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Mountain Biking in Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya

Find out what it is like to cycle next to wild animals in Kenya from my recent Mountain Biking in Hell’s Gate National Park.

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Mountain Biking in Hell's Gate National Park

Casting a wary eye across the line-up of assorted bikes on offer, I knew we were in for an interesting morning mountain biking in Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya. And not just for the wildlife we would be cycling past, including the chance to spot some of the “Big 5” from the saddle.

Looking like a second-hand jumble sale at the local school, the mountain bikes for our expedition into the heart of Hell’s Gate National Park ranged from barely working to scrapheap worthy.

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya

Mountain Biking in Hell’s Gate National Park

Not ones to be easily put off we grinded away up the road.

Sticking to the back of the pack as we set off for the 4km ride to the Game Park entrance it quickly became apparent that my initial assessment of the bikes was spot on. As our “Guide” cycled away into the distance I maintained a steady stream of riders who were stopping to fix slipping gears, lost chains and stuck brake pads. Luckily by the entrance our bikes were somewhat sorted and initial nerves settled.

Cruising under the park gates, the crew from my 75 Day tour through Africa with Oasis Overland continued a steady pedal up the slight incline into Hell’s Gate National Park.

Mt Biking Hells Gate National Park, Kenya

Known for its beautiful landscapes (scenes for the Lion King were inspired here) rather than it’s huge array of wildlife, we were initially struck by the beauty of the cliff formations leading us into “Hell”. The limestone cliffs of various shades of red, yellow, white and black have been shaped by Mother Natures hand over thousands of years with glaciers, wind and rain slowly whittling away tiny particles like a wood carver tuning a piece of ebony.

Eroded limestone towers and fingers strike up out of the earth creating perfect climbing routes for adventure seekers looking for rock climbs to conquer.

Biking in Hells Gate National Park

It wasn’t long before we began to spot out first signs of game either.

Impala, warthogs, zebra and even a lone Giraffe strolled between the valley walls as we pedalled on and on. While we had been closer to the animals while exploring Lake Nakuru National Park, cycling alongside herds of game animals is another experience entirely.

Stopping to snap pictures at regular intervals while trying to keep your distance from these wild animals is something I’m not sure I could ever get used to.

Watching a Water Buffalo stare you down from just 50m’s away while sitting on a mountain bike, and knowing that if you had to run then there was no way that you could outpace it if it was annoyed is enough to get the adrenaline pumping. As well as those tired legs rotating a little bit quicker.

Mountain Biking in Hells Gate National Park, Kenya

After 11kms our guide decided to let our butts rest but keep our legs working.

We began a zig-zagging descent into one of the tightly winding canyons. Carved from rivers and thermal activity, these canyons split the earth in two during periods of heavy rain.

Scalding water pours from cracks in the limestone walls causing steam to rise up out of the canyons which gives Hell’s Gate its name.

Canyon in Hells Gate National Park, Kenya

Leaping from stone to stone and scaling the walls like mountain goats we had to resort to various Parkour manoeuvres to make our way deeper into the canyon. While not for the faint-hearted it wasn’t terribly taxing and there were easier routes we could have taken.

Scrambling back out of Hell’s Gate into the blazing Kenya sunshine after the relative cool shade within the canyon just meant that we would soon have to be back in the saddles to ride back past the wild animals. But not before we were rewarded with a stunning view across the length of Hell’s Gate National Park which we hadn’t yet ventured into.

Viewpoint Hells Gate National Park, Kenya

Since it had been a while since I had a bike seat clenched beneath my thighs, the return ride back was tender to say the least. But with tired legs we were able to travel slower across the rutted trails allowing more time to view the animals in their natural surroundings.

Most of which paid us barely any attention at all.

Information for Mountain Biking in Hell’s Gate National Park

Location:

Located 2.5 hours north of Nairobi in Kenya, it is a worthwhile stopping point if you are making your way to Uganda or Rwanda to trek with the Mountain Gorillas.

Cost:

The entrance fee for Hell’s Gate National Park is $20, while Mountain Bike hire costs range from $15 – $25 per person.

Additional Information:

The mountain biking in Hell’s Gate National Park is endless and it is also one of the only Game Parks in the world where you can cycle through. Our ride took 4 hours and included a lunch at a local restaurant with delicious local cuisine.

While our local guide provided bits and pieces of history, information and pointed us in the right direction, we would have appreciated a bit more of a hand with the bikes. Self-guiding is definitely an option.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Sonali

    July 6, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Wow that giraffe has one hell of a tongue! Loving the wildlife post, very inspiring to see such good conservation work going on.

  2. Arti

    July 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Those limestone rocks look so very beautiful! Nature has worked very hard to create the masterpiece!! Love your narration, and yes staring at that wild buffalo must be a scary thing!!

  3. Kristy of Family Visa

    July 8, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    I love the rock formation. It is a stunning view although the name of the place is not pleasing to the ears because of the word “Hell”.

