A Dusty rough road leads us to Elsa gate, on the Wildside of Naivasha . It’s been on my Kenyan bucket list forever and finally the opportunity was here. With an imagination of Magical rocks, Gorges, a “Welcome to Hell” and awesome photos, I was so excited for this one.
14 Kms off the Nairobi-Naivasha highway turnover, South of Lake Naivasha sits a volcanic park. Hell’s Gate National Park is named after a narrow break in the Cliffs during a volcanic activity. Hells gate has been in the news for a while, you remember those Youths who went missing, and I actually thought the name ‘Hells Gate’ came from that.
Being my first time here I’d spent the previous evening just walking around Naivasha town. Just before I went to sleep, as is custom i checked my camera. But why did it have to be today of all days Lord? Huh!! My camera had crushed and couldn’t respond to anything, I tried charging it, no response, tried turning it on, still no response. I became so angry and couldn’t even sleep that night; I was so stressed up, not just about how my camera had died but how I was going to miss out on epic photos.
I Woke up so early went around Naivasha to look for digital camera shops to repair it and none of that hustle bore fruit.
“You have to go to Nairobi for this one!” Was the response I got.
Woah..! I know that.. (I almost answered back), but I don’t have that time now. There’s no way I was solving this, so I proceeded to the Park anyway. I had already missed out on my Plan for sunrise shots at the park, and wasn’t even sure about my mood for this visit anymore. But Pause…My photos still turned out awesome (Cue..James Bond..)
We arrived at the Park around 9 a.m. and for a moment I forgot my troubles. My phone just had to be a handy “photographer” on this. We paid our entrance fees, (I thought paying for the car was expensive though), got a tour guide (also on the higher side) and started our game drive. There are bicycles for hire so you can also Cycle to the park if you want.
Our first stop was at Fischer’s tower (a volcanic plug) where there is rock climbing. The experience is quite thrilling if you are an adrenaline junkie, Ha! But don’t think about “what if the rocks disintegrate and come down falling on you.” Hahahaha! by the way am the worst person when it comes to motivation, i crush your hope before encouraging you.
They’ve done rock climbing here for years anyway, so you don’t need to worry because it’s pretty safe. I tried it out to let out my camera anger and hmmmm it was worth it.
We walked around for a while to see some wildlife and take photos of the scenery, and then drove off to the Gorge.
We could see the Central tower (another volcanic plug but not safe for rock climbing) from the entrance.
We then took a walk down through a landscape of high cliffs and beautiful gorges. It is quite a long walk that involves some slight rock climbing and you might need a bottle of water, (I regretted I didn’t have one).
This is a perfect place for artists and creatives, the textures, colours and different rock formations are just perfect.
The walk leads you to the “DEVIL’S BEDROOM” (where the devil lives) “TRUE STORY”
Ha-ha! You need to see him. The bedroom is the climax of the walk; rather it’s where the gorge starts. Our walk took like an hour considering all the photo session stops. We then head back from the gorge but divert to see the hot springs, and as usual, being a Thomas I have to do the testing and the water is really really hot.
Did I tell you the part where I slid and almost fell.
Okay! Please don’t laugh.
While on our way back, we had to go down a rock, which wasn’t high by the way. By now I am a professional rock climber I believe, (after I went up rocks without a rope in Baringo and several rock climbing with ropes here) so I grab the rope and start tracing my steps down.
I miss one step, slide and then swinging like a monkey on the rope I swing off to the other end of the rock without rock steps. My heart stopped I swear and I thought “this was it”, “Hell for sure”. The only thing I remember was I didn’t let go off the rope (Our tour guide congratulated me for this) otherwise I’d be speaking with broken ribs or legs right now. So I slide downwards off the rope while trying so hard to find step cracks on the rock. And get down safe but scared to death.
Just so you know am not trying rock-climbing soon “Unless it’s Mount Kenya”.
Huh! But I always forget these self-promises. Thats why i don’t make new year resolutions anymore.
After that scary experience I guess you can now tell, that walk was officially over.
While on our way out we come across these two blacksmiths (father and son), I can’t remember what they were making, but we interacted with them for a while and I took secret photos of them (One thing I’d love to really conquer is my fear to ask strangers if I can take a photo of them), that would actually be a plus for my career. Anyway every Persons livelihood is different and when you travel you get to see how life doesn’t really come on a silver platter.
So we head out on the western side via Olkaria gate, through the Olkaria Power station. I really wished we’d be taken for a Geography trip to Olkaria while in high school, but it never happened. And up to now I didn’t even know Olkaria was in Hells gate until we arrived here. For once, I hadn’t Goggled about Hells gate before my visit. Olkaria is made of 3 Geothermal Power stations that generate power from the area’s hot springs and geysers.
I admire the huge pipes setting and the belching white plumes of geothermal steam from the ground. I ask quite a number of questions, Ha-ha but the only one I remember is why the pipes are constructed with corners and not straight like the oil pipeline.(When you go, ask that too) Ha-ha!
We stop over at Olkaria, and there’s a geothermal hot spring sulphur spa which is perfect for pool lovers. It’s made of hot milky white water which has therapeutic benefits and rich in sulphur which is good for the skin. The cost is just 400 Ksh for citizens. We enjoy the swim for a while then head out back to Naivasha for Late Lunch.
They have camping sites at the park by the way and if you wish to spend your night out in the wild its quite a perfect place. Till next time………………………………….
Have you been to Hells Gate or Olkaria? What was your experience like?
Love and Love.
From me and my small monkey friend.