Hell’s Gate National Park
Hells Gate National Park lies south of Lake Naivasha and 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. It was established in 1984. A small national park, it is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery. Main land features includes the Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell’s Gate Gorge. The park is also home to several geothermal power stations at Olkaria.
Hell’s Gate National Park covers an area of 68.25 square kilometres. The park is at 1,900 metres above sea level. It is within Nakuru County, near Lake Naivasha and approximately 90 kilometres from Nairobi.The park is located 14 kilometres after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway, and has a warm and dry climate. Olkaria and Hobley’s, two extinct volcanoes located in the park, can be seen as well as obsidian forms from the cool molten lava. Within Hell’s Gate is the Hells Gate Gorge, lined with red cliffs which contain two volcanic plugs: Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower. Off Central Tower is a smaller gorge which extends to the south and of which a path descends into hot springs and also at some places you can find rocks that will burn you.
There is a wide variety of wildlife in the national park. The park has historically been an important home for the rare lammergeyer vultures. There are over 103 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux’s eagles, augur buzzards and swifts. Hyraxes, buffaloes, zebras, elands, hartebeests, gazelles, hyenas and baboons. The park is also home to serval cats, some klipspringer antelopes and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck.