Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park was named after a narrow break in the cliffs and it got its name by the explorers Thomson and Fisher in1883. The Park lies in the south of Lake Naivasha in northwest of Kenya’s capital city (Nairobi) and the Park has a lot of interesting stories about its historical background.

During the early 1990s, Mount Longonot erupted and ash can still be felt around the Park and still the Park resides the comprehensive Olkaria Geothermal station which is considered to be of its own kind in Africa.

The station was established in 1981 and it generates geothermal power underneath the Park from the area’s hot springs and geysers however two more geothermal stations were added after 2000 which include; Olkaria II and Olkaria OIII.

The Park was established in 1984 and it is very popular 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 of which due to its scenery, many films have been filmed/shot from the Park including the famous ‘’Tomb Raider’’ and also the main setting of the 1994 film (The Lion King) is heavily modeled by the Park whereby many lead crew members of the film went to the Park to study and gain an appreciation of the environment for the film.

The park is equipped with three basic campsites including the Maasai Cultural Center which provides education about the Maasai tribe’s culture and traditions.

Geographically, Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square kilometers (26 square miles) thus being one of the smallest national parks in Africa.

It is located within Nakuru County near Lake Naivasha and approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) from Nairobi of which its proximity to the capital city also makes it more popular and easier to conduct safari tours.

Olkaria and Hobley’s are two extinct volcanoes in the park and can be seen as well as obsidian forms from the cool molten lava.

Within the Park there is the ‘’Hells Gate Gorge’’ which is lined with red cliffs which contain two volcanic plugs; Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower. Off of Central Tower there is sulfuric water and a smaller gorge which extends to the south with a path that descends into hot springs that have rocks hot enough to cause burns.

The park is very popular due to its close proximity to Nairobi and lowered park fees compared to other National Parks. Hiking, bicycling, motorcycling and even camping are encouraged within the park thus being one of the only two Kenyan national parks where this is allowed.

The Daily Nation praised the mountain climbing in Hell’s Gate as “thrilling.” It also recommended the Joy Adamson’s Centre and boating on Lake Naivasha also offers much fun to the Park’s visitors.

The Park inhabits a wide variety of wildlife though some species are viewed in limited numbers such as; the cheetahs, lions, Klipspringers, Mountain reedbucks and leopards.

However, the most common animals in the Park include; African buffaloes, zebras, hyenas, Thomson’s gazelles, elands, baboons, hartebeests, hyraxes and servals. The Park also protects more than 103 bird species such as; augur buzzards, Verreaux’s eagles, vultures, swifts and many others.

The park is equipped with three basic campsites thus camping is safe in the park even though there are no guns or fencing between you and wildlife.

There are also several lodges around Naivasha Lake (popular among tourists for watersports, bird and game viewing in private ranches and walks along Crescent Island, Crater Lake, and Mt. Longonot).

Accommodations in the Park are thus of good quality such as; Naivasha Kongoni lodge, Lake Naivasha simba lodge, Fish eagle inn & campsite, Kiangazi house and others.