are V-shaped valleys and ridges with little vegetation. A 3.1 km trail runs from the park entrance up to the crater rim and continues in a 7.2 km loop encircling the crater.

A unique feature of a thick forest occurs within the mountain crater.  The crater rim also offers stunning scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley to Lake Naivasha. Mount Longonot National Park’s weather conditions are hot and dry. The annual average temperature is 25 °C with the highest ranging to about 30 °C and the lowest ranging to about 20 °C. The average annual rainfall is about 450 mm with the highest of about 700 mm and the lowest of 200 mm.

Are there any wildlife in Mt Longonot National Park?

Yes, they are. Major wildlife attractions in Mount Longonot include buffaloes, elands, lions, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffe and Grant’s gazelles, Thomson gazelles, and many other antelopes. Leopards have also been spotted but can be difficult to spot. 

What activities can be done in Mt Longonot National Park?

Hiking: Mt Longonot National Park offers an exceptional hiking experience, taking you to the rim of an extinct volcano with breathtaking views. The journey starts at the park gate, where a 3.1-kilometer trail ascends to the crater rim. Though the distance might seem manageable, the hike is challenging and requires reasonable fitness due to the steep and rugged terrain.

Game Viewing: Despite its smaller population of large mammals, Mount Longonot National Park offers an engaging game-viewing experience. As you hike up to the rim and explore the forested crater floor, you may encounter animals such as buffalo, zebra, antelopes, baboons, leopards, bushbucks, Grant’s gazelles, elands, and hartebeests.

Rock Climbing: Mount Longonot’s rugged terrain and cliffs make it an excellent spot for rock climbing enthusiasts. The volcanic rock formations offer challenging and varied climbing routes. Climbers can enjoy the thrill of scaling the rock faces while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

Camping: Camping at Mount Longonot National Park offers a wild adventure, distinct from the usual hotel experience. The park campsite is the Olongonot Campsite located 2 kilometers from the main gate and can accommodate up to 150 people, making it suitable for large groups or individual campers seeking solitude amidst nature.

Nature Walks: Nature walks in Mount Longonot National Park provide a serene and immersive way to experience the park’s natural beauty. These guided walks take you through diverse landscapes, from open grasslands to dense forests, offering a closer look at the park’s flora and fauna.

Bird Watching: Mount Longonot National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise, known for its significant bird population. The park’s diverse habitats, including forests and open grasslands, attract a wide variety of bird species. Bird watchers can spot Verreaux’s Eagle, Lammergeier, common Ostrich, Fulvous whistling duck, Egyptian Goose, helmeted guinea fowl, scaly francolin, and Speckled Pigeon, among others.

Bike Riding: Bike riding in Mount Longonot National Park offers an adventurous way to explore the rugged terrain and scenic landscapes. The park features a 2-kilometer circuit road that runs towards the volcanic lava flow, providing a challenging yet exciting ride.

What are the accommodation options in Mt Longonot National Park?

There are no lodge accommodation facilities inside the park except for the Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS ) campsite. However, a wide range of accommodation options are available in Naivasha Town and along Moi South Lake Road. Some nearby accommodation facilities include;

Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort: Situated approximately 35 kilometers from Mount Longonot National Park, about a 45-minute drive away. Nestled near the shores of Lake Naivasha, the resort offers a perfect blend of luxury and nature.

The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort: Located about 45 kilometers from the park (roughly an hour’s drive), sits majestically on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. This luxurious resort offers breathtaking panoramic views, well-appointed rooms, and an 18-hole golf course.

Crater Lake Tented Camp: Another unique accommodation option, approximately 40 kilometers from the park, or about an hour’s drive. This camp, situated on the shores of Crater Lake, combines adventure with comfort. It offers spacious tents with en-suite facilities, a restaurant, and guided nature walks.

Naivasha Kongoni Lodge: Located about 35 kilometers from Mount Longonot (a 45-minute drive), provides a range of accommodations, from cottages to luxury tents. This lodge features amenities such as a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Discover our exhilarating one-day Mt. Longonot excursion below:

Mount Longonot Hiking Day Trip Safari | Click Here

Mount Longonot National Park

Mount Longonot National Park Wildlife | Animals & Birds

Mt Longonot National Park offers a diverse selection of wildlife, making it a fascinating destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. As you hike up to the rim of the crater, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various animals, and those venturing into the forested crater can encounter even more species.

The park is home to notable wildlife including buffalos, giraffes, zebras, and several species of antelopes. Baboons are commonly seen, and although elusive, leopards also inhabit the park. Observing these animals in their natural habitat adds to the adventure and excitement of exploring Mount Longonot.

