It is thought to have last erupted in the 1860s. Its name is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot, meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges”.
Mount Longonot is protected by Kenya Wildlife Service as part of Mount Longonot National Park. A 3.1 km trail runs from the park entrance up to the crater rim, and continues in a 7.2 km loop encircling the crater. The whole tour (gate-around the rim-gate) of 13.5 km takes about 4–5 hours allowing for necessary rest breaks – parts of the trail are heavily eroded and very steep.
The gate is around 2150 m asl and the peak at 2780 m asl but following the jagged rim involves substantially more than the 630 m vertical difference.
Rising from the floor of the Great Rift Valley like a monolith is the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. 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.