17 July 2012
The majestic mountain seen from the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort stands at 2,785m above sea level. It has one of the largest calderas in Kenya.
The name Longonot is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot meaning ‘’Mountain of many spurs’’ or ‘’steep ridges’’ created by rivers of molten lava.
Longonot is a Stratovocano/composite volcano built up of many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice and volcano ash.
The excursion to Longonot from the lodge is a day trip. The drive to Mount Longonot National Park is 45 minutes and the hike from the foothill to the rim is 3.5 kilometers long. The walk around the rim is 7.1 kilometers.
It’s possible to climb down the crater but very challenging.
From the mountain it’s possible to spot the Burchell’s zebra (Equus burchellii), elands (Taurotragus oryx), Thomson gazelles (Eudorcas thomsonii), Grants gazelles (Nanger grantii), Maasai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis), the rarely seen Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), Coke’s hartebeest/Kongoni (Alcelaphus buselaphus), Steinbuck (Raphicerus campestris) and Kirk’s dik dik (Madaqua kirkii).
Being a very young volcano in Kenya that last erupted in 1863, there is a lot to learn about the geology. It is dormant volcano and the water a few thousand metres below the surface is 300°c - one of the hottest temperatures on earth.
Report By: Daniel Kilonzo, Senior Naturalist, Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort
Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages The Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf resort in Naivasha, just an hour an a half's drive from Nairobi. The lodge is famous for one the longest holes in Kenya - the par 5 - 17th ‘signature’ at 598 metres (654 yards)!