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Leviathan - Chyulu Hills | Lava Tube Caves in Kenya


Access: Take the old road from Nairobi to Naivasha (the more westerly). After 58 km, just before reaching Longonot, turn left onto a good tarmac road leading to Narok. After 10 km a satellite station is passed on the left; in another 6.5 km along this road a dirt road leads S towards Suswa. Now go 6 km across plains to a Maasai manyatta. Just beyond this a track leads 55W 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. Immediately take a fork L and head south for 3 km (ignore a right turn at 2.5 km) to a big collapse hole (18A) surrounded by shady fig trees at approx. grid ref.113748 on sheet 147/2 01 Doinyo Onyoke (in 1/50,000 national grid pattern for Kenya, DOS type 423, Series Y731). This offers a good campsite but no water. Just before 18A the track skirts right of the small entrance to collapse 9.

The right fork from the meadow leads in 9 km to a good viewpoint overlooking the Moat and Raft of the volcano; from here a pleasant half day walk leads to the summit and back (Summit Walk). Public transport is available as far as the manyatta at the base of Suswa. Garage facilities at the Narok turn-off on the Nairobi to Naivasha road.


18A. Grade Cl. This is the longest cave system. Several collapse holes lead into it. At the upflow end a lower tube can be reached with the aid of an in-situ ladder.

6. Grade Cl. Another long system with several collapses leading into it. At the lower end there are some interesting, steep passages and side tubes to be explored.

6A. Grade C3-. A very interesting cave. The entrance is a tiny hole, located in a small clump of bushes, about 40 m north of 6 and not far from its east end. Gaining entry is the crux.

12. Grade C2. Probably the most interesting cave system of its size in Kenya. It links up with hole 2B. Three earthy crawls lead into a deeper big tunnel; downflow climb to higher level and a short crawl left leads to the most beautiful sections.

MDC. C2. Moby Dick Cave. Tiny hole below bush, 225 degrees and 80 m from entrance to cave 12. A short way in, an earthy drop leads to a narrow resonating tube. Further in other passages are worthy of a visit.

35A. Grade C2-. This cave is located in a large flat clearing, below a rocky scarp. An elevated lava-flow blocks the clearing to the east. Entry is gained via a collapsed, typically-vegetated lava dome, about 20m long (east-west) and l0 m wide. A low arch leads east into a wider and higher passage. A shelf on the left leads into a low crawl passage. After this turn left and go down a lava step into the system proper.

Enlarge Cave Map

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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. Andrew Wielochowski 2/9/2014