Hells Gate National Park Kenya | Kenya Wildlife Service Hells Gate Park | Naivasha Hell’s Gate Park | Hell’s Gate Gorge Kenya Attractions | Hells Gate Park Things to Do | Hells Gate National Park Safari | Hells Gate National Park Animals | Hells Gate Park Birds | Hells Gate National Park Fischer’s Tower | Hells Gate National Park Obsidian Caves | Hells Gate National Park Central Tower | Hells Gate National Park Cliffs | Hells Gate National Park Lower Gorge Ol Njorowa Gorge | Hells Gate National Park Accommodations | Hells Gate National Park Fees, Guide & Prices | Hells Gate National Park Ol Karia Geothermal Project | Kenya National Parks Game Reserves
Hells Gate National Park is situated in the environs of Lake Naivasha about 100 km from Nairobi and is situated 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi – Naivasha highway along the Moi Lake Road South road. The park is 10 kilometers from Naivasha town (in Nakuru County) and is the ideal venue for a day trip from Nairobi (driving time takes 3 hours).
Hells Gate National Park is one of only two Kenyan Parks that allow walking or cycling without an official Kenya wildlife service escort (the other being Saiwa Swamp National Park). Other activities include hiking, bicycling/ cycling, camping, horse riding, rock climbing, bird watching, photography, wildlife viewing, and a natural spa.
The national park encompasses an area of 26.35 square miles (68.25 sq km) and sits at an elevation of 6,200 feet (1,900 m) above sea level. It was opened in February 1984. Hell’s Gate Gorge is the main attraction and basis for the park’s name.
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 characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery.
Wildlife includes predator species like lions, leopards, hyenas, serval, and cheetahs. Other popular species include giraffe, zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, hartebeest, klipspringer, reedbuck, hyraxes, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle.
More than 100 species of birds have been recorded and these include the African kestrel, Arrow-marked babbler, Chinspot batis, Egyptian vulture, Golden-winged Sunbird, Eastern imperial eagle, Jackson’s widowbird, Verreaux’s eagle, White-rumped Swift, Yellow bishop, Yellow-rumped seedeater and many more.
From a cultural perspective, the park facilities include a Maasai Cultural Center where visitors can learn about the Maasai tribe’s customs, traditions, and overall culture. This is an excellent educational opportunity to learn more about an amazing group of people with unique customs and practices.
The park is an important home of the lammergeyer. Hell’s Gate has two gates that are used by visitors – the main Elsa Gate and the Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station which is located inside the National Park.
By Road: This park is accessible via tarmac road from Nairobi (90kms) via Naivasha Town on the Lake Road South at a junction 5km south of Naivasha. By Air: Naivasha airstrip.
Overview | Background Information about Hell's Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate was derived from the Dutch phrase Hellegat which means ‘a clear opening’. In 1883, two European explorers, Fisher and Thompson came up with the name Hell’s Gate which referred to a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley.
Roughly 26mi²/ 68 km² in size, the park is situated in the Great Rift Valley, a jagged tectonic tear that stretches from Lebanon to Mozambique and cracks the continent in two by a few millimeters every year. The park was established in 1984 and lies south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya, northwest of Nairobi.
Climate: The temperature ranges from 20-300 Celcius and rainfall from 200mm – to 700 mm with two rain seasons: January-March hot and dry. April-June hot and wet. July-October is very warm and dry. November and December are warm and wet.
The vegetation is mainly grasslands and shrublands dominated by several species of Acacia and Euphorbia. There are also a wide variety of succulents in the area and some unique plants capable of withstanding high temperatures.
