Hell's Gate National Park is a small park located in North West of Nairobi and Southwest of Lake Naivasha. The park is situated between Lake Naivasha, Longonot and Suswa volcanoes and on the floor of the Great Rift Valley. It was established in 1948 and is named after a narrow break in the cliffs, once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley. The park covers an area of 68.25 square km and is characterized by diverse topography and geological scenery. The vegetation in the park is characterized by grassland with shrubs, bushes and acacia. The landscape is characterized by stunning volcanic scenery such as towering cliffs, gorges, rock towers, belching plumes of geothermal steam and extinct volcanoes such as Olkalia and Hobley's - Making it one of the Best National Parks in Kenya. The park is at 1,900 metres (6,200 ft) above sea level.
Hell’s Gate National Park is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery. This includes he Fischer's Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell's Gate Gorge. The Park is also home to three geothermal power stations at Olkaria. The park is popular due to its close proximity to Nairobi and lowered park fees compared to other National Parks. There are a number of activities that can be enjoyed within the park. Among these are; game drives, walking safaris, biking/cycling, rock climbing, hiking and cultural interaction with the Maasai people who lives nearby the park.
Hell’s Gate can be accessed through three main gates: the main Elsa Gate, Narasha Gate and Olkaria Gate. The latter also serves the Olkaria Geothermal Station that is located inside the National Park.
There is a wide variety of wildlife in the national park and some of the animals easily seen include African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle, Hyena, Hyraxes and Baboons. The park is also home to serval and small numbers of klipspringer antelope and Chanler's mountain reedbuck. Among the uncommon animals here are: lions, leopards, and cheetahs. There are over 103 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux's eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts. Click here to read more about Kenya Safari Animals and Wildlife.
Due to the relatively high altitude, the climate is mild throughout the year. Daytime temperatures are pleasant in the mid to upper twenties, while it cools off at night. The main Wet season (‘long rains’) is from March to May while there is a shorter wet period (‘short rains’) peaking in November. The short rains aren’t as pronounced as in other places in Kenya.
Hell's Gate National Park is open all year round, but the best time to visit is from June to March when wildlife watching is more rewarding due to the little amount rainfall received during this time of the year. The wetter months, on the other hand, reward you with nesting birds of prey, and the vegetation is in full bloom.
There are no lodge accommodation facilities inside the park except for Kenya Wildlife Service ( KWS ) campsites which are booked through them. However a wide range of accommodations options are available in Naivasha Town, ranging from luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation. Some nearby accommodation facilities include;
Typical Room Interior at Naivasha Kongoni Lodge.
Executive Suite Interior at Lake Naivasha Country Club.