Mount Suswa


Mountain Information - Menu | Suswa Lava Caves

Suswa 2356m

A fascinating and readily accessible volcano in the heart of Masai country. Several eruptions have created a variety of interesting features. The outer crater, some 10km in diameter, is breached on it south and east sides. Numerous lava flows poured down these slopes. Many of the less viscous pahoehoe flows are honeycombed with caves (described in a separate section of the guide). An inner crater 4 to 5km in diameter contains a "raft" surrounded by a deep "moat".

Suswa, caldera and summit

The raft is densely vegetated and there has been very little exploration into the area. The inner crater edge provides a fine ridge walk to the main summit, Ol Donyo Onyoke, with excellent views of the caldera and parasitic craters. In total contrast, the outer caldera floor provides good, open grazing most of the year round (susua means grass); it is full of game and Masai herds.

Access. Take the old road from Nairobi to Naivasha - the more west-erly. After 5.8km, just before reaching Longonot, turn left onto a good tarmac road leading to Narok. After 10km a satellite station is passed on the left; in another 6.5km along this road a dirt road leads south towards Suswa. Now go 6km across plains to a Masaai manyatta. Just beyond this a track leads south-south-west up the slopes of Suswa; it is very rough and fairly steep but a well driven saloon car will get up it. In 5km the edge of the caldera is reached at a meadow.

Ignoring a left fork, take a flat track trending right (south-west then west) over the outer caldera floor, passing occasional manyattas and waterholes. 6km from the meadow it bears south-west again and in a further 2km becomes rougher as it climbs slightly. About 10km from the meadow faint tracks lead south to a viewpoint overlooking the "moat" (1880m), good campsites. No water.

Route. The walk up to the main summit starts from the viewpoint. A steep section leads to grassy ridges with occasional trees. Where convenient keep to the ridge and reach the first summit (2250m) in about 1h. The ridge leading to the main top from here is rough and the going is slow (1h). It is best to return the same way as the complete circumnavigation takes about half a day and involves some very tedious blocky lava crossings in the south-east section of the crater.

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The material here comes either from the existing "East Africa International Mountain Guide" of from "East Africa Mountains" to be published in 2000 by West Col Productions. Any suggestions or comments about the content are most welcome.
Copyright © 2000, EWP and West Col Productions. Andrew Wielochowski 12/12/99