Are you nature enthusiasts and you are searching for that best destination to spend your weekend in Kenya? Well, make your dreams come true in Africa by including Longonot National Park in your bucket list. This park is situated around Lake Naivasha, about 100 kilometers off Nairobi city center. It takes visitors 2 (two) hours’ drive from Nairobi to Longonot protected area. Because of this, the park features as one of the most accessible tourist sites in Kenya meaning sparing a day is enough for you to realize your dreams in Africa. It also serves as one of the best stopovers for visitors on safari to Maasai Mara National Park. Longonot conservation area derived its name from the Maasai word Olo Nong’ot which denotes the mountains with countless spurs.
Longonot National Park covers an area of 52 square kilometers and offers refuge to the magnificent Mount Longonot which stands at 2776 meters and features a rugged Crater at its edge hence offering the most incredible views of the park’s surrounding areas. The park features various trails including the a 3.1 kilometer trail which stretches from the protected area entry point to the Crater edge and then proceeds to 7.2 kilometers’ long trail. The whole loop covers 13.5 kilometers to and from the park’s gate lasting for about four to five hours including stopovers. There is a gate standing at altitude 2150 meters and the peak at 2780 meters. This inactive volcano stands at 1000 meters above the hot valley floor and it featured 400,000 years back. It experienced its last eruption around 1860s. Given the availability of this remarkable volcano; Longonot National Park rewards visitors with the most thrilling hiking adventures which come along with the most spectacular views of its surrounding areas especially the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park and many more. For interested visitors, come along with better hiking boots-light weight and give support to your ankles while hiking, sunscreen, binoculars, a camera, a hat, energy giving snacks, sunglasses, bottle of drinking water and many more.
Besides, this Mountain Protected Area was also established to offer refuge to most of its eco system. Its stunning savanna ecosystem consists of giraffes, zebras, lions, leopards, buffaloes, baboons, hartebeests, grant’s and Thomson gazelles, elands, impalas and other amazing antelope families. More than 427 bird species also call this park their home making it one of the perfect and important bird areas in Kenya.
How to access Mount Longonot National Park
This protected area is reachable by road through tarmac from Nairobi via Naivasha town and then you link up to the park through the old Naivasha-Nairobi route using a motorbike taxi or land cruiser up to the gate. The park entry fees range from KSH 350 for adult citizen, KSH 250 for children, KSH 600 for East African resident adult, KSH 300 for East African resident children, $26 for non resident adult and lastly 417 for non resident children.
Tourist activities in Mount Longonot National Park
When it comes to safaris to Longonot protected area, visitors get a chance to interact with nature. The most rewarding activities to do in this conservation area include;
Hiking adventures in Mount Longonot which features among the very few unusual hiking spots in the magical Kenya. Hiking through this volcano is breathtaking and depending on your level of physical fitness, visitors can hike through the circumference of the caldera that covers about 7.2 kilometers and you will be amazed by the views of its surrounding areas. For interested hikers, you are encouraged to be at the site earl enough given the hot sun shine that comes at noon. However, the park is open from 6:00am local time and do not forget to come with adequate drinking water plus energy giving snacks, a hat, sunscreen, sun glasses, hiking boots and many more. For the most exciting and enjoyable hiking adventures, the perfect time to visit Mount Longonot is from January-April and September-December.
Wildlife viewing; despite the small number of wildlife species that thrive within this park, for keen visitors, you with thrilled by sights of the big game, zebras, giraffes, antelope families as well as several bird species including raptors which can be sighted at the edge of the mountain, lammergeyers and verreaux’s eagle and others.
Rock climbing, this allows you to explore the walls of the crater. Other prominent activities for you to engage in while on safari in Mount Longonot National Park include cycling, scenic viewing at the edge of Mount Longonot which rewards visitors with amazing views at the several bird life, the southern rift valley, Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park and many more; visit the geothermal vents as they escape off from moist of the fissures and the crater edge.
Accommodation in Mount Longonot National Park
Longonot National Park has no lodging facilities except Olongonot campsite which is located inside the protected area and can be reached by road to crater. This campsite offers basic accommodation and has tent, running water and toilet. You will be required to come along with all that is needed for you to complete your safari in this park. However, most accommodation options are available in Lake Naivasha and they include Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge which lies along Lake Naivasha shores, in the vast tree lined garden which comes with several bird species, giraffes as well as herd of waterbuck. Its cottage style rooms feature private terraces over viewing the gardens and the Lake. It is a perfect place for you to cool yourself in one of the outdoor pools and get awesome treatment as well as body massage after that strenuous hike.
Enashipai Lodge, this is a luxury facility for hikers on safari to Mount Longonot. It provides several lodging choices ranging from comfortable rooms to suites and also self catering cottages for family or even group travelers. You will also find swimming pool, tennis court, fitness center and dinning options. It serves visitors on safari to Lake Naivasha for a boat cruise, excursions to Mount Longonot and Hell’s Gate National Park.
In conclusion, Mount Longonot National Park is ideally one of the perfect tourist sites that you should consider a must to include in your travel plan if you are interested in unusual hiking adventures, wildlife encounters, scenic views and many more. With diverse tourist attractions, visitors on safari to this remarkable protected are never left out choice.