Hells Gate National Park,
All year daily 6-18.
Adults USD 26, Children USD 17.
Residents: Adults KSH 300, Children KSH 215.
Citizens: Adults KSH 300, Children KSH 215.
|Guided tours:||D=2 h, L=3.8 km, VR=40 m.|
|Address:||Hell’s Gate National Park, P.O. Box 234-20117, Naivasha, Tel: +254-050-50407, Tel: +254-770-070-405, Tel: +254-774-435-934. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1883||place named by Joseph Thomson and Gustav Fischer.|
|1984||Hell’s Gate National Park established.|
|2012||seven members of a church group killed by a flash flood in the gorge.|
|2019||flash flood kills six people.|
Ol Njorowa Gorge is located at Hell's Gate National Park, hence it is also known as Hell's Gate Gorge. The narrow gorge with its exceptional erosional forms gives an insight into the structure of the local rocks. Soft tufa was deposited by volcanic eruptions. The magma was thrown high into the air during the eruption, the droplets began to solidify and fell back to the surface to deposit like sand, but as it was still quite hot, is melted together, enclosing a great number of gas bubbles. The rock is hence porous and rather soft. And it has horizontal layers, which are very well excavated by the river as horizontal bands in the walls.
The gorge has vertical walls typically 6 to 8 m high. The floor is mostly sand or gravel, sometimes clayey. It is easy to visit, as it is normally dry, nevertheless it is strongly recommended to hire a guide for the walk. The main gorge often has a small rivulet, so you should be careful because the wet clay is slippery. The side branch which leads to the Devil's Sitting Room and the Devil's Bedroom is normally dry.
This part of the gorge was a filming location for a scene of Tomb Raider 2 with Angelina Jolie. You probably remember the scene where she walks through labyrinthine rocks in a fog. Also, scenes from Cradle of Life and King Solomon’s Mines were filmed here.
In case of heavy rains there might be flash floods which are very dangerous. At certain points there are emergency exits, knotted ropes where its possible to climb out of the gorge. It's obviously better to avoid such situations by checking the weather forecast before you go. That's another reason for a guided tour, the guides know when the danger is too high and cancel the trip.
Below the meeting point of the two branches, which they call watershed, the gorge widens substantially. But now something weird happens, the river cuts a narrow gorge into the floor of the wider gorge, a gorge in the gorge. The water goes down quite fast in a few waterfalls, the visitors have to climb down on one side into teh narrow inner gorge. The guides call this place by three names, Devil's Mouth, Point of no Return, and Hell. The Devil's Mouth is actually the narrow gorge in the floor of the wide gorge which looks like a mouth. The Point of no Return means that there is no possibility to return the steep walk, and if you climb down you have to go to the end. And Hell is a hint, that this is the most difficult part of the walk. The Devils Bathroom at the foot of the drop are two springs in the cliff, which form two waterfalls, one is cold water the other a thermal spring with hot water. That's quite convenient and many participants take a refreshing shower after sweating through the descent. Finally, a short climb to the surrounding plain with knotted ropes for help is the en of the trip. It's a pleasant 10 minutes walk back to the ranger station.
The major sights of Hell's Gate National Park are African buffalo, zebra, eland, hartebeest, Thomson's gazelle and baboons. Also, Klippspringer antelope and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck. There are over 100 species of birds in the park, including vultures, Verreaux's Eagles, augur buzzard and swifts. The geological sights are the gorges, the rock towers, and of course the geothermal springs. The hot springs were the reason why the park was called Hell's Gate. It is used for the production of electricity in the Olkaria I Power Plant.