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Sunday, Mountain Biking at Hell's Gate National Park

Lake Naivasha, Kenya
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Grabbed some breakfast at the hotel at 07:00 even though it didn't start until 08:00 on Sundays. Another group was doing the same thing. The important food was ready, boiled eggs and sausages.

I walked out to the main road where there was already a lot of activity. I caught a matatu (minibus) to Hell's Gate National Park. Luckily, in Africa there are always guys hanging around who can help you find things. They showed me the correct matatu to take and I squeezed in. I didn't think there would be as many people out on a Sunday morning but there were. The fee was 100 KES / 1 USD and they had me change buses at the first little town. The 20 km trip only took about 20 minutes despite the frequent stops and the horrible potholed road. They let me out at the turn off to Hell's Gate, 2 km from the entrance.

At the turn-off, I rented a mountain bike for 600 KES / 6 USD and headed off down the dirt road. The entrance fee was 22 USD plus 7 USD for entering with a bike. They do not take cash, only credit cards. There was a small line and there were people who were driving, hiking, and biking. I was afraid that they were going to make me hire a guide but they didn't say anything about it.

I entered the park and took a nice leisurely ride all the way to the Ranger's Post on the other side of the park. There were lots of zebra, impala, gazelle, warthogs right at the entrance and giraffe's farther in. There was also a big bird strutting around. I looked it up later and it was a Kori Bustard. I made a lot of stops to watch the animals and take pictures, especially of the warthogs since I didn't have any good ones of them yet.

Once I got to the paved road at the far end of the park, I decided to take the Buffalo Circuit back. It was a long loop which turned out to be very hilly. It was a grueling uphill slog for the first hour and I had to make several stops to rest. I had to walk the bike up one huge, long hill which was the largest in the area. At one point, there was a large giraffe in the middle of the road and he galloped away in slow motion as soon as I got close.

Once I finally got over the big hill it was downhill all the way back to the Elsa Gate. I rode on out to the main road and turned my bike in. I had a cool drink there and then caught a matatu back to Burch's Resort. The ride back seemed a lot faster even though we made a lot of stops again.


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