Beautiful landscapes combined with stunning animal and bird life - and all only an hour's drive from Nairobi!
The traffic coming from Nairobi can be slow and frustrating - but now I'm quibbling!
If you're coming to Kenya, don't miss out on this region!
... which is not something that I usually care to do, but as the fact that sequences from "Tomb Raider" were filmed in Ol-Njorowa gorge was perhaps the only piece of information our inept 'tour guide' offered us in over an hour, I thought that I'd share this with you ...Ol-Njorowa gorge is a highlight of any visit to Hell's Gate National Park, and...more
Hell's Gate combines savannah grassland - complete with herds of grazing herbivores - with some more rugged scenery, including the escarpment that forms the backdrop to this family of buffalo on the hoof. It makes for an excellent opportunity to combine wildlife and landscape photography, so make sure that you come with several camera chips so that...more
One of our abiding memories of the Kenyan Rift Valley will be the abundance of eland - seen here in a group at Hell's Gate that probably numbered about 30 individuals.Eland are the largest antelope in Africa, and we are used to shy 'peek a boo' encounters in Southern African reserves, where they tend to congregate in small groups and frustrate...more
One of the most intriguing attractions that Hell's Gate has to offer are its obsidian caves ... which, even if you're not a lapsed geologist such as myself, would surely pique your interest?So, what is obsidian? Well, in simple terms, it's a volcanic glass that is associated with silica-rich magmas - these give rise to volcanoes that tend to blow...more
OK, by now you probably know that I'm a lapsed geologist, but usually I try to keep my enthusiasm under control ... until I see outcrops like this!This is pumice ... yes, the stuff that you diligently buff away callouses and hard skin with. Pumice is probably best described as 'volcanic froth' - essentially all the gases in the lava (which were...more
... in fact, these lurid green algae positively relish it!With the Ol-Karia geothermal power projects being located within the boundaries of the Hell's Gate National Park, it's no surprise that the park is punctuated with hot springs. These are easiest to identify in the Ol-Njorowa gorge, where the hot water seeping to surface sustains bright green...more
The camp , with its abundant greenery enveloping it from all sides, the continuous flow of birds in and around, the constant chirping sound of bokets, woodpeckers and hundreds of other breeds of birds, the occasional sound of Hippos bathing and the quack of the Pelicans overhead makes this an ideal relaxing joint.more
Of all the things that I expected to find in Kenya's Rift Valley, a vineyard was not one of them!Actually, to be strictly accurate, we didn't find a vineyard, but we did stumble across its produce ... at in a weaving workshop (Elementaita Weavers) of all places!We always try to seek out local produce when we travel, and our poor friends have become...more
On first consideration, the prospect of having a power station within a national park would seem unlikely ... but then, as we discovered, Hell's Gate is a place with a talent for combining unexpected elements!The proliferation of hot springs along the Kenyan Rift Valley is evidence of its very recent volcanic past. The Ol-Karia power project has...more
One of the attractions of Hell's Gate is that - unlike many of the other national parks, where game spotting is the main attraction - there are a whole range of outdoor pursuits that you can occupy yourself with ... including rock climbing.Fischer's Tower is located close to the main Elsa Gate of the park and is a volcanic plug, formed by lava that...more
Hell's Gate boasts two free standing pinnacles which are volcanic plugs - lava that solidified in the vent of an extinct volcano and which have withstood erosion better than the surrounding rock.Central Tower is the larger of the two plugs and dominates the skyline in the vicinity of the Ol-Njorowa Gorge (and is thus quite a useful point of...more
As you drop down into the Rift Valley from Nairobi, it's impossible to ignore Mount Logonot, probably the largest of the recent volcanic cones in the area. It is currently dormant, and its attractively symmetrical form is a useful point of reference on the landscape.It is apparently a fairly easy hike to the rim of Logonot's crater - whose highest...more
I'll freely admit that I'm a sucker for old farm machinery, so imagine my delight when we drew into Elementaita Weavers (on the southern shore of Lake Naivasha) and were confronted with these beauties!I have a particular weakness for old bulldozers, so the ancient Caterpillar caught my eye ... although the prospect of a ride on a vehicle with metal...more
Kenya's national parks differ from their counterparts in Southern Africa in two significant aspects: one is that they allow people (and their livestock) access to the park, and secondly, in the case of Hell's Gate, they allow tourists to explore by mountain bike.Bikes are available for hire at the main Elsa Gate, and it looks like loads of fun! The...more
