Hell's Gate

[ . BACK to TOP . ]


Hell's Gate

***** Location: Kenya
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Earth


Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the smaller national parks of Kenya, and one of the more exciting ones. Unusually, it is accessible by foot, and indeed, the gorge running through the park needs to be walked with stout and reliable footwear!

It is renowned for its rocky cliffs as well as for the volcanic activity in the area, which has led to the geothermal power station in Olkaria since 1981 -- the biggest in Africa and one of the most interesting in the world, at this time when everyone is seeking new sources of energy.

Hell’s Gate is close to Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake in the Rift Valley (surrounded by huge flower farms exporting all over the world). Lake Naivasha is regularly in the news, being a valuable national resource, which must not be spoilt by pollution or global warming.

Text © Isabelle Prondzynski


Photo © Patrick Wafula


Hell's Gate National Park is a tiny park located between Naivasha Lake and Longonot and Suswa volcanoes and it is an ideal venue for a weekend retreat far from the urban life of Nairobi.
The park provides a variety of wildlife, unusual flora and many species of birds and is one of the two only Kenyan parks where climbing, walking and biking are allowed. Covered by ashes from the Longonot eruption which occured 100 years ago, the park is famous for its geothermal station, Lower Gorge and spectacular sceneries (cliffs, volcanoes, gorges, geothermal steam).

Also, the park has very good and well equipped camping sites and there is a large choice of accommodation around Naivasha lake which is popular for watersports, bird and game viewing in private ranches and walks at Crescent Island, Crater Lake and Mt Longonot.


More photos and data on this web site from the Kenya Wildlife Service :


More photos here :

Kenya: the Olkaria geothermal plant
::: Solutions for a stable climate :::

14 Sep 2005

The Olkaria II plant in Kenya’s Rift Valley, inaugurated in March 2004, is the first geothermal power station in Africa. It generates electricity by pumping water down to volcanic hot areas and using the steam that produces to drive turbines.

Funded by the World Bank and the state-owned KenGen electricity company, Olkaria II involved the construction of an integrated steamfield and power plant with a capacity of 70 MW.
Kenya has a potential 2000 MW of geothermal energy in the Rift Valley. This could replace oil-based power plants in the country’s current development plans, according to World Bank country director, Makhtar Diop.

Diop reaffirmed the World Bank’s support for geothermal energy as a clean source of electric power, adding that electric power development was “crucial in reducing poverty”.

KenGen is the leading electric power generation company in Kenya, producing about 80% of the country’s electricity. The company utilises various sources to generate electricity including hydro, geothermal, thermal and wind.

“By developing geothermal energy, Kenya will not only have clean power, but also save on foreign exchange,” according to KenGen managing director Edward Njoroge.

Kenyan diesel power plants use imported fuel oil.

Olkaria project manager, Darryl Judkins, said it was “a huge milestone” for geothermal energy in Africa in general and for Kenya in particular.

“The power station is modern, reliable, well integrated with the National Park in which it sits, and it is earning good revenue,” he said.

Olkaria has also become a tourist attraction in itself, boosting revenue for the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Olkaria I began to be commissioned in 1981, with three 15 MW machines.

... http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/

CLICK for original LINK !



Plans are underway to add a third unit of 35 MW to the 70 MW Olkaria II Geothermal Power Plant. This emanated from the excess steam available in both Olkaria II and Olkaria I geothermal fields. The World Bank has already approved the funding for the project. A consultant will update the numerical simulation study of Olkaria I geothermal field and carry out similar study for the Olkaria II geothermal field.

The results of this study are expected to confirm that there is sufficient steam to sustain production at the anticipated expanded generation capacity of 150 MW for another 30 years.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way


Patrick Wafula writes

The Bamboochas and other Bahati students went on a geographical expedition to Hell's Gate and returned with amazing haiku, experience and photos. Some of our haiku and photos are right here for sharing with you.
Please enjoy!

The Bahati students at Hell’s Gate National Park

car after car
blowing dust into our faces --
the constant clatter of shoes

a dusty road between
two majestic rocky walls --
Hell's Gate

out of the green grass
a baboon waves its frail hand --
flash of a camera

the tall neck
of a giraffe above the trees --
chirping of birds

a monkey carrying a baby
snatches bread from a student --
picnic in Hell's Gate

jubilant students
showering in the hot spring --
hot vapour from the earth

sprained ankles
and aching muscles --
end of expedition

vast expanse
of a flat blue haze --
Lake Naivasha

whirr of boat engine --
giggles of excitement from
girls enjoying boat ride

lazy hippos yawning
and yearning for the night --
hump over the lake

a student burns
her finger in a hot spring --
scouts at work

mountain climbing --
all are bent and on their

~ Text, photos and haiku © Patrick Wafula


over a rocky perch
a gentle waterfall empties its
water down the valley

students admire
beauty and placidity --
sceneries of gorges

Larking by the waterfall
Photo © Patrick Wafula

little gazelle
grazes beside a zebra
as mother keeps guard

at a distance
a rocky perch of the hill
remains standing

~ Raymond Otieno


Hell's gate
coughing and sneezing
the dusty roads

Hell’s Gate indeed!
Photo © Patrick Wafula

a young woman
determinedly climbing
a huge boulder

a herd of zebras
hastily crossing
a dusty path

a male Baboon
charging towards
a screaming girl

troop of Baboons
snathes a bag from
a girl's hand

a giraffe
munching twigs from
tall trees

a brown hippo
dives after the
roar of the motorboat

two warthogs
drinking water from
a dirty pool

Mr. Macharia
half crawling after
the long trek

discreetly dozing --
a student leans on the
dining table

~ Catherine Njeri Maina

Related words

***** Magadi, Lake Magadi in the Rift Valley

***** Rift Valley

Please send your contributions to
Gabi Greve / Isabelle Prondzynski
worldkigo .....

Back to the Worldkigo Index

No comments: