This is the first post of the series “10 photos to fall in love with a place”. I’ll start with the Hell’s Gate, one of the smallest national parks of Kenya. Why did I fall in love with it? Probably because it was one of the first times I was doing a safari. And sure enough, it was the first time I was doing a “game walk”.
But let’s start with the photos, as they will explain much better than my words why you should definitely visit the Hell’s Gate!
A fire danger sign will welcome you as soon as you enter the Hell’s Gate (27’000 KSH). Indeed, temperatures can get really high, with the risk of fires. If you want to be sure, just visit it during the wettest months of the year: April-May and October-November.
You can encounter many animals at the Hell’s Gate. Some are just grazing very close to the signed path. Others are attracted close to the road by water holes where they can fight the thirst. These three giraffes were peaceful sharing a drink with a group of warthogs. After a while, they decided that they received enough attention by us and left to eat some acacia leaves uphill.
The speed limit is 40kph, but trust me, if you are decently fit, walk! In two hours you will arrive at the gorge, after immersing yourself in a wonderful environment. You want to be slow enough to see all the animals and to take photos of them. At the beginning of the road you will encounter the Fischer’s Tower: if you are a climbing fan, it could be a beautiful and unusual spot for some training.
Countless zebras, in couple or in large herds, will accompany you on the walk. Some will be so close that you will also think you could pet them. Unfortunately not. Or probably they just did not like me enough.
Along the main itinerary of the Hell’s Gate, you can encounter many animals. If you have time, try one of the side tracks, as they are less popular, you will have the opportunity to spot more animals: like these antelopes that were trying to hide from my camera in the bush. Sorry guys!
After the “game walk”, it is time to enter the real hell. This gate welcomes you to the gorge, where your walk continues down until you reach a small stream. Here you can rest and use some public toilets, before the hardest (but shortest!) part of the journey begins.
Before descending in the gorge, have a drink on top of it, staring at the magnificent natural rock tower that overlooks the area.
A collection of animal skeletons is at the entrance of the gorge, probably just to remind you that you are entering in the hell. It is a good opportunity to amuse yourself (for children) and to take some stupid photos (grown-up children). Spoiler: that huge hippo’s skeleton stank a lot! So you better be quick in your photos.
You finally reach the bottom of the gorge, after some minutes of climbing down. The water is sulphurous and comes from hot springs on the walls of the gorge. As the crater of Mount Longonot is not far, it is easy to understand the reason for such waters. Enjoy a walk along the stream, between walls created with thousands of years of erosion.
At the end of the gorge, climb back the walls and take a rest at the small Masai market. You can just have a drink or a chat with the ladies who will try to sell you their souvenirs. Or you can actually buy some souvenirs for your friends and family back home. You will make them happy and you will also help the local Masai community. And I have to admit, many necklaces and bracelets are perfect gifts!
Which photo did you like the most? Let me know in the comments please!