One of the lesser visited of Kenya's parks, Hell's Gate National Park is small (just 27 square miles) and primarily savannah (grassland). It was named for a narrow break in the sheer red cliffs (the outlet for a prehistoric lake in the Rift Valley) by Scottish explorer and geologist Joseph Thomson (Thomson's Gazelle is named for him).
One of the few parks were walking and hiking is encouraged, it's known for its nature trails as well as its herds of buffalo, zebra, giraffe, eland, hartebeest and two species of antelope: klipspringer ("rock jumper") and Chanler's mountain reedbuck. Bird watchers can spot vultures, Verreaux's Eagles (Aquila verreauxii), Augur Buzzards (Buteo augur) and swifts.
Rock climbers will be tempted to tackle Fischer's Tower, an 82-foot pillar of basalt rock located at the entrance to the Hell's Gate gorge (named for German explorer Gustav Adolf Fischer).
The Mervyn Carnelley Raptor Hide has a one-way window allowing visitors to view and photograph the raptors (birds of prey) of the Park at close range.
Also located in the park are two geothermal power plants, Olkaria I and Olkaria II (two of Kenya's largest), which draw from underground hot springs.
Hell's Gate National Park, south of Lake Naivasha, is about a 90 km drive northwest from Nairobi. It's also served by flights to the Naivasha air strip.
Admission is US $25 for adults and US $15 for children. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.