Monday, September 24, 2018

Hails Gate National Park at Naivasha - A National Park with a Difference - Kenya Trip

As mentioned earlier, some animals do come to the campus and around the boundary of Simba Lodge in the morning. Here are some of the photos of such animals.

Giraffe Grazing outside the fence

Water Buck enjoying his time in Simba Lodge Lawn
Now coming to the description of the day:-

Our plan for the day 3 was to pack up, check out and start the journey for Masai Mara but not directly. After leaving the Lodge, we were to visit Hell’s Gate National forest and the Gorge deep inside this forest. After this visit, we were to travel to Masai Mara where we were booked at Mara Sopa Lodge.

Hell's Gate, First Glimpse 

Hell’s Gate National Park is unique. It is almost in the Naivasha town is the first thing. Second important thing is, one can hire cycles and travel inside the park. If a cycle is not your mode of choice, one still has two more modes, Just walk your way (It is generally called 11 No Bus in India and "Footsubishi" in Kenya) or travel in your Safari Vehicle.

Cycling to The Gorge, Our Safari Vehicle is Ahead of the Cycle
Are you worried, walking down or cycling down in an African forest? What about predators? Good question but dear readers, surprisingly, there are no predators in Hell’s Gate National Park (or for that matter Crescent Island in Lake Naivasha). Unbelievable but true.

Cycles are available on the main road and Hell’s gate road junction as also at “Hell’s gate” entrance gate. The trip to “Ol Njorowa” Gorge is about 9 km from the main gate and it is mostly on plains or downhill. It also means most of the return trip is uphill. 

But not to worry. You have an option of leaving the bicycle(s) at the Gorge and do your return journey in the safari vehicle (if one has it). If you do not have a backup vehicle, then there is no alternative but to cycle back to the Main gate. I and my daughter took cycles, rode up to the Gorge and decided to leave the cycles there and come back with others in our safari vehicle.

Hell’s Gate has all the animals (except Big Five of Africa) like Giraffes. Zebras, Gazelles, Impalas, etc. It is fun to be walking or cycling almost alongside these beautiful creatures. 

Zebras Routinely Cross the Road Ahead or behind you

The landscape is mountainous with few grasslands spread between mountains. There are few rock formations on the way and the ride is very enjoyable. Though the real fun and the thrill is to get inside the gorge and to see the geographical formations of the rocks in the gorge as also the natural hot water geysers.

Rock Formations (This and hew photod below)

Cute Zebras

Lone Sentinel 

Majestic Giraffe 

See Two Sides of the Same road, this and the next photo

The guided trip (I don’t think an unguided trip is allowed) to and inside Gorge is based on time and so are the guide charges. We took a one-hour trip (the least that could be taken). Going inside the Gorge was a tough challenge for some in the group having issues of the back pain, etc. going down and coming up was tough as also getting into the gorge wherein in few places one had to walk on ledges.

Entry to Hell's Gate Gorge

Animal Skulls

Start Point

First Glimpse of Gorge

Tough Get Going

Bird's Eye View

James Providing Assistance

Rock Formations, Bottom Soft Stone, Middle Lime Stone and top Sand Stone

Walking on the Ladge

Finally Reached the Bottom
 All these efforts were worth as the bottom of the gorge was beautiful. The geysers were small but the water stream of some of them was extremely hot. It is worth noting that these places inside the gorge have attracted filmmakers and some movies have been shot here.


The Beauty called Devils Bed Room

The rock where Simba sits in the Movie  Lion King
Our guide, James, a Masai Tribal, was very good and very energetic person who made sure that each one of reached the bottom and could enjoy the trip.

After finishing the Hell’s Gate trip, we started off for Masai Mara which is a distance of about 240 km. The road was reasonably ok till few kilometres beyond Narok town and became very good for few kilometres before becoming only metalled road (No Tar) and in the final stretch of few kilometres when it passed through Masia villages, it was just as good as a dirt track. However, once we reached closure to the Lodge, we had just a kilometre of ok road.

After check in and some rest, we returned to the dining area for dinner and then sat in their Bar cum recreation area to witness a performance of Masia (male) dance.

It was a time to sleep after this show.

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