Hiking Mount Longonot – The Beginner’s Trail

Like many people, Mount Longonot was my first hike out of Nairobi. The trail is a good test and one of the best places to gauge whether you really “love hiking.”

Two Thousand and Twenty-Two was a quiet year as I only managed to hike Rurimeria in December. However, I decided to venture outdoors more in 2023.

To live up to the adventure spirit, I returned to Mount Longonot with two friends at the beginning of the year. The day followed almost the same pattern; leaving Nairobi early in the morning, stopping at the rift valley view point along Mai Mahiu Road, appreciating the Travellers Church along the way, and arriving at Mount Longonot National Park Gate.

To the Rim of the Crater

After paying the entrance fees, we started the hike along the vehicle path to buffalo point, where the trail begins. The sun was scorching on this day, making the walk even more fun. By the time we reached the hut – past the grueling concrete stairs, everyone’s feet were complaining.

The next part to the crater’s rim was more manageable as a passing cloud occasionally covered the sun. After enjoying the cool breeze and great landscape views, we continued hiking along the rim clockwise to Kilele Ngamia (2,776 m ASL).

We started back a few minutes past noon. Rain clouds above made our hike back to the gate easy.

It may not be the most challenging hike in Kenya, but Longonot is a perfect day hike for beginners. It’s also a fantastic place to get back into the outdoors after a long time away.

The Cross at the Summit of Mount Longonot

If you have hiked Mt. Longonot up to the summit (Kilele Ngamai), you’ll have noticed a peculiar cross with the words “Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis.” Also, these words appear at the Italian War Memorial Church entrance in Mai Mahiu.

If, like me, you wondered how the cross got there and what it means, here is what I found out.

Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis – The cross is steady while the world turns. – is the motto of the Carthusians. The Order of Carthusians is a Latin enclosed religious order of the Catholic Church founded by Bruno of Cologne in 1084.

The cross at Mt. Longonot was carried and fixed on 10th April 2021 by a group of youths from SSPX Kenya. The Holy Cross Choir and Youth Group were led by their leaders, Father James, and Father Louis.

  • Holy Cross Catholic Church – Latin Mass Kenya
  • Society of Saint Pius X

Facts About Hiking Mount Longonot

Location: Inside Mount Longonot National Park, about 90 Kilometers west of Nairobi. From the city center, follow A104 and then join Mai Mahiu Road. After a few kilometers from Mai Mahiu town (towards Naivasha), you will see the park’s signpost. Turn left and follow murram road to the park’s gate.

Trail Type: Out and Back (with a 7.2 Km hike around the crater).

Altitude: 2,776 M ASL

Distance: 13.4 Km – takes 4 to 6 Hours

Activities: Hiking and Camping (There is a campsite near the gate).

Getting There: You can drive to the park’s gate (see location) or join a hiking trip.

Hike Difficulty: Moderate – Friendly to beginners and children over eight years.

What to Carry: Identification Document, Snacks, and Rain Gear. Make sure you carry at least 4 liters of water.

Hiking Mount Longonot: FAQ’s

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about hiking Mount Longonot.

How long does it take to climb Mount Longonot?

Hiking Mount Longonot to the summit (Kilele Ngamia) and back to the gate takes 4-6 hours.

How long is Mount Longonot Hike?

The trail up to the crater’s rim is about 3.1 Km, and the hike around the rim (including the summit is 7.2 Km). This makes the whole hike (out and back) about 13.4 Km.

How much does it cost to enter Mt Longonot?

Kenyan citizens and residents pay Ksh 322, while non-residents pay $30 to enter Mt Longonot. Cash payments are not allowed. Visitors can only pay using Mpesa or Card (Visa or Mastercard).

Featured Photo: Mount Longonot by KWS

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