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Hell’s Gate National Park

Who has not seen the famous movie The Lion King from 1994? The makers of this movie were inspired by the amazing rock formations in Hell’s Gate National Park. With a size of 68 km², this is one of the smaller national parks in Kenya. What makes it special are the opportunities it offers its visitors. Climbing, walking safaris and even cycling tours are possible here, with the chance of encountering monkeys, zebras or buffaloes.

Volcanoes and lava

The rocks of Hell’s Gate were formed long ago by volcanic activity and lava. Olkaria and Hobley’s are two volcanoes in the park, and numerous obsidian forms have been created from the cool molten lava.  Olkaria is located in the west, the less visited part of the park. It is an active volcano. Its energy rages underground, which can be seen from the rising damp columns and clouds, as well as the many pipes of the power plant that the state has built here. The energy generated here from heat is used to meet much of Kenya’s energy needs.

Hell’s Gate Gorge

Hell’s Gate Gorge (also called Njorrowa Gorge) is an area between two steep red cliffs with two volcanic plugs: Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower. The former is located right at the entrance of the park and is its landmark. With a height of 25 meters, this lava vent has resisted the water masses for thousands of years. Today you can also climb here. Next to the Central Tower is a smaller gorge with a path that leads down to hot springs with sulfurous water and rocks so hot you can get burned. The rocks of Hell’s Gate Gorge eventually open up to vast grasslands frequented by buffalo, zebra, gazelles and hartebeest. Baboons and birds such as vultures and eagles prefer the rockier parts of the park.

Common Animals in Hell's Gate National Park

  • African buffalo
  • Zebra
  • Eland
  • Red hartebeest
  • Thomson’s gazelle
  • Baboon
  • Klipspringer’s antelope
  • Chandler’s mountain reedbuck
  • Over 100 species of birds, including vultures, Verreaux’s eagles, Augur’s buzzards and swifts.

Hell's Gate National Park Highlights

  • Spectacular landscape of towering cliffs, water-washed gorges, jagged rock towers, scrub-covered volcanoes and rising geothermal steam
  • Wildlife
  • Birds of prey nesting in the cliffs
  • Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide
  • Hot Springs
  • Olkaria Geothermal Station

Facts about Hell's Gate National Park

  • Volcanic eruptions caused this landscape
  • No predators in this park
  • Good to combine with Lake Naivasha and Crescent Island

Activities in Hell's Gate National Park

  • Mountain Bike Safari
  • Hiking
  • Climbing
  • Bird watching
  • Geothermal Spa (Mvuke)

How to get there

Hell’s Gate National Park is located 90 km north of Nairobi and can be reached from there by car in about 3 hours.
There is also an airstrip in Naivasha where daily flights from Nairobi land.



Hell’s Gate National Park can be visited all year round. In April and May as well as October/November rainfalls have to be expected. As a rule, temperatures here do not rise above 20° C even in summer.

Best time to visit Hell's Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park is worth a visit all year round, but there are certain places that should be avoided at all costs when it rains. In the lower part of the Nyorowa Gorge, which is not accessible by car, there can be life-threatening spring floods when it rains!