ABOUT HELLS GATE NATIONAL PARK
Hell’s Gate national park is named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley. It received the name “Hell’s Gate” by explorers Fisher and Thomson in 1883. The park covers an area of 68.25 sq. km and lies south of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley. The park was established in 1984. Hell’s Gate national park is one of only two Kenyan national parks where Rock climbing, hiking mountain biking and even camping are encouraged within the park. Spectacular sceneries including the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam makes it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa. It served as an inspiration for the Disney movie Lion King as well as the movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.
CLIMATE IN HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
There are two rain seasons in Hell’s Gate national park area: The long rains in the months of March and April and short rains in the months of November and December. Hell’s Gate offers reasonable wildlife viewing throughout the year, therefore there is no best or worst time to visit.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
Hell’s Gate national park is one of the few parks where visitors can bike or walk to watch the animals. Visitors can spot African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and baboons are common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck among others. This park is also a birdwatchers paradise with over 100 species of birds including vultures, Verreaux’s Eagles, augur buzzard and swifts. Migratory birds are also present from November to April.
ATTRACTIONS IN HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
Below are some of the key attractions in Hell’s gate national park.
- Wildlife and Birds – Hell’s gate national park has a wide range of wildlife. Though it is not a big 5
Africa destination, game viewing is rewarding. The most common and easily sited animals are Zebras, Gazelle, Impala, giraffe, hyena, buffalo, waterbuck, baboons, and many others. The park has over 100 bird species especially the vultures, buzzards, swifts, eagles, and others.
- Hot springs – There are several hot springs in the park. These hot springs were formed under the activity of volcanicity,. The springs are one of the key attractions.
- Olkaria Geothermal station – It is the first of its kind in Africa. It was established in 1981 and generates geothermal power underneath Hell’s Gate from the area’s hot springs and geysers.
- Scenic views – The park is gifted with scenic beautiful towering cliffs, stark rock tower, Water-Quogue gorges. Surrounded by various towers like Fischer’s tower, central tower and gorges which were formed under the process of Volcanicity.
ACTIVITIES AT HELL’S GATE NATIONAL PARK
There are several activities that visitors can enjoy while on a visit to Hell’s Gate national park, they include;
- Bird watching – With over 100 bird species found in Hell’s gate national park, the park boasts as one of the birding paradises. The park is famous as the breeding place for Lammergeyers which is one of the rare species of Vultures. It also hosts some migratory birds from different parts of the world. The migratory birds come for breeding here. Other bird species found at the park include Schawlow’s wheatear, Ostrich, Goldenwinged Sunbird, imperial eagle, yellow-rumped seed eater, African Kestrel, vultures, Augur Buzzard and many more.
- Game viewing – One can do game viewing in a safari vehicle, on a bicycle or on foot. The game viewing is excellent throughout the year. Both morning and evening game drives happens here. Animals that you can spot while game viewing include; giraffes, buffalos, gazelles, elands, baboons, monkeys among others.
- Visiting the Gorges – One does not need a guide to walk or cycle around the park, but a guide is must if you plan on going into the water-gouged gorges. This is one of the most exciting activities in the park, but it is risky too. If one wishes to go there, they must be careful and hire a guide. Maasai people serve as guides to lead visitors through the gorges.
- Cycle Through the Park – Visitors can go cycling around the park and pass by the zebras and giraffes on the way. Sloping and hiking through the animal routes while on a bicycle is a very enjoyable activity.
- Rock Climbing – This is one of the parks where bare rock climbing can be excellently done. Hiking to Fischer’s tower and other edges of the rocks is a wonderful challenge for the tourist who may not have enough time to climb high Mountains like Mt Kenya or Mt Kilimanjaro. Hiking gears are also available for hire at the park headquarters and experienced guides are available to take you through the hike.
- Guided nature walks – Guided walks through the park is also an amazing activity to undertake. These walks takes you through different attractions at Hell’s gate national park like Geothermal power station, caves, rocks, and others.
There are many accommodation facilities within the lake Naivasha shores which range from luxury 5 star hotels to budget hotels and campsites. There are also many other hotels in Naivasha town. Campsites include; Endachata campsite, Naiburta campsite and Oldubai Campsite.