Mount Suswa is a shield volcano in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. It is located between Narok and Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The northwestern part of Mount Suswa is in Narok County, while the eastern and the southern part are in Kijiado county, the town with the same name, Suswa is just northwest of the mountain and it is the main access safari point for the visits to the mountain.
Mount Suswa covers an area of about 270km2. The peak of Mount Suswa is such amazing safari destination with peak that measures 2,356 meters, though there are no specific paths, but it is recommended to access the mountain from the North and North-East.
The southernmost caldera of the Kenya rift, Suswa contains a prominent lava cone on the south side of its 8 x 12 km caldera, the Mount Suswa lies south of the Longonot volcano and about 50 km WNW of the capital city of Nairobi, construction of an early shield volcano was followed by the eruption of the voluminous Pleistocene pumice and the lava flows that accompanied incremental formation of the caldera. The 2356 meters summit of the phonolitic-to-trachytic volcano is formed by the post-caldera lava cone of the Ol Doinyo Onyoke (‘’The Red Mountain, also known as the Ol Doinyo Nyukie) on the south side of the caldera, its large elongated summit crater is truncated on the north by a ring graben. This unusual 5 km wide circular garden at the center of the older caldera isolates a tilted island block of the caldera-floor lava flows. The latest eruptions have originated from the satellitic vents that issued lava flows which remain unvegetated and may be the only century or beyond that.
The elementary school of the village of the same name, located on the slopes of the massif, is a practical starting point, in addition, there are many Maasai farmsteads at the foot of the Mount Suswa, it is advisable to present yourself at the flip-flops to warn you that you are going to pass there, with the exception of the so-called ‘’Rauch Trail’’, there are no direct routes to the top, however the Maasai breeders graze their cattle on the plateau prairies, creating seasonal routes.
The summit can be reached on top foot along the path, which starts at about one and a half kilometers from the summit, from the northeast. The Rauch’s Trail is marked with a wooden sign overlooking the crater. The top of the inner volcano, Ol Doinyo Nyokie (the red mountain) offers a breathtaking view, particularly of the inner crater, which is covered by the unspoilt tropical forest, with the springs and steam jets from deep underground sources, for the tourists who have physical, passion and experience, an unforgettable excursion should experience a Kenya Safari for the unforgettable memories.
Mount Suswa is the closet active volcano in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya (50km), future eruptions of the volcano may have a significant effect on the city, the Suswa volcano contains an unsual island-block and the caldera structure which is also seen at the Poseidonius and Gassendi craters on the moon in Kenya.
Eruptions at the Mount Suswa are divided into three periods.
- Initial eruptions formed a shield volcano with an oval outline and covering 130 sq. miles, the lava flows were viscous and sluggish. The main eruptive phase was followed by the eruptions from the several small cones distant from the main volcano.
- After a period of a quiet of unknown duration (probably several hundred thousand years) there was a second eruptive phase at the volcano, the eruption Centre moved SW along a fracture line and formed a second cone called the Ol Doinyo Nyukie, this cone has an a symmetrical shape and a ventral vent which is visible as a partly preserves pit crater.
- The most recent sequence of the eruptions at the volcano was the least significant in the size.
The most recent lavas at the Suswa have only a sparse cover of vegetation, therefore have erupted in the past few centuries, the fumarolic activity at Mount Suswa is more widespread than any other calderas volcanoes in Kenya.
Mount Suswa has a unique double crater with a moat-like inner crater surrounding a titled block of rock, the mountain is also known for its lava tubes on the northeast side of the outer crater. You can make arrangements to pay a fixed fee and have an experienced guide, the inner is a home to a variety of snakes species, other wildlife safari of the interest found on or near Mount Suswa includes the mongoose, turtles, hyenas, zebras, giraffes, leopards and many others. The main Kenya safari attraction of the Mount Suswa are its caves and the unique double crater, which are known as the largest caves in Kenya they were formed by the volcanic activity in Mount Suswa.
Mount Suswa is well known for its lava caves on the northeast side of the outer crater, the system of the natural communicating channels is the most complex and varied in the world, a unique spectacle for the explorers and the ethusiasts. The lower end of the mountain can be traced back to the outer crater with a four-wheel drive vehicle, but there are some roadblocks during the trail, where the Maasai community usually asks for an unofficial fee, in order to proceed.