By: Weru Collins
Researching before your hike bears the potential to make or break it. Here are key things you need to figure out to increase your chances of a successful summit.
In addition to being in good physical form, proper preparation before the hike spikes your confidence.
Having your logistics figured out ensures that you’re not distracted while on the trail and you can focus all your energy on the climb.
This blog will mainly address the latter, logistics, to show you how you can plan your hike. To be practical, I’ll use my solo day hike to Mt.Longonot as a case in point to demonstrate how you can account for the finer details before your hike.
As a bonus, I’ll share with you the full budget breakdown of my trip.
Let’s first learn a thing about Mt. Longonot then, shall we?
Mt. Longonot description
Mt. Longonot is an extinct strato-volcano that rises from the floor of the Great Rift Valley. The mountain’s caldera makes for breathtaking views and also offers an additional segment to the hiking trail, the crater rim.
The trail begins at 2146m asl, rises steadily to 2560m asl at the crater rim, and then to 2780 at Kilele Ngamia, Mt. Longonot’s highest point.
The distance from the trailhead to the crater rim is 3.2 km. The circumference of the crater is 7 km (which I went around twice).
When you settle on a destination for your solo day hike, the next key considerations you need to plan for are:
- Mode of transport
- Food, Water & Snacks
- Gear and equipment
- Fees, hiking fees
How will you get there?
I wanted to use public transport for this trip which slightly complicated the planning process due to unreliable schedules, irregular fares, and lack of convenience since you’ll most likely need to connect routes.
This is how I split my journey:
Matatu from Nyahururu to Naivasha
Motorbike to Naivasha Town
Matatu from Naivasha to Longonot Town
Motorbike from Longonot Town to the park
The return trip was the inverse of this.
Water, food, and snacks
Water and trail snacks are your sources of fuel while on the trail. So you want to take care of these too, figure out how you’re going to carry your water, and any trail snacks. NB: Mt. Longonot KWS Park is a disposable plastic-free park which means that you can only bring water in reusable containers such as hydration bladders, camelbacks, and reusable water bottles.
You’ll also need to carry snacks to supplement your energy while on the trail
My go-to snacks include:
Tangerines – Easy to peel
Juices (at least two small juices)
Dates – high sugar content, natural
Food: Will you need to have a meal after the hike? Breakfast? These I decide while on the road since I like to leave myself room to wander and experience local dishes and way of life.
The gear you’ll need for your hike is determined by:
Weather – I like to keep an eye on the weather forecast like a week earlier to pick up weather patterns. This will help you plan your gear accordingly. In case you are wondering where to get your gear at a good price, check out expeditiongearke and Hawi outdoors on Instagram.
Trail and terrain – Some trails, like the Mt. Longonot one are easily manageable with ordinary sneakers – although not the most comfortable option – whilst some will demand waterproof hiking boots, hiking sticks/canes, etc.
You need to research this beforehand to have an idea of what to expect and ensure that you’re comfortable during the hike.
Which costs will you incur to access the trail?
These fees can be park fees, community fees, conservation fees. If you’re hiking within any KWS Park in Kenya, here is a document with all the park fees.
Some mountains, such as Mt. Ololokwe, which sits in the Namunyak Conservancy, will require you to pay conservancy fees in addition to hiking fees.
At Mt. Longonot, I only needed to pay park entry fees (usually 250/-)