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Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

//Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park
Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park2019-06-29T06:36:18+00:00

Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park, What to See in Hell’s Gate National Park?

Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park, what to See in Hell’s Gate National Park? Wildlife Viewing Safari, Cycling adventure, Scenery Viewing, Kenya wildlife safaris tour, activities in hell’s gate park Kenya, wildlife safaris to hell’s gate park Kenya. Hell’s Gate National Park is located in Kenya which is found in the eastern region of the African continent along geographical co-ordinates of 0o54’57”S 36o18’48”E. Hell’s Gate National Park lies in the western region of Kenya south of Naivasha lake and north west of Nairobi. Hell’s gate national park is bordered by Longonot National Park.

Attractions Hell's Gate National Park

Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Hell’s Gate National Park was created in 1984 spanning over 68.25sqkm. this national park regardless of its small size is spectacular for its breath-taking scenery with towering rock pillars like Fischer’s and Central tower columns. The name for this national park originates from explorers Fischer’s and Thomson in 1883 who came to this place and were amazed by the jaw dropping scenery created by a narrow break in the cliffs which created a tributary of a prehistoric lake that existed down stream millions of years ago that was used by the planet’s earliest inhabitants who habituated in these places. Hell’s Gate National Park is still a place of wonders that some of these you wont even realize when you come here. Underneath this place, lie giant hot springs and geysers hidden away from plain sight and for this reason, hell’s gate is home to Africa’s first geothermal power station to tap into this hidden treasure here.

Hell’s Gate National Park features wild mammals like buffaloes, Burchell’s zebra, coke hartebeest, Thomson’s and grant’s gazelles, giraffes, spotted hyena, black- backed jackal. Bird species in hell’s gate national park include: augur buzzard, common fiscal, ruppell’s vulture, secretary bird, African kestrel, arrow marked babbler, chinspot batis, bearded vulture, eastern imperial eagle, mottled swift, nyanza swift, red winged starling, schalow’s wheatear, verreaux’s eagle, yellow rumped seedeater, white rumped swift.

Hell’s Gate National Park experiences a savannah climate with 2 rain seasons that come in march – may with the longer rains and then October to December with the shorter rains. During this time, Hell’s Gate National Park experiences temperatures ranging from a minimum of 10oC to a maximum of 25oC or 77oF. The dry season comes in the in June- early or late October with temperatures ranging 09oC or 48oF usually in the early morning to a maximum of 22oC or 72oF.

Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Despite of the Park`s small size, in encompasses a variety remarkable attractions that every individual who embraces nature would never wish to miss out while in Kenya.  As soon as you enter the park, an exciting dramatic semi-arid world, with steep, rugged cliffs, open plains and deep concealed gorges unfolds you. Because there are few predators, there are many activities which you can do while in Hell`s Gate National Park including walking, cycling, rock climbing, bird watching or trekking through the gorge between the geysers. Some of the attractions include; wildlife viewing, hot springs, raptor nesting in the cliffs, the Olkaria geothermal station, the Meryyn Carnelley Raptor hide, tourist circuits, nature trails, health spa.

Wildlife Viewing in Hell’s Gate National Park – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Wildlife Viewing:  Hell`s Gate National Park is a small wildlife Safari destination with animal species like buffalos, giraffes, zebras, defassa waterbuck, black backed jackal, impala, spotted hyenas, hartebeests, eland and Thomson`s Gazelle which are common in the Park. Leopards, lions and cheetahs are around the park but can rarely be encountered.

Similarly, Hell`s Gate offers good watching year in yea out. About 130 species of birds have been recorded at Hell`s Gate. The park was once a famous for the endemic lammergeyer vultures but these beautiful vultures are now occasional visitors. However, the Park still inhabits several nesting raptor species including Egyptian and Ruppell`s vultures. The Verreux`s eagle is often on the cliffs looking for rodents. The best time for bird watchers to visit the Hell`s Gate is from November to April when migratory birds from Europe and north Africa are in the Park.

Cape buffalo – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Attractions Hell's Gate National Park

Cape Buffalo Hell’s Gate National Park

The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo and they are a very common sight throughout this park. It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other bigger bovines. Buffaloes have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat. As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm. you can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside.

The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. It has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tail has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in. An adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this. Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna like Murchison falls park. Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-100 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators.

Although buffaloes have a very poor eye sight, this is compensated by possessing an acute sense of smell coupled with a keen sense of hearing, in fact, the buffaloes can stop whatever they are doing and stand still for many minutes or sometimes even hours just to listen even to the tiniest of sounds that may be made by any predator that may be stalking them. when buffaloes are attacked, they male buffaloes form defensive wall by being at the flanks of the herd while the females and calves are within the inner part of the herd.  the male buffaloes can even sometimes turn and chase the attacking predators   They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.