  4. Danni

    July 8, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Absolutely gorgeous! Though, yeah, from that one picture I can kind of get the idea of the level of bikes they had available. But it seems totally worth it, that scenery is incredible!

  5. Dante

    July 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Hey Cole Burmester-

    Your last post Mountain Biking in Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya was freaking awesome. I have gone ahead and added your stuff to my Feedly account. Please keep me updated if you post anywhere else.

    Keep rocking –

    Dante

  6. Ian Faulds

    July 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Sounds like a great way to see the area. I’ll have to put this on my future to do list. Have you biked around any other national parks around the world? If so how did this compare?

    Cheers,

    Ian Faulds

  7. Charli | Wanderlusters

    July 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    We’ve just invested in some mountain bikes to explore the awesome terrain here in New Zealand and annoying the weather has just taken a turn for the worst! Looks like you had an incredible trip despite the prehistoric bike you rode!

  8. Michael

    July 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Awesome! What a great way to explore the wildlife of Africa. Such an up close and personal experience. The scenery just makes it that much better! Totally jealous of your mountain biking adventure.

  9. Hannes Uys

    July 14, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    The views are breathtaking. The area must have had good rains of late.

  10. Shalu

    July 14, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Kenya looks absolutely stunning. Its would have been nice to see all those exotic animals going by as you went along on your bike.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      Such a rare and extraordinary thing to be able to do! Just glad there were no lions haha.

  11. Jarmo

    July 16, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    Great photos and views! Seems like a pretty awesome bike ride 🙂

  12. Carri Uranga

    July 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    I love these Africa posts! I just realized I wasn’t following you on IG or Pinterest, where you have even more amazing photos! Looks like an incredible trip. Checking out Oasis Overland for sure!

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Great news that you are checking our Oasis Overland Carri! Highly recommend them. And thanks for the follows on Instagram and Pinterest!

  13. Peter Shaw - Long Term travel

    July 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Great images and a nice post. I love seeing things by bike, I think its the best way to get to really know and get up close with a place. In Holland (where I am currently), the bike culture is amazing. Best way to see a country I think is on the back of a bike.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      I know! I wish I could explore whole countries by bike but never seem to have the time…

  14. Hell's Gate National Park , Kenya

    July 22, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Am thrilled reading this article about the enthusiasm you guys have about Hell’s Gate and the fun you had when you visited. I love the photos and the sharing of this information across the world. Visit our website and our face book page for more pics and information. Kudos guys.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      Thanks so much and it really is an amazing park. Keep it up 🙂

  15. Marian

    July 23, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    I love the rock formation, The landscape is really beautiful. Great pictures as always…

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Adventure Travel

To Travel Is Divine

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Everyone knows that the world of travel opens up a world of opportunities. Traveling the world allows individuals to dive into new experiences, wonderful authentic, natural foods and cuisines, great bonding with the locals and the traveling party, and a profound sense of appreciation for those that are present in different areas of the world that we live in today. Individuals can travel the world and immerse themselves in their hobbies, passions and times of rest and relaxation with the finest pipes and curated aged alcohol that the world has to offer.

We’ll profile a few great and successful people who traveled the world in this brief guide.

Phil “Shoe Dog” Knight and His Travels

Did you know that Phil Knight traveled the world at an early point in his life? He asked his dad for some money, he reached out to a friend and he hit the road. He stopped off at Hawaii where Phil Knight and his friend parted ways. Phil didn’t simply travel the world for mere pleasure.

He traveled the world in pursuit of completion. He was looking to catch and capitalize on his Stanford paper thesis of bringing home the perfect pair of shoes. Phil Knight was sort of renegade or a unicorn in this regard. Prior to the 1970s, a majority of the citizens of the United States did not step foot on to an aircraft.

Phil broke barriers and went to places such as Berlin, Paris, and Japan. He would meet some key figures in Japan and be able to start the sparks that would help him to build the empire which we all know as Nike. All of this was accomplished through his free-spirit, his sense of wandering and his needing to explore the world around him.

Surprisingly, Phil was exemplifying the simple slogan of “Just Do It” in his younger years.

Ernest Hemingway and his Many Sojourns

The great writer Ernest Hemingway was known to travel.  Ernest Hemingway used to state thing such as “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” As such, he was always pushing himself in many ways to try and improve in his profession.

Ernest Hemingway moved from one place to another, and every time he did, he would replace one wife with another. His experiences were much too profound and his behavior much too peripatetic for that of being one to settle down in just one place.

He started his travels with obligation, he joined the Italian front to the play the role of a healthcare worker. He then came back home, recovered and moved away to Paris, where he would work as a reporter. As a part of his work, he would cover the Spanish Civil war in the capacity of a journalist and would later publish a novel on the matter.

He would then move on and travel to London with a new wife. London treated him well but he couldn’t bear to stay stagnant in one place for too long, he met another significant other and would head over to Africa for a short while. Hemingway finally traveled to Florida and Cuba, before moving back to Idaho.

Make it a Point to Travel

Both of these individuals traveled the world and found ideas and inspiration you can too!

