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Hells Gate National Park gorges re-opened to the public

Date Published: 16 Jun, 2012
Hells Gate National Park gorges re-opened to the public

KWS director Julius Kipng'etich flags off elite participants of the 'To Hells Gate on a Wheelbarrow' event at Hells Gate National Park.

Picturesque gorges at the Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha were today re-opened to the public after they were closed for two months after the deaths of youths in flash floods.

Kenya Wildlife Service Director Julius Kipng’etich announced this during the fourth edition of the To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow race.

He assured the public that the necessary safety measures had been put in place at the gorges following the subsiding of rains and visitors are now free to access the area.

The gorges were temporarily closed in April following the deaths of seven youths caused by sudden flash floods in the area. 

During the wheelbarrow race, a total of Sh.18.8 million was raised towards the construction of an education centre. Sh.6.8 million was raised in cash while another Sh12 million was raised in kind towards the event. The platinum sponsors, KenGen donated Sh.3 million.

The Italian Ambassador HE Paola Imperiale attended the event and called on Kenyans to maintain peace during the coming General Elections to attract tourists from Italy.

Proceeds from the event will go towards the construction of a fully equipped Conservation Education Centre at the Hell’s Gate National Park. The facility will play a key role in the mobilisation and sensitisation of over one million inhabitants of local communities in Naivasha on the importance of protecting and conserving wildlife species, as well as educating them on alternative wildlife enterprise for their economic benefit.

Mr Kipng’etich said that next year’s event will be transformed into a fully fledged tourism product for the country. 

“We will ensure that the event will be branded together with other stakeholders such as the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and Brand Kenya to make it a unique Kenyan event capable of attracting thousands of participants and spectators.

The overall winners at this year’s in the male category were Cosmas Muemki and Alphonse Mbithi. In the women’s category, Susan Washuka and Pauline Regga scooped the top prize. The winners in both categories were sponsored by Maridadi flowers. Both sets received cash prizes of Sh.25, 000 each.

KenGen for the second year running won the overall Best Corporate Team in both the men and women categories.

Other prizes went to Crayfish Camp for winning the Best Wheelbarrow trophy. Jeff Omondi and Tommy Okoth from Muure Primary won the Kids Team Challenge. 

To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow is a fun-filled corporate team building; sporting and adventure getaway event organized by KWS in collaboration with Hell’s Gate National Park stakeholders to raise funds for conservation of Kenya’s endangered wildlife in the Naivasha ecosystem.

The event plays a major role in conservation efforts by ensuring community engagement to raise awareness on issues of poaching, land encroachment and fencing which affect the movement of wildlife in these areas hence affecting our wildlife conservation efforts. 

The Hell’s Gate conservation area is home to over 67,000 wild animals; however, less than five percent of these animals are permanently based in the protected area.  The resultant effect has been an increase in illegal game meat trade, human encroachment and loss of wildlife habitat, conflict in land use, land sub division and fencing, leading to increased human-wildlife conflict.

To address most of the issues, KWS works with the surrounding communities whose land is vital for the survival of wildlife.

The event provided participants with a chance to enjoy an exciting camping experience as well as entertainment in the form of a live Afro Fusion Concert in the park.

The sponsors of this year’s event included KenGen, who were the platinum sponsors, Royal Media Services, the main media partners, Kenya Tourist Board, Oserian, Uchumi, Tuskys, Enashipai and Kenya Power.

The park is famous for its hot natural geysers, spectacular volcanic scenery from towering cliffs that give one an awesome view of the Rift Valley, huge rock towers, volcanic gorges, belching plumes of geothermal steam and the Ol Karia geothermal power station, bird and game viewing amongst other magnificent geographical wonders. Hell’s Gate National Park is one of a few parks in Kenya where walking and cycling is allowed.

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