Notes from a weekend trip to Hell’s Gate, Lake Naivasha, November 2011.
On Saturday we awoke at sunrise and cycled from Fisherman’s Camp to the park, through rolling hills past the enormous, intensive, under-cover, flower farms. It was roughly 12km to the park and we entered through the Ol Karia gate where there lies an expansive network of geothermal wells and pipework, supposedly providing 25% of Kenya’s power. Geysers send rockets of steam into the sky; so dramatic against the misty, chilled air. It’s a spectacular landscape, with acrid smells of sulphur and reservoirs of blue-tinted water.Shortly after, while we cycled, we had a treated to an incredible moment. A giraffe leapt out from the side of the track, right in front of us. It then ran ahead before crossing to the other side of the road.
We eventually came to the Lower Gorge, hopped off our bikes and hired a guide who took us down into the beautiful gorge for two hours. This is the main attraction of the park and you walk between magnificent cliffs, scrambling over rocks, where hot and cold water springs seep through the rocks. Up in the cliffs are small caves where baboons retreat to sleep at night. Our guide excitedly told us that this was the spot Tomb Raider II was filmed.We finished the hike with a short climb to a viewpoint where we could see the Central Tower rising out of the valley.As we cycled out of the park, we passed zebras, bucks and gazelles, and Fischer’s Tower, a 75ft volcanic plug that sticks out like a sore thumb in the landscape. In local Maasai circles, the story goes that the tower formed when a girl disobeyed her family before her wedding – she was turned to stone. A warning that’s surely frightened many young girls.
There was an option to climb it, but feeling tired and hungry, we peddled on, leaving the park through Elsa Gate to cycle back to the camp.
In the afternoon we headed to Crater Lake via a smaller nearby lake where there were thousands of flamingos. We had a pleasant walk through the park, getting a little lost before finding the lake. We saw Colobus monkeys in the trees and various grazing animals. No Rhinos, however being on foot, this was certainly for the best.In the evening we made a campfire and celebrated the remaining hours of Trever’s birthday.