Mount longonot national park
Mount Longonot national park is a magical hidden gem of Kenya located in the great rift valley of Kenya south east of lake Naivasha, the park is situated approximately 60 kilometers north west of Nairobi city the capital city of Kenya. Mount Longonot park covering an area of 52 square kilometers is an excellent scenic national park stretching around mount Longonot an extinct volcanic rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley, the park is great is famous for its amazing scenic views created by the mountain and its crater with a forested floor
Attractions in mount Longonot park
Mount Longonot and the crater
Mount Longonot standing at the altitude of 2,776 meters is a stratovolcano mountain situated in the park and the main attraction in the park, this mountain is a stunning physical feature deriving its name form a local Masai slag meaning Oloonong’ot, meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges. Mount Longonot consists of rugged terrain and a crater on its top, the crater at the mountain is an 8 X 12 caldera formed as a result of numerous volcanic activities which are believed to have taken place about 21,000 years ago. The crater floor is dominated by forests which create a splendid scenery, while at the crater you also get to encounter geothermal vents from which you notice steam escaping from several fissures around the rim of the crater.
Mount Longonot and the crater are situated and reached on a 3.1 kilometer trail from the park’s main entrance
Mount Longonot national park is a paradise for birds most especially rift valley birds, mount Longonot national park is a home to over 100 species of birds which live in various vegetation covers in the park. These birds include Verreaux’s Eagle, Lammergeie, common Ostrich, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Egyptian Goose, helmeted guinea fowl, scaly francolin, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Mottled Swift, Common Swift, Nyanza Swift and many more.
Mount Longonot national park is a home to a reasonable number of wildlife species, animals in the park live in both inside the forested crater and short grass regions of the park. These animals include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, antelopes, baboons, leopards, bush bucks, grant’s gazelles, eland, impala, hartebeests and many more.
Tourist activities in mount Longonot national park
Mountaineering/ hiking is the highlight activity in mount Longonot national park, this activity involves hiking to the rim of mountain top navigating through the rigged forested terrain. From the park’s main entrance gate you hike on a trail of 3.1 kilometers leading you to the crater rim, this activity is both amusing and challenging as you hike through steep and rocky side of the volcano but the rewarding park is the amazing scenery of the crater with its floor covered by forests and sights of the amazing surrounding. While at the rim of the crater you can decide to embark on a 7.2 kilometer walk around the perimeter, the whole hiking to and around the caldera takes about 4 -5 hours of hiking and it is such an unforgettable experience.
Mount Longonot national park is not known for habiting large population of animals but the one present in the park make your wildlife viewing safari worth engaging in, wildlife viewing expedition in the park is an opportunity for you to see animals as you hike up to the rim of the crater and inside the floor of the forested crater. Animals sighted in the park include buffalo, zebra, giraffe, antelopes, baboons, leopards, bush bucks, grant’s gazelles, eland, impala, hartebeests and many more.
Mount Longonot national park has been noted to be one of the most important birding area and abird paradise for bird enthusiastic in the rift valley region of Kenya, the park is park partly forested thus providing a perfect habitant for rift valley birds. While on bird watching activity in mount Longonot national park you see many bird species such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Lammergeie, common Ostrich, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Egyptian Goose, helmeted guinea fowl, scaly francolin, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Mottled Swift, Common Swift, Nyanza Swift and many more
Mountain biking another entertaining activity in mountain Longonot national park offering both thrilling and adventurous moments, this activity is done on a 2 kilometer circuit road which runs towards the volcanic lava flow. For mountain biking, bikes are offered for hire and while biking you enjoy the beautiful scenery and animals in the park.
Where to stay in mount Longonot national park
In mount Longonot national park there is not accommodation facility except Olongoonot campsite which is situated inside the gates of the park and along access road to the crater, established facility for accommodation are situated in Naivasha town and they include
- Lake Naivasha country club
Lake Naivasha country club is situated in an hour’s drive from Nairobi city and reached using south lake road, this country club is an attractive facility built in the old colonial architecture on a 12 hectares of green lawns shaded by mature acacias and fever trees.
- Enashipai resort and spa
Enashipai resort and spa is located along Moi south lake road at the shores of Lake Naivasha and it is a drive of one hour from Nairobi city.
- Lake Naivasha panorama park
Lake Naivasha Panorama Park is situated in a distance of 1 kilometer form Naivasha town off Naivasha Mai-Mahiu road.
- Masada hotel
Masada hotel is situated on Naivasha south road 500 meters off the Mai Mahiu – Naivasha highway, the hotel offers facilities like accommodation, conference halls, swimming pool, bar and restaurant and gardens.
How to get to mount Longonot national park
Mount Longonot national park is located south east of Lake Naivasha in the great rift valley of Kenya, for tourists going for a safari the park is accessed by road and by air. By road from Nairobi city you use Naivasha road and use can chose to use either public means or private means, when using public means you board off in Longonot village and then board a motorbike or taxi to the gate of the park. By air domestic chartered flights are offered from either jomo Kenyatta international airport or Wilson airport to green park airstrip, from the airstrip you drive to the park’s gate.