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Hell's Gate National Park

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Earth : Africa : East Africa : Kenya : Southern Rift Valley : Hell's Gate National Park
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Hell's Gate National Park is in Kenya.


Hell's Gate National Park[5] lies south of the Lake Naivasha, 90 km of Nairobi and 200km from Serengeti National Park.

Hell's Gate National Park is named after a narrow break in the cliffs. The park was even a filming location for the several times.


The park was established in 1984. This small park encompasses an area of 26 square miles (68km2).


Park zebras in a rainy day
Masai Giraffe

In the area are located two extinct volcanoes. Hell's Gate and Hells Gate Gorge are lined by red cliffs. The park outskirts are rich in hot springs.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Park has a wide variety of wildlife. Among the predator species are lion, leopard, hyena, serval and cheetah. The other common species include zebra, eland, buffalo, baboon and Thomson’s gazelle. There are over 103 species of birds. Among the birds can be seen raptors as vultures, eagles and hawks. The valley floor is patrolled by secretary bird and common ostrich. Park area is perfect nesting site for thousands of Nyanza and mottled swifts. Migratory bird flows are monitored from November to April.


Park has a warm and dry climate, but is dependent from the season. The driest period is in September. Rainy season lasts from March to May.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Embakasi, Nairobi, +254 208 22111, [1]. Code NBO  edit

By train[edit]

By bus[edit]

There is bus from Nairobi to Naivasha Town. In any case, if you have travel problems, ask the locals who will be very happy to help you.


There are different entrance fees for foreigners and locals. Also there are entrance fees for bicycles and cars.

Payment must be made by card.

There is an information stand, where is a brief explanation about the park. It is advisable to hire a local guide at the park entrance to have a more thorough and safe park experience. Guides often have some special subject knowledge like about birds, animals, plants or rock formations, so it is worthwhile to find out what your guide knows about. Payment for guides must be in cash.

Get around[edit]

Fischer's Tower
Hell's Gate National Park
  • You can get around by car (recommended). The park is well crossed by roads, but their condition is not good.
  • Hell’s Gate can be reached by public transport - bus from Nairobi to Naivasha. From there, you can take a taxi or minibus nearer to the gate and then explore the park itself on foot or bicycle.
  • If you plan to explore the Gorge, it is highly advisable to go with a guide since the trail there often goes through water or up rock walls.
  • Don’t expect to see big cats there like lions and leopards. There are a few in the park, but they’re rarely spotted.
  • At the same remember, that the sun is uncompromising.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Boiling Hot Springs and Geysers Vents. They are located near Nakuru.
  • Central Tower column is the volcanic rock formation.
  • Fischer's Tower is 25 m tall rock of volcanic origin of strange view inhabited by rock hyrax colony.
  • Gorge is with spectacular landscape, including red rocks, rock towers, extinct volcanoes, geothermal springs and geysers.
  • Maasai Cultural Center. Visitors can learn about the Maasai tribe customs, traditions and culture.
  • Obsidian Caves. They are in the eastern part of the park (Elsa gate), on the way along the buffalo circuit. These shiny rocks and small caves are painted with dark stripes.

Do[edit][add listing]

Hell's Gate National Park by bicycle
  • Climbing. You can hire a guide and rent gear on arrival at the park. Fischer’s Tower has some easy routes appropriate for beginners.  edit
  • Day tour to Hell’s Gate National Park, [2]. There you will be guided to see the best spots in the park.  edit
  • Hiking. There are a couple of hiking paths as one following to Crescent Island and other along the Crater Lake. The mostly suitable time for hiking is dry season of June – October.  edit
  • Mountain biking. One of the most common route follows the dirty gravel Gorge Road through the valley to the Ranger’s Post, where is possile to see zebras, gazelles, buffalos. Another cycling route is called the Buffalo Circuit, which offers different views and better, odds of seeing giraffes. A bicycle can be rented at the park entrance, but the bikes are usually in pretty bad shape. It is better to bring your own bike or to rent it from another location and bring there. The roads are in bad condition, sometimes consisting of sand, so you will have to get off the bike. You won't be able to see all of the park. Although it maybe small, it is much to explore by bike. Another important information: after the park entrance the road is sloping slightly downwards towards the Gorge (main interest). This will be very tedious on the way back. Make sure you are in excellent shape. If you are in good physical condition, biking is a good way to make sure you have enough time to see the park.  edit
  • Safaris and Game Viewing in Hells Gate National Park, [3]. It is exciting to ride past the different animals and see the challenging places of the park.  edit
  • SPA. On the western side of the park, the Olkaria Geothermal Spa offers the swimming in the geothermal pools. Spa underground waters are steamy, warm and enriched by minerals.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Geothermal Club Canteen, Sulmac Village. It is also has hotel.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Bring your own drinks. It get's pretty hot and you cannot buy any drinks inside the park.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Coming back through the Gorge, guides will take you to a sort of outdoor gift shop on the way, where you can buy inexpensive souvenirs. If you want to support local crafts, go for the traditional bead patterns. Your guide can help you identify, which are really local traditional crafts and which are the same tourist things you could find anywhere. Take with yourself small money, since the sellers often have difficulty making the change.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Sleep outside the park at Lake Naivashu or in the park.


  • Hippo Point Conservancy and Dodo's Tower, Off Moi South Lake Road, Lake Naivasha (between Lakes Oloiden and Naivashu). Hotel  edit
  • Mount Longonot Lodge, +254 700 203 039. Outside the park area.  edit
  • Sawela Lodge, Moi S Lake Rd, Nakuru, +254 502 030 149, [4]. Lodge is situated on the shore of Lake Naivasha.  edit
  • Wambuku hotel, Moi Ave, Naivasha, +254 502 030 287. It is located in the park.  edit


There are three campsites in Hell’s Gate National Park: Ol Dubai, Naiburta, and Endachata. Also it is possible camping outside the park at Lake Naivashu.


Stay safe[edit]

You are free to roam around and are mostly by yourself. This implies a certain responsibility for your own safety. Don't get lost. If you have a 4x4 or a moto cross bike some "roads" can be pretty fun.

Don't get lost. The park is not overcrowded and signs are scarce and maps can be misleading.

It is very hot and you will be outdoors for a long time. The trail through the park is fine for walking, biking, or driving, but the Gorge is a more challenging hike, which is sometimes like a climb. Guides will assist, but do not attempt more than you can safely do.

Get out[edit]

  • Crescent Island Game Sanctuary[6]. The island is surrounded by water and is explored on foot.
  • Lake Naivasha National Park. It is famous for its birds, many hippos bathing in the water and its island. It is fresh water lake situated in the Rift valley.
  • Naivasha
  • Great Rift Valley viewpoint
  • Mount Longonot
  • Nairobi

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