Hell’s Gate National Park

Other than my fearless trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro to mark the end of my volunteer time, there was only one touristy thing I wanted to do this time in Kenya – Hell’s Gate National Park. How fun to be able to experience the trekking safari with Yes We Kenya newbie, Tami!

Tami and I set out from Naivasha via matatu (a good first matatu experience for Tami, 23 people stuffed into a 14 passenger van) and after making the 2 km walk from the road to the gate were the first people to enter the park. For about 30 minutes we were all alone with the animals which was wonderful until we spotted a large herd of buffalo right next to the road. Tami had been afraid to see lions, but I’m much more afraid of buffalo since they attack with little warning and for no reason at all. Tessa and I had a close call with a buffalo in Lake Nakuru a couple of years ago and I didn’t wish to relive the experience. So Tami and I waited by Fisher’s Tower for other people to arrive and go past the buffalo, feeling a tiny bit guilty for sacrificing other tourists. Luckily the buffalo didn’t react to the bikers or hikers, and we confirmed with the ranger that Hell’s Gate buffalo are somewhat tame and used to people going by. Feeling reassured, Tami and I continued the 8 km trek to the gorge, filling the time with a Disney sing-a-long. I really don’t know why…

Tami and Hampton hiking through the gorge.

The gorge was amazing! We opted for the 1 hour trek, but ended up getting the 2 hour one with our Maasai guide, Hampton. Each time we reached what seemed like a rock blockage Tami and I looked at one another knowingly and then watched carefully as Hampton showed us how to get over. Of course, we had to come back down most of them, too. Needless to say our “hard core” weekend was certainly that!

We were able to secure a ride back to Nairobi with John from VICDA but didn’t have enough time to get back to the gate on foot and then to Naivasha. So, in true African tourist fashion, Tami and I hitched a ride with a nice Canadian couple to the road and then caught a matatu back to Naivasha, leaving about an hour for a nice lunch before the ride back to Nairobi. All in all a great time and well worth the wait!

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