Hell’s Gate National Park

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The very next day we left the familiarity of the lake and departed for one of Kenya’s most spectacular areas for viewing wildlife: Hell’s Gate National Park. It is the only park in Kenya where you can walk on foot. This put a twist on the “African Safari” experience and allowed me to see Africa on a whole new level…

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On the eve of our adventure to Hell’s Gate I remember constantly looking out my window and thinking the bushes in front of our cabin was a hippo. There is something about African nights that develop fear in us. For it wasn’t that long ago when we were the ones being predated on by lions, hyenas, and other extinct fauna.

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To my surprise Hell’s Gate was located just minutes from camp. When we arrived we were instructed to walk until we saw a very large, distinguishable rock….

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And there it was! This large Kopje or rock outcrop is the most famous rock in Africa.

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It was this real-life landmark that inspired the filmmakers of Disney’s Lion King to create the Pride Rock seen in the movie. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

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Under a closer examination you can actually see a bicycle hanging from one of its ledges. Can you find it?

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Along with cycling, Hell’s Gate is a very popular place for rock climbing. Even though this sounds environmentally friendly, it has had devastating effects on the Birds of Prey that use these cliffs for nesting. It has nearly wiped out all of its resident vulture populations.

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Here I am pictured with Dr. Munir Virani. He is the Africa Programs Director for the Peregrine Fund and served as mentor to me throughout my stay in Africa. It is people like Munir, behind-the-scenes, that made everything possible for me to visit Africa. To check out our interview click this link: http://www.kivitv.com/goodmorninglive/143638796.html

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Hell’s Gate is divided into two parts: The upper and lower gorge. Walking through the upper gorge you really get a sense of how beautiful the park is.

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It was herbivores galore! The park is home to zebra, eland, Thomson’s gazelle, warthogs, and African buffalo.

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This poor zebra had been caught in a poacher’s snare. Even though Hell’s Gate National Park is protected land, it does not make it immune to poachers.

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These critters were quite numerous! Here is a warthog crossing the road just a few feet in front of us.

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This was absolutely fantastic! We were able to capture a herd of giraffe and several other species grazing together. Make sure to check out the complete upper gorge segment here: http://www.kivitv.com/goodmorninglive/141812843.html

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Africa has a strong British influence, so it was no wonder that we stopped to take a break in the middle of the afternoon for tea time. It took quite awhile for me to get used to having a hot beverage during the heat of the day!

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After tea we departed for the lower gorge.

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And what a different contrast it was compared to the upper gorge. The scenery was breathtaking.

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We could not have navigated properly without our guide Joseph.

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He helped us during the strenuous climb.

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It’s no wonder the lower gorge is home to leopards. The fallen trees, vegetation, and caves serve as perfect habitat.

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The natural water features were spectacular.

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The lower gorge’s unique landscape has been the backdrop for several movies including Tomb Raider.

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After a few hours of walking the gorge we came to dead end known as the “Devil’s Bedroom.”

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Ironically enough we found a Brown House Snake near one of the walls in the bedroom.

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Our final climb out of the lower gorge gave us breathtaking views.

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What a fantastic way to end yet another day in Africa. To watch footage of the lower gorge click this link: http://www.kivitv.com/goodmorninglive/142619926.html