I would only recommend this if you are interested in the life of Joy and George Adamson or have a passion for home made cakes!We took a boats from our campsite on Lake Naivasha along to Elsamere. Unfortunately for us there was a storm building at the time the so it was a rather rough trip along the lake.On arrival at Elsamere you are taken into a...more
Quite unwieldy looking birds but so graceful in flight. Having a wingspan of around 3.60 metres (12 feet) helps them to glide effortlessly through the air. Using the same sort of running on the water technique as the flamingo, beating their wings at the same time gets lift-off for the up-to 15 kg Great White Pelican.more
Although you don't get a lot of time here, it is well, well worth it. Although not really an island, the land is in a crescent shape, seen before mainly in the film "Out of Africa". This isprivate land and as such the film-makers imported the animals here for the needs of the film, and were left when they were finished. Seems a little contrived but...more
One of the tricks of the boatman is to use fish to get the Fish Eagle out of the tree. He holds the fish above his head and then whistles. When the bird is about 100 metres away he then tosses the fish into the water. And there is breakfast for the Eagle..... We did this three times and the birds never miss the fish. Quite a spectacle.My excuses...more
You have to go into the Lake Naivasha Country Club to hire a boat out, although you don't have to to be a member. As you enter the grounds the office is on the left. Cost is $25 per boat that includes the visit to Crescent Island, altogether with the walk you have about 3 hours which made a break between Nakuru and Maasai Mara.Out on the water...more
This is an infrequently visit gem along Kenya's Rift Valley. The highlight is walking through the narrow Ol Njorowa gorge and then through the Hell's Gate gorge through plumes of steam with boiling water from hot springs falling down one side. The gorge opens up into a lush river valley. There is a healthy population of zebra, Thompson's gazelle,...more
The camp authorities arrange for viewing of the movie "Born Free" and also some other programmes about the camp and it founders , George and Joy Adamson.
A small inhouse Museum is also opened around or after dinner time for some late viewing by the guests. One has options to buy a few curious and handicrafts by the camp students and members.
Dinner is served at 7.30 pm and you would be escorted from one of the log houses where you have been put up, by one of the security guards. Similarly after dinner you wuld be escorted back.
The reason for such security is the presence of wild animals which includes Zebras, Hippos and sometimes Giraffes and Rhinos inside the camp.
But it feels wonderful to sit next to the lawn and view the open Lake while listen to sounds of the forest and its inhabitants which starts to grow on you. The ambience is more electrifying than a techno-pub.
At around 1.30 at night, i was able to see Zebras feeding on the grass and bushes inside the camp at a distance of about 6 feet from our door. It was a great experience.
A visit to the Ol-Njorowa gorge is a highlight of any visit to Hell's Gate National Park, but be aware that you need to exercise caution if and when you decide to hike there, particularly in the rainy season.Because it's such a confined space, the gorge is subject to flash floods as a result of heavy rain, during which the water can reach a depth...more
Wherever you go in the southern Rift Valley - from livestock corrals in the middle of nowhere to large commercial farms - the chances are that you'll come across fences made of this intimidatingly spikey shrub, known locally as 'Jerusalem'.It is the ideal sustainable fencing material, as it is so prickly and grows into such dense thickets that not...more
It is not quite clear whether it is compulsory or not to take a guide if you intend to hike Ol-Njorowa Gorge - the signage is ambiguous, and there is certainly considerable pressure exerted by the park staff to do so. As the path is not always clear, I would veer on the side of caution and hire a guide just for safety's sake, but if our experience...more
Do not venture out at night inside Elsamere camp and try to stay indoors, whether it is inside your room or the main dining hall.The reason is quite a few animals stroll inside the camp after sundown and none of them are Pets.A couple of security gurds patrol the camp at Night.Common Animals which are visible include:GiraffeZebrasGazelleHippos and...more
Hells Gate National Park is worth seeing. However, the reason I placed it here is the fact that I chose to do it on a bicycle in the unbearable heat of the day.... SOOOO HOT. The National Park itself isnt that bad, it would be great with a vehicle. The park is situated 14 km after the turnoff from the old Nairobi-Naivasha highway and spans 68.25...more
Every day, lunch was taken on the manicured lawn, under the shade of the huge acacia and pepper trees. I found this incredibly romantic, reminiscent of the colonial era of days gone by. Heavy oak tables were brought out and covered with starched white tablecloths. White-gloved waiters would bring food on silver platters. Every meal was an...more