Grants gazelle – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Grants gazelles. the grant gazelle has a beige orange on its back and a white belly, they also have lyre shaped horns that are stout at the base and have clear rings on the horns. These horns have a length of41-81cm or 18-32in. The grant gazelles live in short grassed plains so as to have clear visibility of predators which stalk them for prey. The female grant gazelle weighs 35-50kg or 77-110ib while the male gazelle weighs 50-80kg or 110-180ib with an average standing height of 75-95cm or 30-37in. Unlike most of the subspecies that graze towards or around water sources, the grant gazelles graze going further away from the water sources that are usually roamed by predators. The gazelles have adapted to live without water for long days and they get most of their water from the pasture they graze on. The gazelles are territorial animals and males herd territories with many females mainly for mating.

Mature gazelles will settle conflicts with superiority displays hence physical interactions are quite rare among these animals. Grants gazelles reach sexual maturity at 18 months of age. The male gazelles will test by smelling on the urine of the female to ascertain whether she in oestrus and when the female is ready to mate, it lifts her tail signaling the male to mount her. These animals have a gestation period of 198days after which, a single fawn is usually born. The fawn is usually born while its still very weak and can’t move but it will be able to so in a few days’ time and it will follow the mother to the herd where it starts fraternizing with other fawns. The fawn is weaned after 6 months but might stay with the mother until it reaches adolescence.

Coke’s hartebeest – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

The Jackson hartebeest are very numerous in this park so you won’t finish you game drive without sighting one I guarantee you. The Jackson hartebeest can also be referred to as the African antelope. The Jackson hartebeest has an elongated forehead, short neck and oddly shaped horns which are 45-70cm or 18-28in in length and are slender in females, the Jackson hartebeest coat color ranges from sandy brown to chocolate brown. This animal has a shoulder height of 1.0m or 3.3ft and its body length is 200-250cm or 78-98in weighing between 100-200kg or 220-440Ib. This animal has This animal has a gestation period of 240 days and a life span of 11-20 years.

Masai giraffe – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Attractions Hell's Gate National Park

Maasai Giraffe in Hell’s Gate National Park

Masai giraffe can be distinguished from other giraffe sub species from their star-like stamped patches which are irregular and become darker especially in males as they age. The Masai giraffe is generally brown in colour with several shades of colour which can range from dried oak to orange and cream. The lower parts of their limbs are sticky like or very skinny but the upper parts of these limbs are study so as to support their massive weight. The giraffes have a unique walking pattern where as they have the ability to move both the front and hind limbs of one side of the body at once and then counter balance it by moving their long neck in the opposite direction. The adult male giraffe has an average height of 4.3-5.7m or 14.1-18.7ft and weighs in at 1192kg or 2628ib while an adult female weighs in at 828kg or 1825ib hence showing sexual dimorphism amongst giraffes. The giraffe also has a long tongue that is measured at an average of 45cm or 18in and it has a purplish black color which is believed to protect it from sunburns.

The massai giraffes have the longest tail among all land mammals which measures up to 3.3ft long. Due to their big body mass giraffes also have a massive heart that weighs up to 5ibs so as to pump 60 litres of blood needed to move around the giraffe’s body in just one minute.  Giraffes also have the ability to sleep while standing and even when they lie down, they will put their long neck on their hip. The Masai giraffe are completely herbivores and spend their biggest part of the day about 16-20 hours feeding so as to satisfy their big appetites. The giraffe has a gestation period of 14-15 months and the birth period is between 1-6 hours after which a single calf is born and the mother will give birth while standing hence the calf will have to be ready for a rough landing when it comes out. The calves are born almost ready to walk because it takes a calf between 20 minutes – 1 hour to start walking. Masai giraffes have a life span of up to 25 years in their natural habitat.

Zebras – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

Zebras are black and white striped pattern animals that belong to the equine tribe which they share with their close cousins the horses and donkeys. Each of these zebras has a unique pattern of stripes that is used to identify it alone just like finger prints do in humans. Originally, it was believed that zebras were white animals that had developed black stripes due to presence of white underbellies but this was disproved by further research on the animals as it was revealed that these animals were rather black originally and the white stripes came in later on.

