Wednesday, September 21, 2011

To Hell And Back

I've been to hell, made it back in one piece and loved every single minute of it. Hell's Gate National Park that is. It was named Hell's Gate by the German explorers Fisher and Thomson in 1883, after a narrow break in the rugged cliffs, which was once a tributary of a prehistoric lake within the Rift Valley. However, according to my guide Brian, Hell's Gate is a translation from a local name Menangai, which mean burial site or grave.

What is impressive of this place, aside from game watching, is the panoramically towering and rugged red cliffs in the vast savannah landscape. Due to the volcanic activity of the area, there are hot springs and geysers in the park. The best bit, you get to roam free, on foot or on bike, along with the animals in the park, with the possibility of close encounters with lions, leopards, cheetahs, elands, zebras, giraffes, baboons and more than 100 species of birds.

Entering the park with the red cliffs flanking on the side.

The Devil's Nose, rock climbing allowed here.

The sheer rugged cliffs with a lovely hues of red, brown, orange and yellow.

Lone tree in the vast expense of the open savannah.

The massive awe-inspiring cliffs

Fisher Tower, a volcanic plug, a landmark within the park.

Hiking down the to the Hell's Gate gorge.

At the bottom of the gorge.

The art work of the wind and heat and water over millions of years.

One of the numerous hot springs in the park, collectively named Hell's Shower.

Silently strolling at the bottom of the gorge, slightly eerie but calming too.

The trickling hot springs sculpts the gorge walls into funny shapes and colors them in wonderfully splashes of hues.

The colorfully layered earth exposed by the elements.
Riverbanks of white, black and yellow, with bursts of lush green vegetation.

The river flows so quietly and patiently.

The mother of all geysers here in the park, collectively name Hell's Kitchen. (Gordon Ramsay was nowhere in sight.)

The vast open space of the gorge valley.

The amazingly colorful riverbanks, love it.

The picturesque spectacle of the gorge and cliffs.

Hiking back up from the gorge.

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