August 15, 2011

The stunning expanse

It's Monday morning, and I am in pain. From the sunburn on my neck, through the tightness in my back, down to the soreness of my feet. But mostly it's my legs. My poor, unassuming legs, who had no idea what was being asked of them when they got out of bed yesterday.

Which is all to say that I have hiked the (reputed) highest volcano in the Great Rift Valley that runs from Lebanon to Mozambique, dividing Africa on two tectonic plates.

I know it looks like I Photoshop'd myself in, but I was there- at the top- honest! Behind me is the inside of the volcano backed by its highest peak, but what you can't see here is the mountain we already climbed to get to where I'm standing. And we lunched on the crater's edge:

Only about an hour's drive from Nairobi, Mt. Longonot rises approximately 2780 meters above sea level and produces magnificent views of Lake Naivasha and the valley below.

Not only did we hike up the mountain-- we then clawed and scrambled up steep slopes of loose lava pebbles to reach the highest peak and continued to trek along the narrow narrow path around the entire crater rim.

It's a journey not for the acrophobic or unsure-footed. The most trecherous part is the view: To the left, a volcano overhung with enchanting mist. To the right, the stunning expanse of the Kenyan Rift Valley. It's all breathtaking and bedazzling and just begging for one mis-step off the path to tumble your way back to the valley floor.

Scrambling up to the top:

And a view of crater and rift from the highest peak:

And words acquiesce to the power of nature.


  1. Beautiful views! You have quite the eye for photography.

    I'm a little confused - what's the history of the valley/crater? I thought craters come from impacts, but you mentioned tectonic plates. Or did the plates make the valley, and the crater is unrelated?

    So jealous!

  2. The seismic activity of the plates has caused a series of volcanoes up and down the Rift Valley, and the one we hiked had a crater inside from past eruptions. Luckily, it remained dormant through our trip!