Hells Gate and Mt Longonot National Parks Get Major Face-Lift
Date Published: 22 Sep, 2009
Forestry and Wildlife Minister Hon Dr Noah Wekesa EGH MP will on Friday September 25, 2009 preside over the branding Hell’s Gate and Mt Longonot national parks in Naivasha.
The branding of the two parks 100 km north west of Nairobi marks the 16th such event since 2005 when the Kenya Wildlife Service started the high profile marketing blitz aimed at promoting national parks as a world-class tourist destinations and an important areas of conservation. This is in line with Vision 2030 development blueprint that seeks to make tourism a leading sector, making it among the best tourist destination in the world offering a high-end, diverse, exclusive and distinctive visitor experience.
The complete makeover of the Hells Gate and Mt Longonot park, includes not only the rehabilitation of infrastructure but also a comprehensive community outreach programme. The refurbishment of the park facilities was extended to the construction of administration block at Ereri Primary School, the rehabilitation of Narasha Cattle Dip in order to improve livelihoods of the surrounding pastoralist community as well as the purchase of 60 pieces of beehives communities in the dispersal area to provide alternative livelihoods to communities and to curb bush meat and promote tolerance to problem animals. The Narasha – Suswa road has also been repaired in collaboration with Narok County Council to serve as a new tourist circuit to Maasai Mara game reserve. This will surely enable visitors from Nakuru, Aberdare and Naivasha access the Maasai Mara within a short time.
KWS has been branding its national parks and reserves to improve service delivery, increase park visitation as well as provide a unique identity for each protected area. Other branded parks include Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, Tsavo East and West, Meru, Nairobi, Kakamega Forest. Other are Saiwa Swamp, Mt Elgon in Trans Nzoia, Ruma in Homa Bay and Ol Donyo Sabuk in Thika. The current phase of the branding includes Impala Sanctuary in Kisumu, Ndere Island in Lake Victoria and Mt Kenya.
The Hells Gate national park management has started a number of initiatives to improve visitor experience. For instance, in December a festive season bus shuttle service targeting local tourists was launched at the park. The package by Kenya Wildlife Service to the ideal getaway 68 km square-park includes a 37-seater bus to ferry visitors from Naivasha town (between Naivash Supermarket and the council offices) to the park on weekends and public holidays. The first trip begins from 8 am to 2 pm while the second runs from 3 pm to 7 pm.
The charges of Sh400 for adults and Sh250 for minors include transport and park entry fees for a three-hour trip. However, for residents and non-residents (foreigners), pay a constant bus fare of Sh300 and separately pay the normal park entry fee applicable to them.
In June, a fun-cum-fundraising named To Hell on a Wheelbarrow on a tricky 5km circuit through the Park raised Sh2.8 million to support community projects.
However, the park has no self-catering accommodation but there is a variety in Naivasha town and on Moi South Lake Road, near the park.
One of the park’s key attractions includes the 25-metre jagged volcanic plug named after a German explorer Gustav Fischer. The rock offers excellent climbing tool and is home to a colony of rock hyrax, one of the closest relatives of the elephant.
The park also boasts of an incredible 103 different species. Its massive cliffs also provide a home to thousands of swift as well as a unique breeding ground for vulture, augur buzzard, the elusive Verreaux’s eagle and the rare Lammergeyer vulture.
Tourism Activities and Visitor’s Experience
Parks’ Major Attractions