Lake Naivasha.

Hells gate is a national park near Lake Naivasha, and is known for being able to go on your own small safari by bicycle! Thankfully there are no lions, but there are a few cheetahs and leopards around, as well as some mean buffalo. But to start the Lake Naivasha trip I went out on a nice peaceful small boat trip down part of Lake Naivasha the day before to try and spot some hippos. There are many bird species at the lake and were easier to find than the hippos at first.

birds on lake naivasha in kenya

Many more smaller birds were seen as well as more big ones. Seeing some hippos from a distance we moved forward to look, but they quickly disappeared below the surface. The hippos shelter in shallow waters in the day and feed at night. So for now we settled on seeing more birds and drowned trees on the flooded lake.

birds on lake naivasha in kenya

birds on lake naivasha in kenya

Eventually we discovered some hippos on the surface and moved up close. In a small boat so near a group of big heavy hippos that could easily charge and maybe capsize the boat was a thrill! When they disappear under the water you never know if they are approaching you, so you have to keep the boat moving.

They bobbed their heads above the surface and then sunk beneath the lake. We discovered several such groups, one group being very entertaining, showing their massive teeth and appearing to charge the boat.

hippos on lake naivasha

It was a peaceful small ride out onto Lake Naivasha, and we returned to relax at the guesthouse for the night and prepare our bicycles for tomorrows fun.

Hells Gate National Park.

It’s not often that you get to do a walking safari in the African bush, never-mind a bicycle safari! But that’s what you get at Hells Gate National Park. After an early start and a short bike ride to the entrance we headed on in. With hyenas apparently in abundance and some leopards and cheetahs known to be there, it was an exciting proposition.

cycling hells gate national park in kenya

The scenery was amazing with rocky escarpments and zebras, warthogs and antelope running from us as we cycled along.

cycling hells gate national park in kenya

The riding was easy along a dirt road and the park was not so big, so we finished earlier than what we thought in the wildlife part. No dangerous animals sighted, just the usual friendly ones. It was great fun being exposed on a safari with nothing between you and the animals. Now we came to the hiking part down into some gorges and descend into Hells Gate. Leaving the bikes behind we went down.

hiking hells gate

Following a guide after some debate wether we needed one, it turned out to be a good decision as it could be easy to get lost down in the gorge. With steep walls on each side it was very beautiful, and the guide kept us entertained by telling us how many snakes there were and leopard caves en-route!

hiking hells gate national park

It was hard going at times, having to climb and descend slippery slopes, sometimes quite steep, and the hot sun above adding to the discomfort. But it was a great workout and we were very thankful to have the guide show us the easier way.

hiking gorge in hells gate in kenya

Spending around one and a half hours walking around we climbed to the top of the gorge for a view across.

The guide leaving us, we straddled the bikes once more and cycled hopefully towards a thermal pool to relax. The entire area is volcanic and thermal water was seeping out of cracks when hiking the gorge. Now we were on a mission to a massive geothermal plant on the way out of the park to bathe in its soothing waters.

hiking hells gate

However nothing is easy, and having spent a lot of energy already, we found out that a series of hills would have to be cycled and climbed to get to the thermal pool, and eventually out of the park. The strong sun baking our bodies, it seemed like forever until we finally came to the thermal pool, and we were in for a well deserved treat. Hot soothing volcanic waters eased us as we spent two hours chilling out. It was hard to leave and get back on the bikes, but we had to go before nightfall.

Things were not yet done however as one of the bikes got a flat tyre, and a Dutch couple came to the rescue both riding on the same bike, so we could all leave together. With mostly downhill and the cool evening breeze blowing us, we reached the lake and cycled with huge birds flying overhead, reaching the guesthouse and downing a cold Coca Cola we had been dreaming of to quench the thirst. If ever there was an advert for Coca Cola, that was it! A very good day out at Hells Gate National Park.

cycling hells gate in kenya


hippos on lake naivasha

hiking hell gate national park in kenya


Jonny Duncan is a freelance blogger and photographer. He specialises in budget travel and outdoor adventures with over 20 years of experience. He started blogging in 2013 and has helped many travelers plan their travels since.

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