The park is also a haven for bird watchers, particularly those interested in the diverse avian life of the Rift Valley. A notable number of raptors can be seen catching thermals over the crater, with Verreaux’s Eagle and Lammergeier being common sightings.

Other bird species include Abbott’s Starling, Lesser Kestrel, Jackson’s widowbird, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Olive Ibis, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, African Grass Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Widowbird, Abyssinian Owl, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, and Kenrick’s Starling, which is particularly notable as it is confined to this area in Kenya.

Mount Longonot National Park Activities | What To Do

Hiking

Mt Longonot National Park offers an exceptional hiking experience, taking you to the rim of an extinct volcano with breathtaking views. The journey starts at the park gate, where a 3.1-kilometer trail ascends to the crater rim. Though the distance might seem manageable, the hike is challenging and requires reasonable fitness due to the steep and rugged terrain.

The ascent to the rim typically takes between 1 to 2 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. Once at the rim, you can choose to hike around the perimeter of the caldera, a 7.2-kilometer loop offering stunning panoramic views.

Regular hikers often prefer a counter-clockwise direction for a smoother ascent and more rewarding views. The complete hike, covering 13 kilometers from the park gate and back, usually takes around 4 to 5 hours, including necessary rest stops.

For those seeking an adventurous challenge, venturing into the caldera requires permission from park rangers and a guide due to the unmarked and potentially dangerous trails. Camping inside the crater is possible with prior permission, adding to the unique experience of exploring Mount Longonot.


Game Viewing

Despite its smaller population of large mammals, Mount Longonot National Park offers an engaging game-viewing experience. As you hike up to the rim and explore the forested crater floor, you may encounter animals such as buffalo, zebra, antelopes, baboons, leopards, bushbucks, Grant’s gazelles, elands, and hartebeests.

These sightings make the park a worthwhile destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The blend of hiking and game viewing provides a unique opportunity to appreciate the park’s natural beauty and biodiversity.


Rock Climbing

Mount Longonot’s rugged terrain and steep cliffs make it an excellent spot for rock climbing enthusiasts. The volcanic rock formations offer challenging and varied climbing routes. Climbers can enjoy the thrill of scaling the rock faces while taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The activity requires proper equipment and safety measures, and climbers are advised to go with experienced guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Camping

Camping at Mount Longonot National Park offers a wild adventure, distinct from the usual hotel experience. The park campsite is the Olongonot Campsite located 2 kilometers from the main gate and can accommodate up to 150 people, making it suitable for large groups or individual campers seeking solitude amidst nature.

Equipped with basic toiletries and washroom services. These campsites feature complete ablution blocks with showers for both men and women. Visitors can rent equipment from the Mt. Longonot Tour Guide, including tents, blankets, mattresses, sleeping bags, lamps, and cooking gear.

Camping within the park allows for a unique overnight experience, with the possibility of camping inside the crater for those who seek a more immersive adventure.


Nature Walks

Nature walks in Mount Longonot National Park provide a serene and immersive way to experience the park’s natural beauty. These guided walks take you through diverse landscapes, from open grasslands to dense forests, offering a closer look at the park’s flora and fauna.

Walking through the park allows visitors to appreciate the intricate details of the ecosystem, from the variety of plant species to the smaller animals and insects that inhabit the area. Nature walks are suitable for all ages and provide an educational and relaxing way to explore the park.


Bird Watching

Mount Longonot National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise, known for its significant bird population. The park’s diverse habitats, including forests and open grasslands, attract a wide variety of bird species. Bird watchers can spot Verreaux’s Eagle, Lammergeier, common Ostrich, Fulvous whistling duck, Egyptian Goose, helmeted guinea fowl, scaly francolin, and Speckled Pigeon, among others.

The park’s location in the Rift Valley makes it an important stopover for migratory birds, adding to the richness of the birdwatching experience. Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times for bird watching when the birds are most active.


Bike Riding

Bike riding in Mount Longonot National Park offers an adventurous way to explore the rugged terrain and scenic landscapes. The park features a 2-kilometer circuit road that runs towards the volcanic lava flow, providing a challenging yet exciting ride.

Biking through the park allows you to cover more ground and experience the varying landscapes, from rocky areas to forested sections. This activity is perfect for adventure seekers looking to combine fitness with the thrill of exploring the natural environment. Proper biking gear and safety precautions are recommended to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Mount Longonot National Park Accommodation | Where To Stay

While there are no accommodation options in the park, there are many different options near it. Some of these hotels and lodges are:

Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort

Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort is situated approximately 35 kilometers from Mount Longonot National Park, about a 45-minute drive away. Nestled near the shores of Lake Naivasha, the resort offers a perfect blend of luxury and nature.

