Hell's Gate National Park



Located south of Lake Naivasha and 50 mi/80 km northwest of Nairobi, Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya, is excellent for hiking, especially through scenic Njorowa Gorge. There are clearly marked trails throughout the park. The wildlife viewing is not so great, however. The main attractions, animal-wise, are eagles and vultures that inhabit the tall sandstone cliffs (you can see them year-round).

Fischer's Tower and Central Tower are interesting columns of volcanic rock. Natural geysers dot the area—in fact, there's a geothermal energy plant within the park. The park is aptly named—it is hot. Hell's Gate will only appeal to those who are going to be in Kenya for an extended visit and to those who are true nature lovers.

If you want to do more vigorous hiking in the area, try nearby Mount Longonot. The dormant volcano is worth the climb for its views of the crater and the Rift Valley. You can circle the rim, but don't hike up from the lake road or from Hell's Gate—those routes are too steep. Instead, follow signs to the base of the mountain, where you can park and take the one- to two-hour trek up to the rim. If you decide to circle the rim, the counterclockwise route is easier and adds an additional two to three hours to the hike.

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