Hell's Gate National Park

Hell's Gate National Park is an ideal destination for a day trip or camping spot outside of Nairobi. This park is a World Heritage Site filled with striking landscapes and incredible biodiversity. This is one of the few safari destinations where you can get a break from driving and travel the land on foot or bicycle. Walk freely among the animals in this beautiful African wilderness for an unforgettable experience!

  • Best Time to Go

    June - February

  • Average Safari Cost

    $100-$600 pp/day. Park fee: $26 (adult), $17 (child).

  • Highlights

    Walking without a guide, the Nature Trail, Fischer's Tower, Lower Gorge, Mervyn Carnelly Raptor Hide and the Ol Karia Geothermal Power Station.

Why Visit Hell's Gate National Park

Hell's Gate National Park's main attraction is its striking scenery, as well as being one of the few places you can wander or cycle around the wilderness without a guide. There are many outdoor activities to be enjoyed here, including rock climbing, cycling and hiking. Walk past herds of peaceful antelope grazing the land, see raptors flying to their nests on cliff faces and watch as plumes of smoke rise up into blue skies from the Ol Karia Geothermal Power Station.

The remnants of an ancient volcano, Fischer's Tower, stands rugged and tall and offers an amazing rock climbing experience. Hell's Gate National Park has a diverse landscape, which makes it an ideal destination for many outdoor activities. Visit the natural spa at the Ol Karia Geothermal Power Station and relax in the warm pool while looking out at the beautiful Kenyan scenery. Hide out in the Mervyn Carnelly Raptor Hide and get the unique chance to see beautiful, wild raptors up close. With gorges to explore, nature trails to hike and Fischer's Tower to climb, Hell's Gate National Park offers an incredible and rewarding outdoor safari experience.

Pros and Cons

  • Striking scenery
  • Unguided walks and hikes
  • Less crowded than other parks
  • Affordable accommodation
  • Ideal for a day trip
  • Lacks some of the typical safari wildlife species
  • Limited road network for game drives

Best Time to Go

The best time to visit Hell's Gate National Park is from June to February when there is little to no rain. Wildlife viewing is fairly consistent all year round, but heavy rainfall may disrupt park activities during the wettest months (March to May).

The dry season is from June to October and consists of pleasant, warm days followed by cold nights. Daytime temperatures average between 72-77˚F (22-25˚C). Nights and mornings are quite cold with an average temperature of 48˚F (9˚C). This is the best time for walking, hiking and cycling in the park as there is little rainfall. Animals also tend to gather at water sources during this time so they are easily seen.

The wet season is from November to May and consists of 'short rains' (November - December), a dry period (January - February) and then the 'long rains' (March - May). The days are warm averaging 77˚F (25˚) while nights and mornings are still quite cold so remember to pack warm clothes. March, April and May are the wettest months with frequent afternoon rain showers. The scenery of the park is better during the wet season as the vegetation is more lush and green with flowers. This is also the best time for bird watching as migratory species can be found.

Start your African Adventure

Wildlife and Birds

While Hell's Gate National Park isn't a wildlife destination, the diversity in the park is still impressive and worth seeing! Predators can be found in the park but are very rare, which is why you can explore the land on foot or bicycle. If you're extremely lucky you may spot a cheetah, but you are more likely to see many different types of antelope, including eland, impala, gazelle and hartebeest. Curious hyraxes are also commonly seen sunbathing on warm rocks.
List of Animals

Rare Animals

  • Cheetah, leopard, hyena

Common Animals

  • Giraffe, buffalo, zebra, gazelle, impala

There are over 100 recorded species of bird on Hell's Gate National Park, including many impressive birds of prey. You can find many raptors nesting on the cliffs, especially during the wet months. See secretary birds and ostriches patrol the land, while Verreaux's eagles, African kestrels and Augur buzzards soar through the skies.

Endangered Birds

  • Egyptian vulture, Ruppell's vulture, Bearded vulture

Getting There and Safety


The best way to get to Hell's Gate National Park is to fly to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, from where you can drive to the park.

For the flights to Kenya, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.

If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Kenya.

If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Kenya.


All foreign visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Foreign visitors of most nationalities need to apply for a visa, however, single-entry visas may be obtained upon arriving in the country. Kenya's eVisa website can give you more information on whether you should apply for a visa or not.

For more information on visas see our Kenya Safari - Complete Country Guide.


Several vaccinations are recommended when travelling to Kenya. These include: hepatitis A and B, rabies, meningococcal meningitis, typhoid and yellow fever. It’s better to check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are required.

There is a high-risk for malaria in Kenya so anti-malarial drugs are advised as well as insect repellent and wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs at night.

Check your local travel health authority for more information:

Travel Insurance

Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Kenya. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.

Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.

What to Pack

You will need to pack clothes for both warm and cool weather as it can get quite warm during the day and cold at night. Try to pack neutral, earthy toned clothes and avoid bright colours. Other essential items are a hat, sun screen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, binoculars and camera.

For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.

It is safe to walk unguided in the park, however, it is always advised to follow standard safety precautions when it comes to wildlife. Remember to keep a safe viewing distance when encountering wildlife.
You can enjoy the park on a bicycle, as there are bicycles for hire here.