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Adventure Travel

Costa Rica: Your Dream Destination

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There’re countless reasons to pack your bags and head to Costa Rica on your next vacation. The country is a great choice for families, couples, friends, backpackers, and solo travelers. For many years, Costa Rica has been a hot spot destination, and the reasons are quite obvious.

Here’s Why You Should Visit Costa Rica

The People

One of the happiest places on earth is said to be Costa Rica. The people in the country live a relaxed and pure lifestyle commonly referred to as “pura vida.” Costa Ricans are very open and welcoming to visitors. It’s infectious, inspiring, and absolutely heart-warming to visit a country with people who are intent on achieving peace and happiness in life.

Beaches

Costa Rica is endowed with two coasts—to the east, the Caribbean, and to the west, the Pacific. That’s more than 1,500 kilometers of exotic beaches with sand ranging from icing sugar to cappuccino, flanked by rainforests, crashing surf, and palm trees.

The Caribbean coast is popular for its laid-back vibes, unique cuisine, reggae music, and the Rastafari culture. All in all, Costa Rica boasts of the most stunning beaches on the planet.

Turtles

One of the most emotional experiences in this paradise is seeing turtles lay their eggs and watching the hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Different turtle species nest at different times of the year on the Caribbean and Pacific sides of Costa Rica.

With a bit of research and planning, you can ensure your visit corresponds with the nesting time of these beautiful sea creatures. The Tortuguero National Park, which is on the Caribbean coast, is a major nesting site for turtles. The nesting season in the park is from April to October with over 600 turtles laying eggs along the 30-kilometer beach stretch.

Surfing

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Surfers adore Costa Rica: the water is warm all year round, the surf is great on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides, and the breaks and swells are amazing. There are lots of surfing retreats and schools along the coasts. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an excited beginner, Costa Rica has all the waves you need.

Volcanoes

Costa Rica sits on an area with high volcanic activity, to be specific, the Pacific Ring of Fire. Out of 122 volcanoes, the country has 4 active ones. Arenal, the most famous volcano, was active until 2010. Since then, it hasn’t spewed any lava but it constantly smokes which makes for breathtaking views. There are also hot springs around mt. Arenal where tourists can go soak in the hot springs or swim in the warm baths while sipping Pina coladas.

Adventure

Thrill seekers and anyone who craves adventure is in for the time of their lives. The country is famous for its kayaking, cliff diving, skydiving, scuba diving, zip-lining tours, white-water rafting, and other adrenaline-pumping escapades. Rest assured there is something for everyone.

The diversity of the country’s climate and terrain give life to some of the best adventure-filled activities anywhere.

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Adventure Travel

5 Places You Must Visit If You Ever Go To United Kingdom

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If you are visiting the United Kingdom for the first time in your life, and you don’t know what to do. Don’t worry; you have come to the right place. Following we are going to mention a few awe-inspiring places you better visit if you ever set foot on English Soil.

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These are literally the best tourist attractions in the UK.

The Stonehenge

It is 10 miles North of Salisbury on the Salisbury Plan. This is perhaps Europe’s most treasured prehistoric monument. There are around 250 objects that show how megaliths carried out their daily appears. Once you have walked the stones, you better see the replicas of Neolithic Houses with their daily use tools. Well, you can go inside the circle during normal visits, you will need a special book to get to the site. If you are really interested, you can find a deal here.

The Tower of London

A Prison, Palace and Treasure vault, you name it. This menagerie and Observatory has everything. This is the primary reason why The Tower of London is perhaps considered the most important building in all of England. There is enough history to keep you busy for hours. White Tower is the centerpiece which was built around in 1078 by William the Conqueror. It houses exceptional exhibits like Line of Kings and a stunning display of royal armor.

It also houses Crown Jewel exhibits including Yeoman Warder Tours and the Royal Mind. Tourists can also see the daily about of prisoners and where they used to be executed. This historic landmark covers 18 acres of real estate you should explore.

The British Museum

The British museum perhaps has the finest collection of artifacts, more than 13 million artifacts from all over the world including countries like:

  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Roman Empire
  • China
  • Babylonia
  • Assyria
  • And from Various Parts of Europe

Among its vast and impressive collection, the most ancient artifacts are Elgin Marbles of Parthenon from Athens and the Rosetta Stone. If you want to see the best collection of Ancient Egypt Artifacts somewhere outside of Cairo with a fine collection of Roman artifacts, then you must visit The British Museum.

Historic Yorkshire

The Yorkshire stands in the center of York which is surrounded by timbered homes and shops. If you want to see medieval halls and churches, you better visit this. The romantic streets are matched with town walls with more history than a history book.

If you happen to be there, you better visit the National Railway Museum, it’s among the most visited attractions in all of United Kingdom. Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful and historic towns of England, including Durham and Beverley.

Gregorian City

If you can’t spare much time then you better only visit the Bath, a beautiful city has the Roman Baths, built thousands of years ago. The city is also known for its Georgian Townhouses which are located at the Royal Crescent.

More than 500 of the buildings here have significant historical value. The architecture inspired generations to come.

 

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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