Hell’s Gate Gorge is the main attraction and basis for the park’s name. Red walled cliffs travel along the gorge and feature two volcanic rock formations known as Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower.
A smaller gorge trails away from Central Tower and leads to an area of hot springs. The springs are hot enough to cause burns. There are two extinct volcanoes known as Olkaria and Hobley’s found with the park boundaries.
Hell’s Gate is a popular national park in Kenya because of its easy access from Nairobi as well as the variety of wildlife and amazing landscapes that can be experienced with a visit to the park.
The wildlife numbers are smaller, but the variety of wildlife is abundant. Some of the predator species include lion, leopard, hyena, serval, and cheetah. Other popular species include zebra, eland, buffalo, hartebeest, klipspringer, reedbuck, hyraxes, and Thomson’s gazelle.
There are more than 100 species of birds with some of the larger species including the Verreaux eagle, augur buzzard, and vultures including the rare lammergeyer vulture.
From a cultural perspective, the park facilities include a Maasai Cultural Center where visitors can learn about the Maasai tribe 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.
Location: Hell’s Gate is 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.
Climate: The park is known to be warm, dry and dusty.
Best time to visit: Hell’s Gate is open for wildlife viewing throughout the year however the rainy season could impede your touring during the wet season months of March through May.
Operating Hours: The park is open from 0600 hrs. to 1800 hrs. daily.
By road – you can book a tour with Timken Safaris from the coast or Nairobi. From Nairobi, you’ll take the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway. The drive affords fantastic views of the Rift Valley.
Things to do and see
Hiking – 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 – 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 – 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.
Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide – This is a camouflaged viewing platform with a one-way window to view the many raptors in the park.
Ol Karia Geothermal Spa – The largest natural spa on the continent, it has been describe