Hells Gate National Park

Hell's Gate National Park

LOCATED
–     In the Rift Valley approx.90kms from Nairobi

ALTITUDE
–     1900m – ok

AREA
–     68km²  – ok

PARK ENTRANCE FEE METHOD
–     Kenya Wildlife Service Prepaid Tickets or Cash

ACCOMMODATIONS
–     Lots of options in the Naivasha superb

ACCESS
–     By Road approx. 1.5 hours’ drive from Nairobi

ATTRACTIONS
–     Bird and Game viewing, Camping, Hiking, Raptor nesting in cliffs, Spectacular Gorge Walk, Olkaria Geothermal Station

Hell’s Gate National Park was established in 1984 and lies to the south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, northwest of Nairobi and is very popular due to its proximity from the capital city. The park which is mainly comprised of savannah ecosystem harbors a wide variety of wildlife. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s Eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts. African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, and baboons are also common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck. The 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. The national park is also home to three geothermal power stations at Olkaria. The park is equipped with three basic campsites and includes a Maasai Cultural Center, providing education about the Maasai tribe’s culture and traditions. “Hell’s Gate” was named by explorers Fisher and Thomson in 1883. In the early 1900s, nearby Mount Longonot erupted, and ash can still be felt around Hell’s Gate. The comprehensive Olkaria Geothermal Station, the first of its kind in Africa, was established in 1981 and generates geothermal power underneath Hell’s Gate from the area’s hot springs and geysers.  Olkaria and Hobley’s, two extinct volcanoes located in the park, can be seen as well as obsidian forms from the cool molten lava. Within Hell’s Gate is the Hells Gate Gorge, lined with red cliffs which contain two volcanic plugs: Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower. Off of Central Tower is a smaller gorge which extends to the south and of which a path descends into hot springs that at some places you can find rocks that will burn you; also there is a fair amount of sulfur you can feel in the water.

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