I must admit, when our guide informed us of our next day's optional excursion, I wasn't the most enthusiastic; cycling through a National Park was not exactly one of my top ten, not even close. I had visions of being trampled by buffalo, stalked by lions, or, given the extreme humidity and day time temperatures, falling prey to one of the thousands of vultures who call Hell's Gate National Park their home. But our guide assured me that it would be fun, and more importantly not too hilly, so I thought why not, I'm usually up for trying just about anything once.
So after a quick breakfast, we left our camp and drove the few kilometres down the road where we met our Hells Gate Kenya guide, were sized and paired up with our bikes, and off we set on our approx. 8-kilometre cycle to the Ranger's post (also the starting point of our trek down into the Gorge).
Our first stop was Fischer's Tower, an ancient volcano (named after Gustav Fischer back in 1883), standing 25 metres tall, now a very popular climbing spot. Our guide explained how, according to Maasai tradition, that the rock is a figure of a petrified Masai girl who was turned to stone after disobeying her family prior to her wedding!
After we had caught our breath (with no willing participants to try their hand at some rock-climbing) we continued our cycle through the park. We eventually arrived at the Ranger's post where we enjoyed some much-needed ice cold refreshments with the view of Central Tower in the distance before we started our descent into the Ol Njorowa Gorge. The first section is a bit tricky to navigate, with slippery rocks and such, so you have to mind your step and take it slowly (also not the best place to be in the wet season due to flash floods...which our guide very kindly told us at the deepest point on our hike!!). On our approximate two hour walk down in the gorge we saw the most amazing scenery whilst zig-zagging through the corridors, including steaming hot water springs, unique rock formations, and even finding some natural pumice stones. I soon realised why it was the choice location for some of the scenes from the movie Tomb Raider.
Exhaustively we started our ascent out of the gorge, hopped back onto our bicycles, and slowly made our way back to the Park entrance. With fresh air in our lungs, sun-kissed skin, we were all quite chuffed we had done it. All in all a fantastic day out, and a highly recommended experience!
Hells Gate Kenya by Nicky Searle on a Kenya Safari.