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Hiking Mt.Longonot

Domestic tourism in Kenya has been on the rise in the past five years. As an ardent local traveler,affordable domestic tour packages provided by local tour operators are the best things to happen in these wanderlust corridors.

Day tours or one to two nights out of town have gained popularity amongst Kenyans because of their affordability and the fact that they are mainly held over the weekend hence no interference with normal work week schedule.

Last Sunday, Xtrym Adventures  one of the leading organizers of adventures, safari and hikes in Kenya hooked us up with yet another group that was going to Mt.Longonot.

The cost of hiking the mountain, park entry fees, half a litre of water and transport to and fro Nairobi was all valued at Ksh.2,199 (Approx USD 22)

Mt. Longonot is about 60Km from Nairobi,Kenya. It located inside Mt.Longonot National Park. A trip from Nairobi will be slightly less than an hour to the gate of the park. The scenery as you descend Maai-Mahiu road is breathtaking. This is where you get to see the floor of the Great Rift Valley and even appreciate the mighty Mt.Longonot as is rises majestically to a thick cloud above.

Once we approached the park’s gate, the mountain looked like kid’s play.Easy stuff. Our guide mentioned we will be back to the gate after approximately six hours. Honestly we did not understand why… I mean seriously this hillock shouldn’t be a hard nut to crack.

Time is an important factor to consider when you are planning this hike. The earlier you begin the hike the better.Because then, the sun won’t be so hot. I guess the toughest task would be hiking with a heavy bag in scorching sun.

When we got to the gate, we stretched (vital to avoid muscle pull), paid at the gate then proceeded.

Mt.Longonot as seen from the gate.

There is a stretch that leads to the foot of the mountain. Zebras and Impalas can easy be spotted grazing.I did not see any monkeys though…I assumed they were still asleep.lol.

The initial stages of the ascend were effortless. But the events to unfold later made me want to take back my words. The trail slowly but surely became steeper and thinner and the peeping sun finally come out strong. The terrain was dusty but we soldiered on. I asked how long before  we got to the peak and everyone burst out laughing. I needed no answer clearly. We were no where near the peak.

Well, I guess sometimes you only need someone to laugh at you to ignite the fire inside.

The steeper the terrain ,the tougher I became. I had to prove a point you know…(Wrong mentality…but it was fun…)

Eva, my pal, did exceptionally well too. It was hard to imagine we were sweepers at some point.

Truth be told,hiking is not for the faint hearted and has nothing to do with physical strength. It all about attitude and mental strength. It is also not about competing with the rest, but just finding your own way to get to the top. Sometimes you lead, other times you are led.

After about an hour or so, we were told that the peak was a few meters away. That statement gave us a little more energy to soldier on. There was apparently a small hut at the top of the hill. Once you begin to see it, then be sure you are almost there. The hut is the first place you can sit and replenish.

A few minutes later, not only did we get to the hut, but also to the first peak!

The ‘Hut’
First peak.

We were allowed a ten minute break to breath and grab something. Be advised to carry some lucozade, a banana, apples or grapes. You will thank me later.

The next phase was a trek around the rim of crater. The view was encouraging. This was the point where Naivasha,Lake Naivasha and its environs could be seen in perspective. The Rim of the crater is said to be 7.2km. However it felt like 14.4km ?.

Aerial view Mt.Longonot. Source:Internet.

Phase two started out well. We were energized and excited to go round the rim. The excitement was soon to come to an end when I was told there is yet the highest peak of the mountain that we were to cover. This only meant, twice the initial effort and thrice the attitude.

The slopes were steeper here, the loose volcanic gravel beneath the feet proved difficult to just walk. Then there was a thick layer of dust. In my opinion, that was the toughest part.

Type of rock and sand in the trail.

The second peak, Kilele Ngamia.

In about one and a half hours we reached the second peak. Well the highest. It is called Kilele Ngamia. It was completely worth the effort. The view was so refreshing that any pain and struggle experienced earlier is quickly forgotten.

Nothing happens here apart from photos. From Kilele Ngamia, the rest of the hike was easy. It was mainly descending.

In about an hour, we were back to the little hut. Which has notoriously been named the ‘watering hole.’

Nothing feels as good as ascending and going round the rim!

Going down using the same route was at that point easier… Did I mention were were leading the pack that whole time?

Before long we were back to where we started.

All beat and tired and about 5 hours later.

What more would you like to know about this hike?

Hope to see you hiking soon!

You can also check out Africa Outdoor Safaris for more details.

Till the next post…

Be sporty!

 

 

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Hotel Review: Sleeping Warrior Lodge.