2022 Hells Gate National Park Entrance Fees
Citizen/ Resident Rate Per Person Per Day
Non-Resident Rate Per Person Per Day
|Adult||300 Kenya Shillings||26 US Dollars|
|Child||215 Kenya Shillings||17 US Dollars|
* Child refers to persons from three years but below 11 years
* Resident refers to persons of other nationalities residing in Kenya with valid documentation from the Kenyan government
* Citizen – A native or inhabitant of East Africa Countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and SouthSudan) with valid identification documents or passport
* Daily – Fee paid for a single entry to a national park, national reserve, or sanctuary and which shall be valid for no longer than twenty-four hours
Hells Gate National Park Wildlife
Hells Gate National Park is not a Big Five destination. Aside from buffalo, there are no dangerous animals which makes walking and cycling excellent activities. The park has unique wildlife such as Buffalo (Cape), Giraffe (Masai), Hyrax (Bruce’s), Hyrax (Eastern Tree), Hyrax (Rock), Hyrax (Southern Tree), warthogs, and Zebra (Common).
Herbivores include Aardwolf, eland (Common), hartebeest (Coke’s), Civet, klipspringer antelope, and Mountain Reedbuck (Chandler’s).
Others include: (African), Fox (Bat-eared), Genet (Large-spotted) and Genet (Small-spotted), Hyena (Spotted), both Jackal (Black-backed) and Jackal (Common), Mongoose (Marsh), Mongoose (White-tailed), Otter (Clawless), Serval and Zorilla. There are Baboon (Savannah), Monkey (Green Vervet) rabbits, hares, insectivores, Hare (Cape) and Hare (Spring), and Porcupine (Crested).
Hells Gate National Park Birds
Hells Gate National Park boasts over 100 species of birds and has been renowned as a breeding place for lammergeyers. Other birds include; Rupells vultures, Egyptian vultures, Masai ostrich, Verreaux eagle, augur buzzard, white-rumped swift, yellow bishop, yellow-rumped seed eater, and Schalow’s wheatear.
Others include Secretary Bird, African kestrel, Steppe Buzzard, Bateleur, Peregrine Falcons, Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture, imperial eagle, Oxpeckers, Augur Buzzard, Hildebrandt Francolin, Guinea Fowl, Speckled Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Bee Eater, Hoopoe, Mottled Swifts and Sunbirds, arrow market babbler, golden-winged sunbird, chin spot batis, and Jackson’s widow bird among others.
The best time for bird watching is November to April.
Rock Climbing at Fischer’s Tower, Hell’s Gate National Park
Hells Gate Fischer’s Tower is the prominent tooth of rock as one enters Hell’s Gate. Here you will get some of Kenya’s best Rock Climbing. It is about 40 m high and the rock-climbing is excellent. It is a popular climbing ground and very suitable for beginners. We offer qualified professional rock climbing guides and equipment.
Hells Gate Fischer’s Tower is 25 meters (75 ft) high rocky tower formed by semi-molten rock forced into a fissure, cooling and solidifying as it extruded is located near the main entrance of the Park. Both the Fischer’s tower and the Central Tower were formed the same way at the same time.
All routes on the tower can be done in one rope length and all can be split into two pitches if so required. Descent is by abseiling from bolts on the summit. Fischer’s Tower was first climbed by H. C. Pereira and J. Moore in May 1949.
For the Masai community, the tower is a Masai girl which has been turned to stone after disobeying the family before her wedding. Around the base and scuttling among the rocks are dassies (or rock hyrax), quite unperturbed by visitors. Picnic site available. At the entrance of Hell’s Gate National Park, they are qualified professional rock-climbing guides. If you want to hire equipment it is right there at the gate.
Hiking | Walking at Lower Gorge/ Ol Njorowa Gorge Hells Gate National Park
Hell’s Gate National Park Lower Gorge/Ol Njorowa Gorge is located on the main road, the Lower Gorge is the main attraction of the Park. It is a 24km long deep ravine lined with sheer cliffs and endowed with hot water springs feeding a stream that meanders down the floor of the gorge as it cuts its way through the rugged and semi-arid surrounding landscape.
The Gorge widens out as it weaves its way down and out of the National Park. It is arguably one of the most beautiful places to go for a hike. The hike is easy and begins from Elsa Park Gate and also ends there. The walking duration takes 3-6 hours, with the terrain, mostly sandy riverbed in Ol Njorowa gorge, with a few rocky spots.