Various theories have been forwarded to explain the occurrence of stripes in these animals and the most common theories state that the stripes are a defensive mechanism that zebras use to elude their predators like lions but this theory has been highly contested as it’s known that the lions eye sight is poor especially during day from long distances hence they highly rely on their hearing and smell senses during daytime zebra hunting missions. The other theory believes that zebras use these stripes to protect itself from horseflies and tsetse flies by creating a blurred vision. Zebras have a shoulder length of 1.2-1.3m or 47-51in and the body length of zebras ranges between 2-2.6m or 6.6-8.5ft. Their average weight is 350kg or 770Ib and they have sexual dimorphism as males are usually larger than females. Zebras have a gestation period of about 13 months with a 20-30year lifespan.

Birds in Hell’s Gate National Park Kenya – Attractions Hell’s Gate National Park

buzzard, common fiscal, ruppell’s vulture, secretary bird, African kestrel, arrow marked babbler, chinspot batis, bearded vulture, eastern imperial eagle, mottled swift, nyanza swift, red winged starling, schalow’s wheatear, verreaux’s eagle, yellow rumped seedeater, white rumped swift.

Common fiscal: This bird has its head and all the upper body parts in black feathers while thee under parts are white. It has a black bill and legs as well as eyes. Its tail is long thin and graduated. This is bird is of a medium size given other birds of its lassification measuring 21-23cm in body length and weighing between 25-58g on average. This bird feeds on a wide spectrum of foods like invertebrates and occasionally eats seeds.

Attractions Hell's Gate National Park

Birds in Kenya

Ruppell’s vulture: The Ruppell’s vulture is closely related to the white backed vulture. The Ruppell’s vulture has a mottled brown or black plumage with a white brown underbelly and thin dirty white fluff covering the head and neck. These birds have the base of their necks with a white collar, the eye is yellow or amber, the crop patch deep brown. It has a featherless head and this adaptation enables them to keep their heads clean while feeding inside the carrions. The Ruppell’s vulture have 85-103cm or 33-41in body length, wingspan of 2.26-2.6m or 7.4-8.5ft and an average weight of 6.4-9kg or 14-20ib. This bird is a high-altitude flyer as it has been recorded at astronomical heights like 6000m or 20000ft and one day in particular confirms this ability when a passenger jet on 29th November 1979 flying over the Ivorian cost air space at an altitude of 11300m or 37000ft had a Ruppell’s vulture get ingested in one of its engines. These birds have big appetites that can’t easily be satisfied hence even after feeding on all the soft meat on a carcass they will continue to eat the hide then followed by the bones feeding until they can hardly fly due to their increased body weights. These birds are monogamous breeders forming lifelong breeding pairs who work together in nest building, looking after the hatchlings.

Chin spot batis: The chin spot batis has a short eye stripe, grey cap, and a white throat. The upperparts are grey with a prominent while the legs and bill are black. The underparts are white with a black breast band in the males, the female has a chestnut breast band and chestnut spot on the throat. This bird has a body length of 12-13cm or 4.7-5.1in. this bird makes a loud plaintive whistle mostly of 2-3 notes. This bird feeds on arthropods like lepidopterans, flies, beetles and termites.

Eastern imperial eagle: This is a large bird of prey in the Aquila genus, this bird has a blackish brown plumage that can sometimes be cream to golden buff colour at the crown hindneck and neck sides. This bird has bold white spots on the shoulder braces. This bird has a tail with narrowly dark barred over a greyish ground colour. This bird’s undertail coverts are sometimes paler, rust to creamy combined with grey tail base. The adult eastern imperial eagle has a body length of 68-90cm or 27-35in with a wingspan of 1.76-2.16m or 5ft9in-7ft1in. these eagles exhibit a reversed sexual dimorphism with females being larger than males. This eagle is vocal as it makes a voice call with a harsh bark “owk owk gok gok” or “kraw-kraw” voice call which is sometimes repeated up to 8-10 times. This is a migratory bird that breeders in European countries like Austria Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania.

Arrow marked babbler: This bird has brownish grey on the upper body parts but the underside is lighter with white tips on the throat, neck and head feathers. It has a bright red iris and a bright yellow or orange inner ring. This bird has black bill and legs. The arrow marked babber has a body length of 22-25cm and weighs between 56-85g. This bird mainly feeds on termites, ants, bush crickets and grasshoppers.

Yellow rumped seedeater: This bird has a white eye stripe a drab brown crown, back, wing coverts and a yellow rump just as its name suggests. Its under parts are majorly white with a grey brown marking. Some of these birds have a yellow throat as well. It has a body length of 1-12cm. it makes a series of short high pitched and unmelodic whistled “see-see chewit” voice call.

Activities in Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya

Hell’s gate national park is famous for activities like cycling, hiking, horseback safaris and camping.

