HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
A Gentle But Steamy Wildlife Safari
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
Don’t let the name fool you – Hell’s Gate National Park is a peaceful reserve where you’ll have opportunities to drive, hike, and even bike past the grazing antelope, buffalo, giraffe, and gazelle. Named for the great rocky gash in its dramatic red cliffs, plus its active geothermal activity (steamy vents, geysers, mineral springs), Hell’s Gate is your portal to active wildlife spotting and exploration.
Trekking alongside the park’s cliffs, gorges, and rocky towers enjoy a guided walking safari. Lions and leopards are rare so you can safely stroll by the eland, hartebeest, antelope and scan above for vultures, eagles, and buzzards.
Along your journey look for zebras, baboons, gazelles, and sometimes ostriches. Want even more excitement? The park allows motorcycling and camping at its three sites.
Perhaps the most fun way to explore the park is on two wheels. You can rent a bike and pedal over the easy terrain. Take the “Buffalo Circuit” to get close to the giraffes and discover dramatic views of nearby Longonot volcano.
Climbing is a favorite park activity. There are plenty of opportunities along the craggy rock walls and if you’re hankering to scale a volcano or two, try out Fisher’s or Central Tower. They’re easy climbs but you’ll need a guide.
Springs and Spas
This park is an active place – above and below ground. The three underground geothermal power stations here are powered by the park’s hot springs and geysers – Africa’s first.
Take advantage of all that heat – slip into the largest natural spa on the continent. The mineral water here is warm and a perfect way to relax after a day of hiking, biking, or climbing.
Nature trails – They’ll lead you up close to the grazing wildlife and are an easy walk. Just watch out for the hot afternoon sun. You can hire a ranger to go deeper into the gorges and other unusual natural features.
Check out Hell’s Gate Gorge. The unusual formation here is where the folks from Disney got the idea for Pride Rock seen in the movie, “The Lion King”.
Biking – Whether the pedaling kind or motorcycling, biking is a bonus feature of the park. You’ll cover more ground to experience extra terrain and wildlife.
Ol Karia Spa – All that steamy volcanic activity isn’t just for atmosphere. Enjoy some of that bubbly for yourself. This large natural spa is a bit of heaven amongst the park’s steaming “hell”.
Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide – Just like in its name, a hide is a hidden spot where you can get close-up views of the animals. In this case, you’ll get near to eagles and other birds of prey.
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
Survey: Hell’s Gate National Park
A small and lightly touristed park, Hell’s Gate is only 68 sq km (25 sq mi) in size. But packed into this modest location is a stunning array of natural cliffs, walls, and gorges rising from the savannah.
Location: Close to the capital of Nairobi, Hell’s Gate is just a 90 km (55 mi) drive northwest, near Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. In this easy day trip, you can combine visits to multiple parks.
Climate: Be prepared for warm, dry weather and some dust blowing through the canyons. But the park’s geothermal activity can also provide a steamy vibe.
Best time to visit: The park is open year-round. Just watch out for the rainy season (March-May) when the weather and mud might slow you down.
Operating hours: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.
This is Hell’s Gate
Drive, hike, bike, or climb – this small but special park is an easy ticket to up-close safari adventures. Add in the drama of its gorges, rock walls, volcanic cones, steam vents, and mineral pools, and you’ve got an unforgettable day, unlike anything else in Africa.
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