Guests can enjoy spacious rooms, beautifully landscaped gardens, and amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, and a bar. The tranquil environment, coupled with stunning views of the lake and its wildlife, makes it an ideal base for visitors looking to relax after a day of exploring Mount Longonot.


The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort

The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, located about 45 kilometers from the park (roughly an hour’s drive), sits majestically on the edge of the Great Rift Valley. This luxurious resort offers breathtaking panoramic views, well-appointed rooms, and an 18-hole golf course.

With amenities including swimming pools and multiple dining options, the lodge provides a relaxing retreat. Its scenic location makes it a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy both the beauty of the Rift Valley and the adventure of hiking Mount Longonot.


Crater Lake Tented Camp

Crater Lake Tented Camp is another unique accommodation option, approximately 40 kilometers from the park, or about an hour’s drive. This camp, situated on the shores of Crater Lake, combines adventure with comfort. It offers spacious tents with en-suite facilities, a restaurant, and guided nature walks.

The serene environment and the chance to see wildlife up close make it a favorite among nature lovers. The camp’s location allows easy access to both Crater Lake and Mount Longonot, offering a dual experience of two stunning natural attractions.


Naivasha Kongoni Lodge

Naivasha Kongoni Lodge, located about 35 kilometers from Mount Longonot (a 45-minute drive), provides a range of accommodations, from cottages to luxury tents. This lodge features amenities such as a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Its proximity to Lake Naivasha and Mount Longonot makes it a convenient and enjoyable option for visitors who wish to explore the area’s natural beauty and attractions.

Mount Longonot National Park Entrance Fees

Seasons East Africa Citizen/ Resident
(Kenya Shillings)
Rest of Africa
(US Dollars)
International Visitors (US Dollars)
Dates From Dates To Adult Child/ Student Adult Child/ Student Adult Child/ Student
1st Jan 2024 31st Mar 2024 400
Kenya Shillings
250
Kenya Shillings
20
US Dollars
15
US Dollars
30
US Dollars
20
US Dollars
1st Jan 2024 31st Mar 2024 300
Kenya Shillings
200
Kenya Shillings
15
US Dollars
10
US Dollars
20
US Dollars
15
US Dollars
1st Jan 2024 31st Mar 2024 400
Kenya Shillings
250
Kenya Shillings
20
US Dollars
15
US Dollars
30
US Dollars
20
US Dollars

Notes;

* KENYAN (KE) CITIZEN– refers to Kenyan nationals by birth and registration, with valid Identification Card
* REST OF AFRICA  – refers to nationals of African countries other than East African countries with a valid passport
* RESIDENT – refers to persons of other nationalities residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government
* DAILY FEE is a single entry fee valid for 24 hours of continuous uninterrupted stay inside a KWS national park/ reserve/ sanctuary
* INTERNATIONAL (INTL) VISITORS – refers to visitors other than EAST AFRICAN CITIZEN and rest of Africa with a valid passport
* SENIOR CITIZEN – refers to Kenyan Citizens aged 75 years and above. Senior citizens shall access all KWS parks, reserves and sanctuaries for free
* CHILDREN – refers to persons from the age of five (5) years to seventeen years (17) years. Children below the age of five (5) years shall access all KWS parks, reserves and sanctuaries for free
* CONSERVATION FEES – refers to fees charged in national parks, reserves and sanctuaries for the purpose of conserving and protecting natural resources, such as wildlife, habitats and ecosystems
* EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY (EAC) CITIZEN – refers to nationals of East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a valid passport
* STUDENT– refers to an individual from a recognized secondary, government or private college or university aged up to twenty-three (23) years old visiting the parks for purposes of learning about conservation through a documented and organized arrangement with that institution. It excludes students on personally arranged holidays. KWS will require a minimum of one (1) week notice to issue a written authorization for the student rates
* PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PWD) – refers to Kenyan Citizens who have a physical, sensory, mental or other impairment, including any visual, hearing, learning or physical incapability, which impacts adversely on social, economic or environmental participation. PWD access all KWS parks, reserves and sanctuaries for free upon presentation of valid documentation from the National Council for Persons with Disabilities

Booking & Reservations Mount Longonot National Park Contact

Mobile: + 254-721-242-711
WhatsApp: +254-721-242-711
Reservations: +254 718-179-967
Email: info@africanspicesafaris.com
Website: https://africanspicesafaris.com

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