The first ½ km is the most difficult as you follow the spring and it is sometimes slippery. But once you arrive at the main junction, the walk is easy. Picnic sites, toilets, refreshments, and local guides are available at the main parking.
Walking in the gorge is an amazing experience as you will see during this expedition water eroded walls, so narrow that they almost block out the sky, several hot and cold waterfalls, hot water springs, and colorful strata and rock formations.
Stout sticks, non-slip shoes, and clothes for wet conditions are recommended and you must keep an eye on the weather (especially during rain seasons) as there is a risk of the waterflood. The place is also popular for film production as the Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, King Solomon’s Mines and Mountains of the Moon used the gorge as the backdrop of their movie.
Cycling through Hells Gate National Park
A cycling safari within Hells Gate National Park offers a unique way to explore some of Kenya’s remarkable wildlife. The park is generally safe to cycle in all year round as animals of prey are hard to come by. A cycling safari within the park, allows you to take in the views of the panoramic gorges and cliffs and be up close and personal to resident wildlife, such as zebras, gazelles, warthogs, eland, buffalo, impala, giraffes, rock hyraxes, and klipspringers.
The park opens daily at 6:00 am and closes by 6:00 pm during which you can cycle to your heart’s content. There are no age restrictions for one to cycle into the park. During the rainy seasons of April and November, It gets wet and muddy and it may not be very appropriate to use a bike at Hell’s Gate.
Though the terrain remains the same all year round, it is advisable to visit the park between the months of June and Late February. This is because this period experiences little to no rainfall and sunny temperatures which offer the best cycling experience.
The road used on the cycling path is rough all year round hence no worry about cycle tracks. There are two paths to take around the park: Buffalo track – At the tower goes to the Central Tower which is a two hours circuit that offers a lovely view of the Kedong Valley, Naivasha lake, and Longonot volcano. The Twiga circuit approaches the Central Tower but through the min road and is a shorter route.
Places of interest in the park that one can visit while cycling include The Fishers Tower, Central Tower, Ol Njorowa Gorge, Obsidian Caves, OlKaria Geothermal Plant, and the Olook Karia Maasai Cultural Centre.
Olkaria Geothermal Spa (The Largest Natural Spa In Africa)
Olkaria Geothermal Spa is right at the heart of the Hell’s Gate National Park, which was the setting of the Lion King film, and adjacent to Mt. Longonot National Park. The Centre is a product of Geothermal Power Projects at Olkaria where Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen) owns and operates four Power Plants.
It provides the ultimate destination for revelers, away from the hustle and bustles of the city. The breathtaking scenery creates a memorable experience. It is the perfect tourist destination. Users enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the Olkaria Geothermal Spa and have the opportunity to relax, refresh and revitalize their minds, bodies, and soul.
The Olkaria Geothermal Spa offers recreational and therapeutic swimming with its Blue Lagoons. From the geothermal station, you can continue up to the Ol Karia Gate (exit which emerges in the Oserian and Elsamere farms near the lake) or continue the circuit to admire steam vents and recent lava flows around the Ol Karia and Hobley’s mounts.
Hells Gate National Park Accommodations | Hotels | Resorts | Lodgings
Hell’s Gate National Park has no accommodation like hotels and lodges inside the park; although a wide range of accommodation options are available in Naivasha town and along Moi South Lake Road. The majority of visitors here do camping or day visits from Nairobi or Naivasha.
Accommodations around Naivasha include Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp, Lake Naivasha Sopa Lodge, Enashipai Resort And Spa, Lake Naivasha Country Club, and Camp Carnelly’s, etc. You can find more hotels on the following link: Lake Naivasha Hotels
Camping Facilities include Oldubai campsite (on the cliff top south of Fischer’s Tower), Nairburta campsite, and Endchata campsite (across the gorge on the northern cliffs).