Hells Gate National Park, Kenya Destinations

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya Destinations 

 Hell's Gate National Park is a tiny park located between Naivasha Lake and Longonot and Suswa volcanoes, south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, North West of Nairobi. Covered by ashes from the Longonot eruption which occurred 100 years ago, the park is famous for its geothermal station, Lower Gorge and spectacular sceneries (cliffs, volcanoes, gorges, geothermal steam).

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. The small Hell's Gate National Park is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery. This includes the Fischer's Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell's Gate Gorge. The national park is also home to three of the largest geothermal power stations in Africa at Olkaria.

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 after their defeat against the hostile Maasai warriors, the park is now a peaceful area where you can walk or do biking alongside towering cliffs and wild animals.

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 suitable for rock climbing. 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.

There is a wide variety of wildlife in the national park including Hyraxes, African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle, hyena, and baboons are common. The park is also home to serval and small numbers of klipspringer antelope and the really seen Chanler's mountain reedbuck. However, the park has historically been an important home for the rare lammergeyer vultures. There are over 103 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux's Eagles, Augur Buzzard, and swifts.

The comprehensive Olkaria Geothermal Station, the first of its kind in Africa, generates geothermal power underneath Hell's Gate from the area's hot springs and geysers. The Olkaria geothermal power station, standing over the lava flow of the Ol Karia extinct volcano, is exploiting the super-heated steam locked 1,500 meters (4,500 ft) below surface (one of the hottest sources of the world) and is providing more than 25 % of Kenyan's electricity from its giant turbines.

Hiking, bicycling, climbing and motorcycling are encouraged within the park its actually one of only two Kenyan national parks where this is allowed making it an ideal venue for a weekend retreat, a short excursion or stopover while on safari from Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Elementaita, Maasai Mara Game Reserve or even Nairobi.

At the Olook Karia Maasai Cultural Center experience the traditions of the Maasai culture as they sing, fight, dance and demonstrate jewellery making. For more than 100 years ago, Hell's gate was in the heart of the Maasai land and Lake Naivasha was a traditional refreshing point for Maasai herds. Nowadays, Maasai people are hardly seen in Naivasha town and lake but they still inhabit the unpopulated area surrounding the lake. Visiting a manyatta is a good way to learn more about Maasai people and culture and you may have the chance to watch the morans (young warrior) fighting, throwing their rungu (wooden stick) to hammer down animals or to see traditional dance - women singing while tall morans jump as high as an antelope.

Hell's Gate National Park was the main setting of the 1994 film; The Lion King is heavily modeled after the park, where several lead crew members of the film went to the park to study and gain an appreciation of the environment for the film. Other films like the Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, King Solomon's Mines and Mountains of the Moon used the Lower Gorge /Ol Njorowa Gorge as backdrop of their movie.


 Why Visit Hells Gate National Park, Kenya.

  • Visit a park that has three of the largest geothermal power stations in Africa at Olkaria.
  • Experience Hells Gate's wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery.
  • Explore the Park on foot or on bicycle alongside towering cliffs and wild animals.
  • Rock Climb one of the rock towers found on the park.
  • Discover the hot springs and the sulphur pools by trekking down a narrow gorge.
  • Try to spot the rare lammergeyer vultures and Verreaux's Eagles.
  • Experience the culture of the local Maasai at the Olook Karia Maasai Cultural Center.

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