A Guide To Hell’s Gate National Park
Hells Gate National Park is south of lake Naivasha, north-west of Nairobi. The park is accessible by road from Nairobi (90km) through Naivasha on the lake road south at a junction five kilometers south of Naivasha. It can also be reached by air though the Naivasha airstrip.
Despite its name, the 68km square is an ideal family getaway from Nairobi or a stop-over en-route to Lake Nakuru or the Masai Mara. Hells Gate National Park is famous for natural hot geysers and as an eagle and vulture breeding ground. The major attractions are game viewing, raptors resting on cliffs, spectacular gorge walk, hot springs, scenic landscape and the geothermal power station.
Hells Gate National Park, which comprises a savannah ecosystem, harbours a wide variety of wildlife. The animal species include lions, leopards and cheetahs. There are more than 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s eagle, augur buzzard and swifts. The African buffalo, zebra, eland, Thomson’s gazelle and baboons are also common. The park is also home to klipspringer antelope and Chanter’s mountain reedbuck.
Hells Gate National Park does not operate on the smart-card system. Entry is by cash only – Kenya shilling or the US dollar. For accommodation, the park has no facilities, but this is available in Naivasha town and on the Moi South Lake Road. But camping facilities are available: Oldubai campsite (on the cliff top south of Fischer’s Tower), Nairburta and Endchata campsites (across the gorge on the northern cliffs). Activities at the park including hiking, camping, rock climbing, biking, bird watching and wildlife viewing.
Facts About Hell’s Gate National Park
Altitude: 1,560-2,187 m above sea level.
Area: 68 sq km.
Location: Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province.
Distance from Nairobi: 100 km north-west of Nairobi.
Opened: February 1984.
Climate: January-March hot and dry. April-June hot and wet. July-October very warm and dry. November and December warm and wet.
Vegetation: Mainly grassland and shrub (dominated by Leleshwa and several varieties of acacia).
Wildlife: Eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, klipspringer, hyrax and mountain reedbuck.
Birds: More than 100 species of birds have been recorded including numerous rare birds.
Prehistory: Hell’s Gate is believed to be the outlet of a prehistoric freshwater lake, which once stretched all the way to Nakuru, and on whose shores a number of early human communities are believed to have lived.
Special interest: Hell’s Gate National Park has been designated a World Heritage Site and enjoys global protection as one of the most unique natural sites on earth.
Roads: The roads of the main Park circuit are accessible all year round with 2WD. 4WD is required to tour some of the less travelled circuits.
Visitor note: There is a KWS (official custodians of the Kenya National Parks & Reserves) retail outlet at Elsa Gate where you can obtain water, maps of the Park and a wide range of gifts and souvenirs.
Activities: rock climbing, mountain biking, trail hiking, bird watching, walking and nature trails
What To See in Hells Gate National Park
- 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.
- Wildlife viewing
- Raptor nesting in cliffs
- Hot springs
- The Olkaria Geothermal Station
- The Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide
- Tourist circuits, nature trails
- Health spa
How to get to Hells Gate 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 air strip
Accommodation And Campsites at Hells Gate National Park
- Endachata Campsite
- Naiburta Campsite
- Oldubai Campsite
Hells Gate National Park fees
Adults KSH: 350
Child KSH: 250
Adults KSH: 700
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Child KSH: 350
Non – Resident
Child USD: 20
Hells Gate National Park Contacts
Attraction Type: Wildlife, Adventure, Wildlife
Category: National Park, Mountain Climbing, Birding Site
Region: South Rift
City / Town: Naivasha
Road / Street: Moi South Road
Telephone: 254 20 243 3037 254 788 925952
Watch a tour video of the Hells Gate National Park
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