That feeling you get while your bike gains momentum down the slope. That moment when the wind hits your face as you balance your way to freedom. Cycling is fun, but riding on the dirt roads within the Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha is an unforgettable experience.
This was a trip we had postponed for a while to attend to other things. For this time, it was to be on a Saturday but we agreed to push it to Sunday.
We are in the rainy season and we had to plan to be out of the park by late afternoon. In most cases, weather patterns are predictable. When it rains in Naivasha, it often happens from 4pm.
As a cautionary measure, I asked a friend who lives in the town of the rain patterns in the past week. He told me that we could be certain it would pour by 5 pm.
Arrival and Bike Hire
From Nairobi, we boarded NNUS Shuttles to Naivasha town for Ksh. 250 (USD 2.50). Travelling back is often slightly more expensive for Ksh. 300 (USD 3). The journey is about 2 hours but this is after the police stopped our vehicle at least five times. Standard procedure?
We don’t own bicycles, therefore we hired them from the Park. From the Nairobi stage in the town, we walked for about 200 metres to the Oserian/Olkaria stage. This is where we took another matatu to Hell’s Gate National Park. This will cost you about Ksh. 70 (70 cents US).
Once you alight along the Moi South Lake Road at the Hell’s Gate stage, you have two options. You will definitely see numerous bicycles parked just off the road and tended to by the locals. If on foot, they will invite you to hire the bikes at Ksh. 600 (USD 6). The distance from here to the Park’s gate is about 2km. You can take a bike and ride to the Park or use a motocycle, which should not exceed Ksh. 100 (USD 1).
If you have time and energy, just walk to the gate. It will be easier if you have company. The best part about this is you will hire bikes in the park at Ksh. 500 (USD 5). Once you get to the park, you will pay entry fees (Ksh 300 for locals or USD 26 for foreigners).
You will also pay a cycling fee of Ksh. 215 (USD 2), which probably goes towards conservation of the park. After that, you are free to go and mingle in the wild. As long as you maintain the designated roads for cyclists, you should not encounter any problem. Also, remember that the animals have right of way.
Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love
The Hell’s Gate Experience in a Nutshell
I do not have enough words to put in writing. This is something that you should try at least once. On our way we stopped to watch herds of bufallo, zebra, gazelle, warthogs and even baboons. At the entry point to the gorge, we saw monkeys that were keen to share our lunch.
There are several cycling trails in the park and depending on your experience, you can try what you are comfortable with. There is so much more; the gorge and nature walk to the Devil’s kitchen/ bedroom/mouth and the many names that the physical features are named.
In total, we did 16km of cycling, which was an excellent exercise for a weekend. Maybe next time will be much longer, but it does not matter. The views plus riding is an experience that you will appreciate.
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