Around ninety kilometres northwest of Nairobi, just south of the shores of Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate was established as a National Park in 1984, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Kenyan Grand Canyon’. It is believed that this 15km-long gorge formed when Lake Naivasha overflowed more than 5000 years ago.
Home to two extinct volcanoes, Olkaria and Hobleys, Hell’s Gate still has evidence of its volcanic days, as it is covered in black volcanic glass and steaming geysers. It also has two volcanic plugs, Fischer’s Tower and Central Tower - it is possible to climb Fischer’s Tower, or at least have a go, for as little as $7.
The upper gorge is bound by 120m-high cliffs, but as you walk through the gorge and it narrows and deepens you will pass steam vents and hot springs. These provide the park with a valuable natural resource - geothermal energy. In the 1980s a power station was build to harness this energy and now provides Kenya with 15% of its power.