Sleeping warrior lodge is  a beautiful, discrete, lodge in Elementaita of Nakuru County inside Soysambu Conservancy  and is owned by the Delamere Family.

It will take you approximately an hour or slightly less to get to the lodge off the Nakuru Nairobi highway from a place called Kikopey, which is roughly 30km to Nakuru town.

The route to the lodge is a long, dusty meandering road. If you are not keen, chances of getting lost along the way are very high thanks to the not so good signage to the lodge. Also, a 4 x 4 wheel drive will be the most ideal to access the place. However, when you get to the lodge you quickly forget the bumpy ride uphill, thanks to the breathtaking view of the floor of the great rift valley.

terrain
Part of the rough terrain as seen from the lodge

My Verdict.

1.The Staff

Friendly. My favorite being the swimming pool attendant. You can tell he wasn’t trying so hard to impress clients. He is a natural. The owner of the establishment is very hands on too, interacting with the clients here and there, welcoming them and finding out if they are enjoying their stay.

Verdict: 7/10

2.Food

The fact that we were not asked what we would like to eat was a deal breaker for me. However the explanation given was that we checked in late (4:00 pm) so we had to eat what the chef had prepared.

The three course meal was OK, nothing extra ordinary to write home apart from the soup that I thoroughly enjoyed, then waiters who were very attentive and within reach during meal time.

The dining area was clean, candle lit, and the tables were set appropriately. The fire place on a cold night made it more cozy,warm and homely.

Dining area.
Dining area.

Verdict: 5/10 for food.

7/10 for the attentive waiters.

3.Cottages

The cottages were definitely up to my expectations. Spacious, clean, warm, well thought of interior decor, matching color scheme, comfy rags and throws, wide windows, strategic  location to enjoy a panoramic view of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Elementaita from far, the sleeping warrior dormant volcano,and a magical sunset.

The cottage
One of the cottages.

 

Inside the cottage.
Inside the cottage.

 

Sleeping warrior
Sleeping Warrior as viewed from the cottage.
Sunset
Sunset… from the cottages patio.

 

view outside the cottage
The beautiful raised patio.

 

Other cottages
Other cottages

The only thing that I felt was a let down was the bathtub and lack of appropriate toiletries.. A modern ceramic tub with lavender(my favorite) scented shower gels,shampoos and soap would have given the cottage story a happy ending.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Last but not least…

4.The infinity Swimming pool.

If you ask me the one reason that would make me want to go back to sleeping warrior…then that will be the swimming pool. It might not be as big as it appears in the photos, nor warm (at the time I was swimming, however, I am told they usually heat it up on request)  but the feeling you get of swimming on top of the world can not be compared to anything else at all. Every other thing stands right beneath you!

I can’t possibly put a number to that amazing feeling you get when up there. It is priceless.

Verdict: 8/10 purely because of the location ,shape of the pool and the priceless feeling derived from the swimming experience.

swimming pool
See what I am saying?

 

The Swimming pool
The Swimming pool.

Recommendations:

The food could be better followed by an option to choose what you would like to eat, a warmer pool would be best,proper sign posts for directions  to the lodge would make the ride to the lodge even better for first timers.

Overall verdict: 7.5/10.

Do I recommend Sleeping warrior? Oh yes.

Rates:  A total of Ksh 10,000 per person sharing (USD 100) full board.

I encourage you to: Call and know the prevailing rates because the receptionist told me it goes to Ksh 15,000 per person sharing a night on full board sometimes.

Other Attractions…

You can visit Lake Elementaita which is visible from the lodge, go for a game drive in the surrounding R0ysambu Conservancy or Lake Nakuru National park or visit Nakuru town.

On your way out of the lodge, you will see a variety of wild animals. I heard the guides say they saw a pack of eight lions that evening. So if wildlife is your thing… be sure to visit the place!

So,have you been to sleeping warrior before? Please share your experience in the comment section below with other readers to help them plan their safari better!

Till the next post…it’s a wrap!

Naughty Zebras

With Love…Bonita.

 

 

 

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Things you should know about rock climbing in Hells Gate National Park

  • You can leave Nairobi and get to Hells Gate National Park in about one and a half hours.
  • Hells gate has so many rocks that can be used for rock climbing.
  • It will cost you only Ksh 600 to rock climb.
  • You don’t need to be a pro to rock climb.
  • You don’t have to have to buy  or own the special gear to use for rock climbing, the 600 shillings caters for the support gear and helmet.
  • It will take you at most 30 minutes to go up and come down a rock. Like the one in the article.

Well … Now you know…