On Saturday we drove 60 kilometers North West into the Great Rift Valley of Kenya to hike Mt. Longonot with a group of friends. Mt. Longonot is a dormant volcano that last erupted around 1860. It’s tallest peak stands at 2, 776 meters (9,107 feet). The name Longonot derived from a Maasai word meaning “mountain with steep ridges,” and about half way up you understood why they choose this name.
We must say it was one of the most beautiful and scenic hikes we have ever been on, and we have been on quite a few. You spend between 1-1 1/2 hours climbing up to the crater rim. The rim of the crater is 10-20 feet across. Looking to one side you can see the Rift Valley and Lake Navaisha stretching out before you. Looking to the other side you stare down into the crater, which due to the rich soil, is covered with a dense impenetrable forest. In certain spots you could also see steam rising from the side of the crater. You then have the option of hiking around the entire rim which rises and falls in elevation. We were running out of daylight, so we hiked about 1/4 of the rim to the highest point and then backtracked to get back before dark. It was truly amazing to hike around the rim with only a few yards between you and a deep crater on one side, and a few yards between you and a drop of a few thousand feet to the valley below. The views from the top as well as the views of Longonot itself were incredible. One of the most unique aspects of the hike, which you could only experience in Africa, was what happened on the way down. We were nearly back down onto the valley floor when 2 giraffes cross the trail just in front of us. Now we have been on Safari a few times, and driven around the country of Kenya enough in the past that seeing animals is nothing new for us. But to see them while hiking, crossing your path, completely unexpected….that is incredible. At the closest point I got within 30 yards from them. Shortly after seeing the giraffes we spotted a herd of Zebra and Gazelle, but they were a bit further out.
All in all is was an incredible day and an awesome experience. We just kept thinking, “Wow, how are we so blessed to live in such a beautiful place!” For us, you can’t feel much closer to God than when you enjoy His creation.
Here are some pics, but to see all of them click on the Flickr link over there —–>