Wildlife Viewing in Hell’s Gate National Park

Wildlife Viewing:  Hell`s Gate National Park is a small wildlife Safari destination with animal species like buffalos, giraffes, zebras, defassa waterbuck, black backed jackal, impala, spotted hyenas, hartebeests, eland and Thomson`s Gazelle which are common in the Park. Leopards, lions and cheetahs are around the park but can rarely be encountered.

Similarly, Hell`s Gate offers good watching year in yea out. About 130 species of birds have been recorded at Hell`s Gate. The park was once a famous for the endemic lammergeyer vultures but these beautiful vultures are now occasional visitors. However, the Park still inhabits several nesting raptor species including Egyptian and Ruppell`s vultures. The Verreux`s eagle is often on the cliffs looking for rodents. The best time for bird watchers to visit the Hell`s Gate is from November to April when migratory birds from Europe and north Africa are in the Park.

Cycling in Hell’s Gate National Park

Cycling in Hell’s Gate National park Kenya

Cycling in Hell’s Gate National park Kenya

Ignore the traffic jams of big city for today and taste the remarkable experience in the beautiful land that will make your whole body re-nourished in the fragrant atmosphere. Cycling in the Hell`s Gate National Park is a do-re-do activity that you will never wish to stop. The fantastic ecosystem in this overwhelming National Park is as gifted as the Promised Land. Touch the rocks protruding from the earth`s surface and feel the lines scoured by water in the gorges to prove that actually the Hell`s Gate is not fictitious but rather reality.

Travel to the Park with good camera, a hat, sunglasses and a good pair of jungle shoes to enjoy a stirring cycling adventure traverse the Park`s snaky trails into the gorges and miles of dirt and rocks. It made easy, Bikes are available for hire at the Park`s main Gate so you may not necessarily come with one. While cycling, you will be able to glimpse wildlife in the Park such as gazelles, giraffes, buffaloes, hartebeests, impalas and small antelopes like kirk`s dik-dik and steenbok. You may also be lucky to see some predators like the elegant Serval. From the Elas Gate to the Hell`s Gate gorge it is 7km dirt road, slightly downhill-returning back may take you longer.  Cycling is however the best alternative to see African animals face to face.

Scenery in Hell’s Gate National park

A wonderful scenery will surround you right away as you reach the Hell`s gate National Park. You will have to appreciate nature while you’re here. The following features will provide you with a great scenic experience.

Fischer Tower: This tower was formed by semi-molten rock forced to a crack, cooling and hardening as it extruded. The Fischer tower is 25 meters (75 ft.) high located near the main entrance of the park. Both the Fischer’s tower and the Central tower were formed the same way, same time. The guide will take you through the folk story of the Maasai people and how they believe that she turned into a stone. To give you just a hint of the Maasai community folktale, the tower is a Maasai girl who was turned into stone after disobeying the family before her wedding. Looking at this tower and the way it was formed, you will also assume your own geological process or you may take the Maasai belief!

Obsidian Caves: These Obsidian caves and their distinctive black glass like obsidian rock are located on the Buffalo Circuit. Obsidian rock was a result of rapid cooling of molten volcanic lava coming into contact with water while being poured into a lake or ocean. This results to the glassy texture of the rock. Iron and magnesium give the obsidian a dark green to black color. Obsidian can contain small air bubbles that are aligned along layers. These bubbles can produce interesting effects such as a golden sheen, known as Sheen Obsidian or a rainbow sheen called Rainbow Obsidian. Small nuggets of obsidian that have been naturally rounded and smoothed by wind and water are called Apache Tears.

Lower Gorge/Ol Njorowa Gorge: The Lower Gorge is the main attraction of the park. Walking in this gorge is a memorable adventure; a 2-hour tour to the beautiful, water eroded walls so narrow that they almost block out the sky, many hot and cold waterfalls, hot water springs, and colorful strata and rock formations. The place is also known for film productions such as the Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, King Solomon’s Mines and Mountains of the Moon which used the gorge as a backdrop for their movies.

The Hell’s is exceptionally beautiful and unique compared to any other area. Presence of vegetation around the hot water is remarkable as these plants are able to survive in very high temperatures.

Accessing Hell’s Gate National Park Kenya

Hell’s Gate National Park, can easily be accessed by both road and air transport

Road transport: Hell’s Gate National Park is located about 100km or 62miles northwest of Nairobi or 18km or 11miles west of Naivasha.

Air transpor: Due to its close proximity to Naivasha. Air transport to hell’s gate national park is via Naivasha airport then a road drive of about 30 minutes to the Elsa gate.

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