Hell's Gate National Park was established in 1984 and named after a narrow break in the cliffs. The park is mostly known for its scenery, what includes the Fischer's Tower and Central Tower columns and the Hell's Gate Gorge. It is also a good place to meet giraffes, zebras or warthogs face to face while walking or biking through the park.
Fees and permits
- US$26 for non-resident adults (2017)
- Ksh 700 for adult residents
- Ksh 350 for a car (less than 6 seats)
- KSHsh 200 to take a bike into the park
The entry fee has to be paid at the entrance gates and only by card - no cash accepted
- 1 Hell's Gate Gorge (Ol Njorowa). A narrow sandstone gorge which was sculpted by water and light. In some places it can be slippery and you need to know where to put your feet. The rangers will ask for (at least) Ksh 500/person to guide you while just after the gate locals will wait to do so for less and for a whole group. If you're not going with an official guide you have to sign in and out at the Ranger's Post. There is no charge to hike into the gorge and it is within the national park not part of a “Masai Village” as some scammers might tell you when you reach the Ranger Station. If you choose to hike alone be very careful of the weather, there is a real danger of flash floods in the narrow canyon - there are a number of emergency exits, look out for them.
- 2 Central Tower Gorge. The Central Tower Gorge is the main creek coming from the left hand side when you walk the Hell's Gate Gorge. Since there was an deadly accident with 7 Kenyan university students because of flooding waters most guides pass this way. Do not go there without a guide.
- 3 Fischer's Tower. A 25 m high volcanic column named after the German explorer, who reached the gorge in 1882. It's the starting point for a wide and deep valley surrounded by red rock walls. Zebras, Giraffe and warthog are seen in this 7km-long stretch leading to the Gorges.
- Cycling. From the Elsa Gate to the Hell's Gate Gorge its a 7 km dirt road, slightly downhill - coming back will take you longer. Cycling is a good option to see a few African animals face to face. It is a good experience, but be prepared for the burning afternoon sun. There are bikes for rent in many hotels, at the junction to the Elsa Gate and at the park entrance. Don't pay more than Ksh500, you can bargain for less, especially at the junction (2017).
- The “Buffalo Circuit” gives you a better chance to see giraffes, and provides a stunning view of Longonot volcano, but be prepared to push your rental bike up the steep section to the lookout at the top. The entire circuit is 14 km, but allow plenty of time given the steepness of the section to the lookout.
- There are a couple of stores, restaurants and other businesses near Elsa Gate that will store your backpack while you cycle around the park if say, you want to head directly to Nairobi or Nakuru after cycling around. Organise with the bicycle rental guys and tip the store owner when you get back.
- Climbing. The rock walls are just made for climbing. An easy but famous climb is the Fischer's Tower. You need equipment and a guiding to climb in the park, so ask before in your hotel.
If you plan to do a day trip, go with some food and refreshments because you won't find any inside the park.
Water and soft drinks can be bought in the Elsa Gate shop and at the Ranger's Post at the Hell's Gate Gorge.
There are three basic camping sites in the national park.