Mt. Longido Trekking
Longido is situated 100 kilometres north of Arusha on the way to Namanga and Nairobi. The town of Longido lies on the main road, just at the foot of Longido mountain. The mountain rises up steeply from the plains and forms an important point of orientation for people in the wide surrounding. On the mountain and the surrounding plains Maasai warriors wander about with their cattle looking for pasture and water. Once a week on Wednesday the cattle are herded to a crowded cattle market in Longido town. Maasai families live in small traditional bomas scattered over the area. In the early morning, women leave the boma to fetch water and collect firewood. Young children play around the mud houses and start at a very early age to take care of kids and lambs.
In the area there is an abundance of colourful birds. The starling major, the red and yellow barbet, the masked weaver, the silverbill and the secretary bird are some of the special species to be seen. Longido is further well known for the presence of rare mammals that cannot be seen in any of the national parks. The plains and the slopes of the mountain form the refuge for the gerenuk, the lesser kudu and the klipspringer. Among other animals that live around Longido are giraffes, zebras, gazelles, buffaloes, mongooses and some silver jackals.
You can choose different modules that vary from half a day to two days.
Half Day Module
In the half a day module you make a ‘birdwalk’ on the Maasai plains from the town of Longido to the bomas of Ol Tepesi. The Maasai guides will help you to spot many colourful birds and also show you trees and plants that they use for making food and medicines. At Ol Tepesi, which is the Maasai word for Acacia tree, the guides will invite you into a Maasai boma and show their traditional way of life. Since it is known that the tourism programme sponsors the cattle dip, you always get a warm welcome. Back in Longido you can visit Mzee Mollel, a local Maasai who studied sociology abroad and can explain to you all things you always wanted to know about Maasai culture. Then you can enjoy a meal cooked by the FARAJA women’s group.
Full Day Module
The one day tour adds a walking safari from Ol Tepesi to Kimokouwa, along a narrow Maasai cattle trail, that winds over the slopes of Longido mountain. In two hours’ time you gradually climb from the plains at an altitude of 1,200 metres to a hill top of 1,600 metres. On clear days you first have beautiful views on Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, and once you have arrived at the North side of the mountain you can oversee the Maasai plains till deep into Kenya. The last hour you descend to Kimokouwa, where several Maasai bomas are peacefully situated in the green “valley of wells”. Nearby you can visit a historic German grave and camp at a lawn near a Maasai boma. In half an hours walk you can also reach a jeep road and drive back to town.
Tourists with strong legs longing for adventure can the second day climb the steep Longido mountain. Guided by Maasai warriors you leave Kimokouwa early morning and follow narrow footpaths through a dense natural forest. After two hours you arrive at the marvellous “dawa ya supu” (soup-medicine) viewpoint. From here you will follow trails created by buffaloes to reach the top in another two hours’ climb. With loud cries the Maasai warn the buffaloes that can spend the second day climb the steep Longido mountain. Guided by Maasai warriors you leave Kimokouwa early morning and follow narrow footpaths through a dense natural forest. After two hours you arrive at the marvellous “dawa ya supu” (soup-medicine) viewpoint. From here you will follow trails created by buffaloes to reach the top in another two hours’ climb. With loud cries the Maasai warn the buffaloes that people are coming to avoid dangerous encounters. The views from the top are simply unbelievable. On clear days you can look more than 200 kilometres far and see all mountains of Northern Tanzania. The descent of the steep mountain is another challenge. In three hours’ time you can reach Longido town and enjoy a meal of the FARAJA women’s group. In the evening you can talk with Esto Mollel and other Maasai about the unique experiences of the past days.
On Wednesdays you can extend your stay with a visit to the bustling cattle market and it is always possible to combine your tour with a game drive in the area. On request other modules can be arranged as well.
Our guides are all young Maasai who grew up in the area. They speak some English and further use hand signs to show you the beauty of the area. They know all attractions and dangers in the area and have received special tourism training. On walking safaris Maasai warriors armed with knives and spears always protect the tourists.
Rehabilitating the cattle dip
Cattle diseases are one of the main problems the Maasai are faced with in Longido. Each year about 1000 cows die, mainly because of tick-born diseases. Since Maasai life is centred around livestock, this can create quite serious problems. A reduction of the herd size means less work, less income and less food. Preventing cattle diseases is of major importance for the Maasai. Regularly dipping will kill all ticks and eradicate tick-born diseases. The only cattle dip in Longido is however out of order. During socialist times the dip belonged to the whole community, and therefore no one felt on really responsible for it and the dip became neglected.
Now the Maasai will establish a special committee who are going to rehabilitate the dip. A part of the income generated from tourism will be used for this purpose. Cement and cattle medicines will be bought from it, so that the dipping fee can be kept low and will be payable for all Maasai families
When you are in Longido and our cattle dip has been rehabilitated, feel free to visit the spectacular event of dipping our cattle.
Longido is situated 100 kilometres north of Arusha on the way to Nairobi. From the main bus stand in Arusha, you can catch one of the many buses leaving for Namanga and Nairobi. There are also shared taxis leaving for Namanga from the bus stand which you can take. The fare by bus is approximatey 1,500 TSh and 2,000 TSh by shared taxi. It will take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. In Longido, ask to be let off at the police station on the main road. From here, please ask for directions to Esto Mollel=s house. Most villagers in Longido can direct you to Mzee Mollel=s house. All tours begin at Mzee Mollel=s house where arrangements can be made upon your arrival.