Hell`s Gate National Park Kenya
Hell`s Gate National Park is located in Nakuru County between Lake Naivasha, Longonot and Suswa Volcanoes, 90km south west of Nairobi. The Park is about 14 kilometers off the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway. The Hell`s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 sq.km at an elevation of about 1,900 meters. The ashes from the Mount Longonot eruption that happened 100 years ago cover the hell`s gate. Hell`s gate started in 1984. It derived its name from the narrow oily sandstone gorge that was formed by water and light.
Ol Njorowa Gorge in Hell`s Gate National Park
Camp Carnelley`s Kenya
This sandstone gorge was once a tributary of a historical lake that used to feed the ancient people in the Rift Valley. In 1883, the explorers Fisher & Thomson named this park-The Hell`s Gate. The Gorge has Fischer`s Tower and Central Tower volcanic plugs boarded with red cliffs.
The most famous feature in the park is its geothermal station, lower gorge, impressive sceneries of cliffs, geothermal steam & volcanoes gorges. You will also enjoy the impressive views of giraffes, Zebras & warthogs on your walking or biking safari.
Tourist Activities and Attractions in Hell`s Gate National Park | What to see and do in Hell`s Gate National Park.
Hell`s Gate national park is home to various tourist attractions such as the beautiful scenery of steep, rugged cliffs, open plains and deep concealed gorges that gives you impressive views, wildlife viewing, raptor nesting in the cliffs, hot springs, the Meryyn Carnelley Raptor hide, the Olkaria geothermal station, tourist circuits, nature trails and health spa.
Possible activities in Hell`s Gate National Park include rock climbing, bird watching, walking, cycling, or trekking through the gorge between the geysers.
Hell`s Gate National Park is a home to wildlife species like giraffes, buffalos, spotted hyenas, defassa waterbuck, zebras, impala, black backed jackal, hartebeests, eland and Thomson`s Gazelle. Lions, Leopards and cheetahs can also be spotted in the park.
Similarly, Hell`s Gate inhabits about 130 species of birds and not for so long, the hell`s gate inhabited the famous endemic lammergeyer vultures but currently, these beautiful vultures are seasonal visitors in the park. There are various nesting raptor species in Hell`s gate national park and these include Egyptian and Ruppell`s vultures and Verreaux`s eagle which normally perch on the cliffs searching for rodents. The best birding watching time in this park where you can eve spot migratory birds from Europe and north Africa is from November to April.
The fantastic ecosystem in this overwhelming National Park is as gifted as the Promised Land. Touch the rocks protruding from the earth`s surface and feel the lines scoured by water in the gorges to prove that actually the Hell`s Gate is not fictitious but rather reality. Travel to the Park with good camera, a hat, sunglasses and a good pair of jungle shoes to enjoy a stirring cycling adventure traverse the Park`s snaky trails into the gorges and miles of dirt and rocks. It made easy, Bikes are available for hire at the Park`s main Gate so you may not necessarily come with one. While cycling, you will be able to glimpse wildlife in the Park such as gazelles, giraffes, buffaloes, hartebeests, impalas and small antelopes like kirk`s dik-dik and steenbok. You may also be lucky to see some predators like the elegant Serval.
From the Elas Gate to the Hell`s Gate gorge it is 7km dirt road, slightly downhill-returning back may take you longer. Cycling is however the best alternative to see African animals face to face.
A wonderful scenery will surround you right away as you reach the Hell`s gate National Park. You will have to appreciate nature while you’re here. The following features will provide you with a great scenic experience.
This tower was formed by semi-molten rock forced to a crack, cooling and hardening as it extruded. The Fischer tower is 25 meters (75 ft.) high located near the main entrance of the park. Both the Fischer’s tower and the Central tower were formed the same way, same time. The guide will take you through the folk story of the Maasai people and how they believe that she turned into a stone. To give you just a hint of the Maasai community folktale, the tower is a Maasai girl who was turned into stone after disobeying the family before her wedding. Looking at this tower and the way it was formed, you will also assume your own geological process or you may take the Maasai belief!
These Obsidian caves and their distinctive black glass like obsidian rock are located on the Buffalo Circuit. Obsidian rock was a result of rapid cooling of molten volcanic lava coming into contact with water while being poured into a lake or ocean. This results to the glassy texture of the rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color. Obsidian can contain small air bubbles that are aligned along layers. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden sheen, known as Sheen Obsidian or a rainbow sheen called Rainbow Obsidian. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.
Lower Gorge/Ol Njorowa Gorge:
The Lower Gorge is the main attraction of the park. Walking in this gorge is a memorable adventure; a 2 hour tour to the beautiful, water eroded walls so narrow that they almost block out the sky, many hot and cold waterfalls, hot water springs, and colorful strata and rock formations. The place is also known for film productions such as the Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, King Solomon’s Mines and Mountains of the Moon which used the gorge as a backdrop for their movies.
The Hell’s is exceptionally beautiful and unique compared to any other area. Presence of vegetation around the hot water is remarkable as these plants are able to survive in very high temperatures.
Where to stay in Hell`s Gate National Park
You can find better accommodation facilities in the neighboring town-Naivasha and Moi south lake road. Some of the neighboring accommodation facilities one can use on a safari to hell`s gate national park includes;
Camp Carnelley`s is set 6.23km from the pack on the banks of Lake Naivasha. The Camp features accommodation Bandas. Their bandas have en-suite bathrooms and they cater for budget travelers.
Facilities & Amenities include;
- Satellite television
- Parking on premises
Fish Eagle Inn
Fish Eagle Inn is nestled south to the shores of Lake Naivasha in the Southwestern side of the Kenyan Rift Valley. The facility features 80 guest rooms on budget basis. Fish Eagle Inn is about 6.23km away from Hell`s Gate National Park.
Facilities & Amenities at fish eagle Inn.
- Swimming pool
- Pub and restaurant
- Executive rooms with double beds
- Conference facilities
- Single En-suite beds
- Two bed room cottages each with a double or twin-single beds
- Basketball and volleyball pitches
- Mature grounds for picnics and weddings
- Parking on premises
- A self-catering camping site which can hold up to 300 people
Accessibility to Hell`s Gate National Park Kenya
How to Get to Hell`s Gate National Park
How to get there
By Road: This Park is accessible via tarmac road from Nairobi (90kms) via Naivasha Town on the Lake road South at a junction 5km south of Naivasha. You can hire a special vehicle while in Naivasha town or Nairobi up to the gate. Thereafter you can chose to keep in touch with the driver to pick you back from the park when your trip in done. On the Park`s Gate there are bicycles for hire to use inside the park.
By Air: There is Naivasha airstrip and while you’re here, you can use a vehicle to easily reach the Park. Numerous domestic airlines fly to Naivasha airport like Safari link and many others. You can also hire a Qatar flight to access the area.
What to pack?
- Hat for protection from scorching sun
- Rain court in case it rains.
- Camping items for overnight travelers.
- Walking books and guidebooks
- Oldubai campsite is set on the cliff top, south of Fischer`s tower (Nairburta campsite)
- Endchata campsite (across the gorge on the northern cliffs)