So here we were. At Olkaria Geothermal Spa. In the middle of Hell’s Gate National Park. With our cars keys locked in the car. The reality was sinking in that we had to think fast before darkness set it.
Kenyans are such a friendly lot though. A couple of young guys who’d come to visit the spa via Safari Africa Adventures saw our dilemma and offered to help. From using crooked hangers lent to us by the spa askaris, to crawling underneath the car to pry open the car bonnet, we tried everything! Spanners were being sourced from nearby drivers and all sorts of tools to get us access to the car. Nothing worked! 🙁 It was getting dark and we’d been informed about wild animals coming into the spa compound at night. We had two stark choices, to stay behind and keep trying or to leave for Nairobi and come back the next day.
Fortunately and really from the generosity of this kind driver and his passengers, they made room for us in their van and let us ride with them all the way to Nairobi! Lesson learnt, with travel, expect anything 🙂 Despite the situation and shock at the turn of events, we still drove through the park, which was our goal after all. I was lost in the beauty of the towering cliffs, vast plains and gorges with the sunset painting it all in gold. Rock extrusions and gorges characterize Hell’s Gate National Park. Additionally, you’ll spot giraffes, baboons and buffaloes. Better still you can hike and bike amongst them! 🙂
We used the Mai Mahiu route to Nairobi and reached late in the evening. Thanks again Safari Africa Adventures!
Early the next morning we set out again with spare keys in hand to Naivasha town 😀 Almost checking and double checking accompanied by our friend Wycliffe.
Once you’re in Naivasha, you can get to the KWS gate by taking a matatu to Oserian, with the fare ranging between Ksh. 80-100. You can also grab a bite at Mother’s Kitchen (located opposite Naivas Supermarket), a favourite with people throughout the week in the town.
We reached Olkaria Geothermal Spa late afternoon and found the car in great condition. You should have seen the anticipation on our faces. All this hustle for just this spare key. And with one click, we got access to the car once again. Thank God! Lesson learnt. Check your car keys people before closing the doors because one little action can turn your trip into major distress!
We were finally back on course to explore the park. If you’re driving from Olkaria Geothermal Spa, you’ll get to see some of the power grids & stations set in place. All the fencing, power grids and piped steam gives off that industrial charm, with machinery churning and pipes running along the road.
For a minute there you’ll forget you’re in the park until just round the bend your eyes are arrested with the view of plains and gorges.
Hell’s Gate National Park is surrounded by sky high cliffs, gorgeous landscapes, stunning extrusions of rock (e.g. Central Tower & Fischer’s Tower), punctuated with clouds of smoke from some of the Ken-Gen plants.
While we didn’t get a chance to visit the famous Ol Njorowa Gorge ( we hope to soon visit on our next camping trip ? ) We did get a picture from afar, and for those of us who love Lion King here’s the place that inspired the highly acclaimed classic ?
As you drive through the park, the road transitions into murram. On both sides of the road are jagged rough steep rock faces, met by a peaceful valley with animals grazing below.
This park is home to buffaloes, baboons, elands, giraffes hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and zebras among others.
The great thing about this park is that it’s close to Nairobi. Activities include swimming at the Olkaria Geothermal Spa that we covered here, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.
This wondrous place will have you awestruck. Visit and I guarantee you’ll be blown away.
Have a look at our gallery here for more enchanting views.
See you on our next adventure! ?