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Nature’s Best Monolith, an Extinct Volcano Mt Longonot.

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East Africa is a top safari destination and the wealth of national parks and game reserves offer the chance of seeing splendid African landscapes and wildlife including the Big Five: elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard, along with countless other animals and innumerable bird species.

Some parks and reserves have been gazetted to preserve unique landscapes such as is one spectacular Mount Longonot, Rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley like a monolith is the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. Know to have last erupted in the 1860s. It creates a study destination for many geology scholars who wish to understand the aftermath a volcanic reactions. I happen to be among the lucky few, my very own grandmother lives by the foot of the mountain and next the gazette boundary, although in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s they suffered loss of sheep and goat to the hyena and other small cats, the incidents have drastically reduced in the recent past.

Another developments was that attracts many is a satellite earth station, specialised terrestrial terminal used to communicate with satellites. The Longonot Earth Station is a telecommunications satellite port, colloquially known as a teleport. The station was the first of its kind in the region became operational in 1970. A teleport typically has one or more parabolic antennae that function as a hub connecting to the telecommunications satellite. When the first earth station located south of Mount Longonot was built, it served the entire East African Community. In its own uniqueness in 1968, Kenya and her neighbours became members of Intelsat, the global satellite consortium. The membership granted the region the right to set up earth stations to access Intelsat’s communications satellites.

Hiking to the top of the Great Rift Valley will give you the chance to experience the freedom and awesome wilderness of East Africa, and still be home in time for dinner. Mt Longonot is just less than 2780m (9100ft) above sea level with a tree-filled interior and a lonesome steam vent to the northeast. A climb up Mount Longonot is an ideal day trip from either Nairobi or Naivasha. A unique feature is the thick forest that lies within the crater of the mountain. The crater rim also provides great scenic views across the beautiful Rift Valley all the way to Lake Naivasha. Major wildlife attractions at Mount Longonot include buffaloes, elands, lion, leopard, bushbucks, common zebra, giraffe and Grant’s gazelles.

A trip planned to depart for Nairobi at 8am a fullday event and the journey takes approximately 1 and a half hours. Your start the ascent at 2150m and, like all good uphill hikes, it will lull you into a false sense of security with a slow gentle rise to the first hill. This gives you a chance to get your lungs and limbs freed up for the second section which, in our opinion, is most awesome. At the end of each section there is a rest point where you can prepare yourself for the next part of your journey.

Despite setting off early to avoid the heat of the sun, by the time you reach the end of the second section you will have surely generated your own heat. This hike is not an easy hike but is achievable by people of reasonably good fitness. Once you have finished the second section, you are on the rim of the crater. There is another respite of slightly less demanding terrain, before making the final climb on the fourth section. This again is a demanding section, though not as demanding as the second. As you heave yourself over the rim of the crater you are rewarded with the awesome sight of Naivasha and the Great Rift Valley and a feeling that it was all worthwhile. While still testing your lungs as this climb will need to acclimatise at 6000 feet. A ranger accompanies you on the hike as your guide. As there are wild animals in the area, he is armed. The whole trek is only about 8–9 km long but very steep, so much so that the round trip from park gate to the Longonot Peak and back again takes around 5 hours of hiking.

Whether one is watching a thrilling thunderstorm or looking up at a mighty tree, the experience of nature is one of awe. One cannot help but marvel at the intricate design of a single leaf, or the roar of a great waterfall. Time spent in nature is time spent realizing that you don’t know it all and that you never will. The earth is meant to be enjoyed by its inhabitants. That includes keeping it in the pristine condition in which it was discovered. Everyone has a part of the earth that they relate to the most. Whether it is a majestic mountain range, a roaring waterfall, a bouquet of flowers, or the calm of the woods, these are places to get to know oneself and build bonds with family. Enjoy your hike.

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