Nadia and Meredith Take On Hell’s Gate and the Rift Valley

For my last weekend in Kenya, I decided that I needed to venture out of Nairobi one more time. I enlisted Nadia as my partner in crime and we took off for the Rift Valley with our tour guide, George from Bonfire Adventures. Bonfire Adventures has been a great little tour company for me while I have been here because their prices are good and they will come and pick me up at Hirani, which is extremely helpful as I have relied on cab and my feet in Nairobi. Coincidentally, Nadia and I were the only people to sign up for this tour = Private Tour for the Alberta Girls! George was very helpful accommodating all the little changes we wanted to make in our tour so we could squeeze in a safari in Nakuru. It was a full-on busy weekend but after our relaxing and mellow trip in Diani Beach we were ready for some adventure.

Lake Naivasha

Crazy looking Meredith in front of some Zebras

On Friday, Nadia and I started with a boat tour of Lake Naivasha where we saw hippos and oodles of birds. The sky was blue and full of big fluffy white clouds; a beautiful day for a boat ride on the lake. Perfect for photos! We stopped on Crescent Island, a funny little island where giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and waterbuck were imported in from the Maasai Mara for the filming of “Out of Africa” in 1984. I don’t know why but they left all the animals there but now tourists can visit the island and walk among all the “wild” animals. The zebras are so used to humans gawking at them that they continue to just stand in the field and continue to graze while people saunter around them.

Hungry Hungry Hippo! Photo cred: Nadia Moledina

Afterwards, we were taken by George to a little known flamingo hangout on the other side of the lake. There are 2 different types of Flamingos in Africa, the Greater Flamingo and the Lesser Flamingo. Not many flamingos hang out in Lake Nakuru anymore contrary to popular belief.

Flamingo Mere


Flamingo Nadia

Flamingo City!

Nadia's wound from her fight with an Acacia Tree and her bicycle

Then a rainstorm came. It timed out really nicely; we were just finishing messing around with the flamingos when we ducked into our van to escape the downpour. We drove to our final destination of the day – Hell’s Gate National Park. This is the only National Park in Kenya where visitors can tour the park on bicycles. The area is not heavy with wildlife but the scenery is spectacular! Our bikes definitely weren’t top-notch – Nadia found this out the hard way when she hit a ridge and flew into a bush, but it is definitely the most exciting way to experience a national park.

Gearing up for Hell's Gate


Hell's Gate National Park

Nadia & I with our guide Jackson

At the end of our 7 km bike tour we arrived at the Hell’s Gate Gorge. Visitors are taken by a guide to explore the gorge, rock, and mini-hotsprings. Our guide was full of fun little facts; he told us that scenes of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider were filmed there and showed us the hooks used to swing Angelina Jolie through the air. After a busy day, we went to our hotel, The Sopa Lodge, to enjoy a big buffet dinner and quickly fell into a deep sleep at bedtime.

Nadia having some fun in the Gorge

We woke up feeling refreshed and ready for our Nakuru safari; little did we know that Nakuru had a different plan than the one we had envisioned. After a 2 hour drive from Naivasha, because of traffic, we finally arrived. Previously, neither Nadia nor I have had any problems with our working permits which give us the benefit of the waaaaaaay cheaper resident rates. Tourist rates are exorbitant, usually around 5-7 times the price of a resident.

The manager in the ticket office told us that Nadia’s 3 month pass did not qualify her for resident fees, even though we had no problem in Hell’s Gate the day before. Both of us were feeling stubborn and ended up arguing with 2 different Kenyan Wildlife officials outside of the park gate for the next 30 minutes. We were definitely those tourists that kick up a fuss and the tourists/spectators nearby watch in amazement, and then roll their eyes, wish we would shut up and get out of the way so they can get in the park themselves. We lost our battle with the man in the office, who was behind a big thick plastic window probably for his own safety, because I would have chucked his own calculator at his head. What are the chances that in a country FULL of corruption that all the dudes who follow the “rules” work at Nakuru National Park!?

On the plus side of things, we saw some Rhinos… the entire reason I went there. And we saw a lot of exotic beautiful birds. Nakuru is Bird Paradise.

Rhinos

George making sure Nadia makes it up the mountain

Sunday was dedicated to climbing Mt. Longonot. Nadia and I have been trying to climb this mountain for months. But every weekend we tried, it rained cats and dogs making it impossible to get up. But this time nature agreed to let us give it a go. It was a fun climb, except Nadia’s boots she bought for climbing Kilimanjaro next weekend were giving her grief. Coincidentally, on Sunday it was my working permit that was called into question and Nadia’s was accepted no problem. We had proof of our resident rates from our Hell’s Gate tickets so in the end it worked out ok. Go figure, I still have no idea what the Kenyan rules are to resident rates. Our guide George, a Kenyan citizen, had never been up Mt. Longonot so we insisted that he come with us. We made it and now I can say I accomplished everything I had wanted to see, except for Mt. Kenya.

View of Rift Valley from Mt. Longonot


Mt. Longonot Crater


Nadia & I in front of the Crater

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8 thoughts on “Nadia and Meredith Take On Hell’s Gate and the Rift Valley

  1. Sounds AMAZING! Awesome pictures, I can imagine how it is to see them animals in the wild. I was thrilled when I saw my first moose and black bear out here.
    Great that you had a good time, no one can take that away from you. 🙂

    See you back here next year!
    Merry Christmas
    Silke

  2. Oh Wow! Lucky, lucky you! Bruce says it makes him want to go…The gorge looked awesome, and the animals looked fantastic. Kenya, hmmm??? You’ll have lots to tell when you get home!

    • Hi Holly! I think that you and Bruce would really enjoy Kenya, it is very cultural and the scenery and wildlife are really spectacular. I think the gorge was one of my favourite experiences while I have been here.

    • Hey lady! I return to Canada on Feb 4th; until then I will be hanging out in Belgium drinking wine and eating chocolate. My parents are coming to visit over the New Year and I think we are going to check out a few war memorial sites. When are you back in Edmonton… I am looking forward to catching up with you soon!

  3. I love Naivasha! once I was driving up south lake road near Oserian and guess who decides to cross the road! A heard of Zebra and giraffes. It was amazing to be so close to the animals although I was glad it wasn’t a man eating buffalo and I have heard they are quite many up there.

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