hell’s gate

there’s a park west of nairobi, on the southern shore of lake naivasha, that boasts unguided walking and bicycling through herds of zebra and giraffe, backed by rock outcroppings, steep canyons, and thermal hot springs.  hell’s gate national park, a magnet for backpackers and those looking to get out of the safari vehicle for a little exercise (and hollywood- apparently tombraider was filmed here).

so i rented a bike and pedaled myself through the zebras (i chased one down the road actually) eight kilometers to the main canyon.  there i left the bike, turned down the offer of a guide dressed in masai costume (who i later saw in shirt and slacks smoking a cigarette on the ranger’s station bench) and hoofed it into the canyon.  i followed footprints through the muddy streambed, climbed over slick rocks to where steamy waterfalls left turquoise stains on the cliff-face.  at the biggest waterfall i got stuck, not knowing how to pass without getting scalded, figured i’d reached the end and started to backtrack.  after a few minutes, i ran into a kenyan couple with a guide.  the guide emphatically assured me that the steam shower was passable and practically dragged me with him to show me the way.

‘see i show you.  right hand here!  left foot here!’  hands in the not-actually-scalding water, feet on the rocks on the other side of the narrow canyon, bodies nearly horizontal, we shuffled our way through the waterfall.  ‘hot shower! hot shower!’  we jumped through to the streambed, drenched and laughing.

incidently, i got drenched again on the 8km ride back when the sky opened and there wasn’t a tree in sight for shelter.  ah well.

open road (kinda looks like utah, doesn’t it?) canyon with hot springs view from lookout above the canyon

~ by aliciawolcott on November 26, 2007.

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