Hells Gate National Park 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 was established in 1984. A small national park, it is known for its wide variety of wildlife and for its scenery. This includes the Fischer's Tower and Central Tower columns and Hell's Gate Gorge. The national park is also home to three geothermal power at Olkaria.
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
The closest airstrip is the Naivasha airstrip.
Inside the Park
This 25 meters (75 ft) high rocky tower formed by semi-molten rock forced to a fissure, cooling and solidifying as it extruded is located near the main entrance of the park. Both the Fischer's tower and the Central tower were formed the same way at the same time. The German explorer, Gustav Fischer, who was sent by the Hamburg Geographical Society to find a route going from Mombasa to Lake Victoria, gave his name to this high volcanic plug rising out of the valley. For Maasai community, the tower is a Maasai girl which has be turned to stone after disobeying the family before her wedding. Around the base and scuttling among the rocks are dassies (or rock hyrax), quite unperturbed by visitors. Picnic site available. For climbers, climbing the tower is great fun.
The Obsidian caves - and its distinctive black glass-like obsidian rock - are located on the Buffalo Circuit and have a track that take you to a lookout over the near Fisher Tower and Kedong plains around the Mt Longonot. Picnic site available. Obsidian is the result of rapid cooling of molten volcanic lava coming in contact with water while being poured into a lake or ocean. This resulting to the glassy texture of the rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color. Obsidian can contain small air bubbles that are aligned along layers. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden sheen, known asSheen Obsidian or a rainbow sheen called Rainbow Obsidian. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.
Also called "Embarta" (The Horse), this rocky tower is much larger than its predecessor the Fischer's Tower. The Central tower is hardly seen along the road, it can be viewed from very far along the Buffalo Circuit. To access the tower, continue towards the Lower Gorge and park your car at the main parking - which marks the halfway point of the main road. Once at the parking, the tower is easily seen from benches of the picnic site and there is a track leading to the tower (see map of Lower Gorge below).
The vegetation is mainly grasslands and shrub lands dominated by several species of Acacia and Euphorbia. There are also a wide variety of succulents in the area and some unique plants capable of withstanding high temperatures.
• Scenic landscape (lookouts, rocky towers).
• Unique bird viewing and nesting in cliffs
• Spectacular excursion of the gorges and cliffs.
• Geothermal Power Station.
• Hot springs, steam jets, waterfalls and hot springs
• Traditional Maasai culture.
• Splendid views on the Longonot and Suswa volcanoes and Lake Naivasha.
• Possibility to go for walk, bike, horse riding and hiking in the park.
Wildlife here include eland, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra, leopard, impala, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, klipspringer, rock hyrax and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck
There are two rain seasons i.e. Long rains – March & April & short rains – Nov/ December. Temperature ranges from 20-300 c and rainfall from 200mm – 700 mm
Best time to visit
All year round