Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya

Kenya Hells Gate

Hell’s Gate National Park (on the map)

Hell’s Gate National Park, located south of Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, named after a narrow break in the cliffs, figures among one of my most dandy hiking experiences ever… Despite the horrifying fact that we got lost and had to climb hill cliffs without any security!

Hell's Gate National Park Hiking Ground
Hiking ground in Hell’s Gate

Mountain biking Safari at Hell’s Gate National Park

You can cycle halfway through the park on rented mountain bikes and admire a mind-blowing scenery and a large variety of wildlife. Click To Tweet

First things first, you can cycle halfway through the park on rented mountain bikes and admire a mind-blowing scenery and a large variety of wildlife.
I have to admit I was quite flabbergasted, shocked and a teeny tiny bit worried when we were told to cycle through a landscape which is home to African buffalo and hyenas. Besides, buffalos are the most dangerous animals in the park and the safety instructions you’ll get are quite scarce: “If they run towards you, lie quickly down on your belly, they’ll stop chasing you”… Yeah, riiiiight!!!

But quite honestly, we survived the cycling part without any buffalo attack and were just amazed to see all those animals within such a short distance. My personal favourites were the goofy warthogs running frantically around and the massif giraffes chewing lazily on their leaves without so much as looking at you.

Hiking through the gorge of Hell’s Gate National Park

After some time of joyful cycling and avoiding the buffalo herds you’ll arrive at the car park and picnic area that leads to a hiking “path” on the ravine floor which is surrounded by cliffs.

Be safe & sound

For Kenyan standards the 68.25 square kilometres large Park is not one of the biggest, but it’s still big enough to get lost. So even if the cycling part can be done all on your own, hikers should not go into the gorge down to the ravine floor without a guide. 
So, off we were, the two of us with our private guide,… and no sooner had we all set a foot into the ravine than we already got lost!

Gorge of Hells Gate
Me feeling very small in the gorge of Hell’s Gate National Park

Actually, we only noticed we were lost after a one hour walk – interrupted by a few acrobatic climbing moves and nondescript body torsions on the steep path down into the gorge. But since it was still quite early, we didn’t worry too much… even though we noticed that down there, mobile network is non-existent!

After climbing the perilous cliffs without security, which was by the way one of the dumbest and most dangerous things I did in my life, we arrived at one of the geothermal power stations and walked back the road to the picnic area, where our panicked driver was waiting for us while pacing back and forth and frantically trying to reach our unreachable mobile phones. He thought we had vanished forever!

Cliff climbing Hells gate
This picture was taken during our climb up the cliffs – I was petrified!

After our 3 and half hour hiking adventure, we were happy he welcomed us with tasty snacks and wonderfully fresh water and didn’t even mind him telling us off for scaring “the shit out of him”.

What should you bring to hike & bike through Hell’s Gate?

  • Tough walking shoes with preferably a Gore-Tex membrane
  • Comfortable T-shirt & trousers
  • Your mobile phone (even if you don’t have any network, the compass might help you if lost)
  • A snack & drinking water
  • A hat or something else to cover your head
  • Sunglasses & sunblock
  • A first aid kit (because you never know)
  • Blister plasters
  • A real life guide 

You should also be physically fit and ready for quite some exercise. And finally, it is not recommended to enter the ravine after heavy rain in the area. In 2012, 7 people died down there because of flash floods.

All in all, you should definitely visit Hell's Gate National Park, because it'll probably be one of your most fun and original trekking experiences. Click To Tweet

Find ou about other Hikes & Trails on the travelbias.com

You have other trekking experiences to share? What was your best Hike ever? Please let us know!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here