Attractions in Hell’s Gate National Park 2022 : 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. Hell’s gate national park was established in 1984, a national park is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery that includes the Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell’s Gate Gorge. The national park is also known as a home to five geothermal power stations at Olkaria.The Park has three campsites which also includes Masai cultural center.
Attractions in Hell’s Gate National Park.
- Olkaria Geothermal Power Station.
The comprehensive Olkaria Geothermal Station, it’s the first of its kind in Africa. Was established in 1981 and generates geothermal power underneath Hell’s Gate from the area’s hot springs and geysers. Three more geothermal stations were added after 2000, Olkaria 11, Olkaria 111 and Olkaria 1V.Construction of the 140 MW Olkaria V commenced in 2017 and the plant came online in 2019.As significant part of the Hell’s gate national park has turned into an industrial area, with many pipelines, power plants and busy tarmac roads.
Olkaria 1 Power station.
Olkaria power station was the first geothermal power station plant in Africa. The 45 MW plant commissioned in three phases and three units each generating 15MW of electricity. The first unit was commissioned in June 1981, the second and the third units in November 1982 and March 1985 respectively.
Olkaria 11 Power station.
Located in the North Eastern sector of the greater Olkaria Geothermal field and commissioned in 2003, Olkaria 11 Power station generates 105 MW.Intitially the plant generated 70 MW from two units of 35 MW each. Later a third 35 MW unit was added. Construction of the third unit commenced in 2009 and was competed in May 2010, bringing the total generation capacity to 105 MW.
Olkari 1 Unit 4 and 5 and Olkaria 1V Power Station.
Olkaria 1V and Olkaria 1 Unit 4 and 5 generating 140 MW were commissioned in December 2014 and February 2015 respectively. This is the country’s largest Geothermal Power Project. Olkaria 1 U nit 4 and 5 is located at Olkaria East of the Olkaria geothermal field where as Olkaria is at the Olkaria domes field.
- Wildlife species.
Hell’s gate national park ids not a big five destination, Aside from buffalo there are no dangerous animals, which makes walking and cycling excellent activities. Burchell’s zebra, coke’s hartebeest, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle and impala are the main grazers. Giraffe and deface waterbuck can also be encountered. Olive baboons are all over the cliffs. The park is also good for some small antelopes such as kirk’s dik-dik and steenbok. Predators are not easy to spot, but cheetah is there, while spotted hyena and black-backed jackal can sometimes be seen at dusk, at times lucky visitors may come across the elegant.
- Bird species.
Bird attractions in Hell’s gate national park which can be sighted among the cliffs and flying around in the park includes vultures, Verreaux’s eagle, lammergeyer, augur buzzard among others.
- Fischer’s tower and Central tower.
Fischer’s tower and central tower are volcanic plugs of hard igneous rock that resisted erosion to form rocky columns which are rock climbing spots for tourists visiting Hell’s gate national park. Fischer’s tower is located near the main entrance of the national park. The tower was formed due to semi molten rock forcing into a fissure that cooled and solified to form an extrusion. The formation of Fischer’s tower is also attached to certain local stories of the Masai people who believe that the rock is Maasai girl who turned into a stone after turning her back on her father on her way to her husband contrary to tradition. Fischer’s tower is found in the northeastern end Hell’s gate national park and is a walkable distance from Elsa gate.
- Hell’s gate gorge.
It is in the heart of Hell’s gate national park ,is a deep valley that runs through the national park and it is characterized by rock walls and a high volcanic which can be climbed with a guide. Wildlife species can also be spotted like giraffes, zebras and the warthogs as well as bird species such as vultures.
- Obsidian caves.
Obsidian caves in Hell’s gate national park is an impressive feature situated close to Elsa gate at the end of the buffalo circuit, the cave is found on Obsidian rock and it is a reached while on a2 kilometers track of buffalo circuit. In the cave you will witness glassy black rock characterized of rift valley lave flows.
- Lower gorge /Ol Njorwa gorge.
Rising the main gorge’s southern end is the large central tower, an unusual volcanic plug. Picnic site and ranger’s post are close by, from where a walk descends into a lower gorge (Ol Njorowa).In some places the riverbed ids dry, in others you will find yourself scrambling down a steep and slippery descent. Some steps have been cut into the rock and some parts may be perilous. We recommend taking a guide.
We also recommend that you do not make the descent during the rainy season, even if it’s not raining at the time. In April 2012, seven members of a church group drowned from there during a flash flood that swept down Lower Gorge after heavy rains fell in neighboring areas. This gorge is also famous for variety of movie productions such as Tomb raider which were shot from this gorge and inspired the movie production.
Where to stay in Hell’s gate national park.
There are number of facilities in Hell’s gate which range from luxury, budget and mid-range accommodation.
Luxury, Kabuko luxury camp, Mvuke spa, Naivasha Kongoni lodge.
Mid-range, Lake Naivasha resort, Eserian the hotel, Hippos safari resort.
Budget, Burch’s resort Naivasha, Triple Eden Naivasha hotel, Naivasha tree house.
Hell’s gate national park has got various camp which gives the campers scenic views of Mount Longonot and the Mau escarpment. Camping as an accommodation option for tourists is highly recommended for a wonderful experience in the wild.
Best time to visit Hell’s gate national park.
The best time to visit Hell’s gate national park is June to March when wildlife viewing is more rewarding due to the little amount of rainfall received during the time of the year.
Hell’s gate national park is characterized by stunning volcanic as towering cliffs,gorges,rock towers, belching plumes of geothermal steam and extinct volcanoes such as Ol Karia and Hobley’s make it one of the most and unique scenic national parks in Kenya.