Going to hike Mount Longonot was the best decision I made. Not only did it help me make up my mind about going to Mount Kenya, but it was also a rather good experience and I met some really interesting people too. You can read all about that trip here.
So I thought to share my top 10 hiking tips that I hope you’ll find helpful when you too decide to go up that mountain. If you do visit Mount Longonot, make sure to tag me on social media and let me know how your experience was.
Mt Longonot is a monolith standing on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, 90kms away from Nairobi. To get there, you can either self-drive or book a tour. If you decide to drive to the park, you’ll need to use Google maps or any other navigation system because other than a small KWS board, there is no clear signage marking where you’ll need to exit from the main road. Tours trips from Nairobi cost anywhere between Ksh 2,000 to Ksh 5,000 for Kenyan Citizens.
To save yourself from extreme heat and exhaustion, make sure to start your day early. If possible, be at the park by 8 at the latest. That way you’ll have enough time to go up and around the crater. Going up, round the crater and back down can take up to 6hours (or more, depending on your fitness level and pace). You need to be out of the park before 6.00 pm.
3.Wear Proper Hiking Shoes
Let me repeat that for the people at the back, WEAR PROPER HIKING SHOES. Don’t be like me and suffer because of not having the proper shoes, please. You can get away with running/sport shoes but it will not be a smooth experience. The trails at Mt Longonot have loose gravel, which travels with you especially when you are descending and boy those ridges are steep! You need to have shoes that have a proper grip to the ground that will keep you balanced and save you from falling and injuring yourself.
4. Stay Hydrated
Make sure to start hydrating a day or two before your hike. Avoid dehydrates like alcohol and coffee the night before and the day of the hike. Carry at least 3 liters of water in a multi-use bottle or a hydration pack. If you carry water in single-use plastics, make sure to leave the park with all the empty bottles. Don’t be part of the problem!
5. Carry Your Essentials in a Day backpack
Ladies, please leave that handbag/purse at home. Get yourself a day pack, could be as simple as a drawstring bag but make sure it is one that will leave your hands free because you’ll need those hands to maintain balance, and get you up some places.
6. Pack snacks
Carry snacks to eat on your way up as well as a picnic lunch. Bananas are a good source of potassium, fiber and natural sugars that give you instant energy; you might consider packing a few.
7. Sun Protection
Your hiking day will be spent under the sun, so make sure to put on sunscreen to avoid sunburns. Also, carry a hat and a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
8. Rain Gear
Weather can change at an instant and so it’s always advisable to have your rain gear with you at all times. Umbrellas are not rain gear! Get yourself a proper raincoat that will cover you from head to toe.
9. Long-Sleeved Top/ Extra Clothes
Protect your arms from getting scratched by the thorny bushes you’ll be hiking through by wearing a long-sleeved top. Hiking Mount Longonot is a dusty affair, you are sure to get dirty so make sure to carry extra clothes.
10. Go Round the Crater
Don’t rob yourself the full experience of hiking Mount Longonot, getting to the summit is just a tip of the iceberg. Going up and down the ridges that circumference the crater is where you’ll truly feel the beauty of the mountain.
Mount Longonot offers insane views of the Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha, don’t forget to stop once in a while and soak in all this beauty. God took his time in creating it; you might as well appreciate it while you can. Plus, isn’t connection with nature the reason why we hike?