Hell’s Gate National Park is a remarkable quarter of the Great Rift Valley. Spectacular scenery including the towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, stark rock towers, scrub clad volcanoes and belching plumes of geothermal steam make it one of the most atmospheric Parks in Africa.
Hell’s Gate is an ideal venue for a day cycling trip from Nairobi where, in addition to the bio-diversity that includes raptors, visitors can enjoy rock climbing and a natural spa. Following the buffalo cycling circuit (named after the ferocious herbivores that roam parts of the park), one gets a stunning view of Lake Naivasha below, Mt. Longonot and Mount Suswa on the Eastern side of the park.
The mountain biking in Hell’s Gate National Park is endless and it is also one of the only Game Parks in the world where you can cycle through.
The Hell”s Gate National Park best known for its beautiful landscapes (scenes for the Lion King were inspired here) rather than it’s huge array of wildlife, one is initially struck by the beauty of the cliff formations leading into “Hell”.
Fisher’s Tower and Central Tower are part of the park’s unique attractions. They are volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock that resisted erosion to form rocky columns.
The limestone cliffs of various shades of red, yellow, white and black have been shaped by Mother Natures hand over thousands of years with glaciers, wind and rain slowly whittling away tiny particles like a wood carver tuning a piece of ebony.
Eroded limestone towers and fingers strike up out of the earth creating perfect climbing routes for adventure seekers looking for rock climbs to conquer.
Every morning the vultures take off on the mid-morning thermals that rise from the rocks, and go to forage. They find food in places as far away as the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, more than 150km southwest.
Watching a Cape Buffalo stare you down from just 50m’s away while sitting on a mountain bike, and knowing that if you had to run then there was no way that you could outpace it if it was annoyed is enough to get the adrenaline pumping. As well as those tired legs rotating a little bit quicker.
As you start the zig-zagging descent into one of the tightly winding canyons. Carved from rivers and thermal activity, these canyons split the earth in two during periods of heavy rain.
Scalding water pours from cracks in the limestone walls causing steam to rise up out of the canyons which gives Hell’s Gate its name.
Leaping from stone to stone and scaling the walls like mountain goats one resorts to various manoeuvres to make your way deeper into the canyon. While not for the faint-hearted it isn’t terribly taxing and there are easier routes one can take.
Scrambling back out of Hell’s Gate into the blazing sunshine after the relative cool shade within the canyon means that you would soon have to be back on the saddles to ride back past the wild animals. You are rewarded with a stunning view across the length of Hell’s Gate National Park which you have not yet ventured into.
There are a number of campsites in the park in case you want to stay overnight. Alternatively, you can stay one of several hotels in the nearby Lake Naivasha area and visit Hell’s Gate for the day.
The opportunity to watch African wildlife just metres away from you without the barrier of a vehicle or a pane of glass is exactly what make Hells Gate National Park so incredibly special.
If you want to hear the zebras munching or admire the graceful walk of giraffes completely immersed in the elements of nature, then this is the place! But don’t worry, you won’t get eaten! Due to the lack of major predators here such as lions and leopards, Hells Gate is safe for you to access