hell's gate national park
Hell’s Gate National Park lies south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, north west of Nairobi. 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 was established in 1984.
Hell’s Gate National Park is 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 trip from Nairobi where, in addition to the bio-diversity that includes raptors, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa.
Hell’s Gate national park is located 90 km or 55 miles northwest from the capital of Nairobi and just south of Lake Naivasha. It’s an easy day trip from Nairobi and close to several other national parks such as Naivasha and Lake Nakuru.
Hell’s Gate can be visited for hiking and cycling throughout the year, but wildlife safari viewing is best in the dry months from June to October when the grass is short. The scenery, however, is at its most spectacular during the Wet season from November to May.
Best Time to visit hell’s gate June to March is best for general wildlife viewing and outdoor activities (Little rain)
High Season The park is little visited throughout the year, but Naivasha gets busy with expats on school holidays, especially over Christmas (Accommodation in Naivasha might be harder to book).
Hell’s Gate is an ideal day trip for hiking, game viewing, enjoying the hot springs and even visiting its health spa. After a vigorous morning of hiking or biking you can take a lunch break here at a neighboring restaurant and enjoy the local Kenyan cuisine. And trips to nearby Crescent Island Preserve and Lakes Naivasha and Nakuru are easily arranged.
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.
Raptor nesting in cliffs
The Olkaria Geothermal Station
The Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide
Tourist circuits, nature trails
African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and baboons are common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck.
Prolific birdlife – there are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s Eagles, augur buzzard and swifts.
Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge
Muthu Lake Naivasha Country Club
Lake Naivasha Sopa Resort
Enashipai Resort & Spa
Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort
Jacaranda Lake Elementaita Lodge
Sweet Lake Resort
Hell’s Gate is located 100km/62 mi northwest of Nairobi and 18km/11mi west of Naivasha. As there is no accommodation in the park, most people visit as a day trip from Lake Naivasha. Naivasha is easily reached by car via a tar road from Nairobi. Alternatively, there are daily flights to Loldia airstrip on the western side of Naivasha.
Hiking at hell’s gate
The park is an ideal place to follow nature trails and get close to the plentiful grazing wildlife. With a ranger you can explore the park’s exotic gorges, cut into the rock over eons by the steady passing of water.
Not to be missed is Hell’s Gate Gorge, the inspiration behind “pride rock” from the Disney movie, “The Lion King”. The filmmakers came to the park to study this formation to be replicated in their film.
Mountain biking at hell’s gate
Cycling is a great and unique way to view the antelope, zebra and other foraging animals. Take the “buffalo circuit” for views of giraffe and the nearby Longonot volcano.
Climbing at hell’s gate
Fisher’s Tower and Central Tower are extinct volcanos with perfect rock walls for climbing. You’ll need a guide but they’re easy and rewarding climbs.
Cycling at Hell’s Gate National Park
Cycling at Hell’s Gate national park is an amazing experience like no other, cycling past grazing zebras and a giraffe among other animals is a great experience. The park has no wild cats making it one of the best places in Kenya to enjoy a biking tour in the wild.
Picnic site at Hell’s gate