Tag Archives: scenery

Exploring Hells Gate National Park

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As the animals living in Hells Gate National park are all more or less harmless, it is possible to explore the area both by bike and on foot. Rob and I were happy to try a more active way to visit a national park, and we went on a gamedrive by bike followed by a hike in Hells Gate Gorge. The bicycle ride was pretty nice, and we saw a lot of zebras, gazelles, buffalos and warthogs.

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For me the highlight of our visit was definitely the hiking part though. After about 40 minutes on bike we reached the rangers post, where we left the bikes and had a cold drink before heading into the gorge.

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The hike, as it turned out, was a pretty challenging one. We climbed almost as much as we walked and we also had to wade through water. It is safe to say the clothes we wore this day were not usable for the rest of our vacation and I was extremely happy that I brought my good walking shoes.

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The awesome scenery more than made up for the hard climbs and the water though, and our guide Simon was really good at helping us out with the hardest climbs. The gorge was absolutely beautiful, and it was really nice to be out hiking after all those days sitting in a car 🙂

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As we ventured deeper into the gorge we saw some water flowing down from the walls. Simon told us that due to volcanic activity in the area this water is actually really warm, he then went over and took a shower in it, just like that. As we were both really warm and getting a bit tired from all the climbing, this didn’t seem like a half bad idea at the time though,and we decided to give it a go as well 🙂Image

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The water was, indeed, quite warm – more or less the same as you normaly aim for when taking a shower. I really needed to cool down as well, so the shower was very welcome. At this point, we were told, the hike would become harder, with more climbs and more wading through water. The scenery was supposedly even nicer further into the gorge though, and we would get to see the so called hells shower. How could we possibly say no? We kept on climbing and the gorge did, indeed become even more beautiful.

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After a little while we got the the part called hells shower. It was pretty easy to see how they came up with the name – in this part the showering in warm water wasn’t optional anymore.

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We took a different route back to the rangers post, exiting the gorge itself by this viewing point:

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By the time we reached the rangers station again, we were really warm and pretty exhausted. We were running out of water, and we were really not looking forward to riding our bikes for another 40 mins back to the car. It was, as we suspected, pretty tough making it back again, especially on Rob. He was so warm and thirsty that I suspect he actually got dehydrated and as we didn’t have any water left there was no way to help him until we reached the car. When we finally made it back we found some leftover water that Rob drank up and Filip (our guide/driver) stopped and bought us two big bottles of water at the first possibility. I have to say water rarely taste quite as good as it did then! Rob looked a little bit better after we got water in him, but he didn’t completely recover until the next day. Learn from our mistake and bring enough water when hiking in the sun guys, this one could have ended really badly for us. We still really loved this park and it was one of the highlights of our whole trip to Kenya – definitely worth the trip if you’re ever in the area 🙂

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Kamakura

Kamakura is a town about an hour by train from central Tokyo. Kamakura is famous for it’s temples, hiking trails and a huge Budha statue. Rob and I decided to go hiking as well as check out the Budha statue.  We started out with the Gionyama Hiking Course. This hike takes about 30 minutes and connects Myohonji Temple, Yagumo Shrine and the Harakiri Yagura. It actually took us a while to find the hiking trail, and Im still not sure if we had been able to find it on our own – luckily a local guy showed up and followed us to the middle of the trail, wishing us good luck ( I love Japanese people!).  It was still pretty early and the sunlight shining thorough the treetops was really beautiful.

After only about 20 minutes of hiking and a short stop to climb a tree, we made it to a view point. We looked down on Kamakura, the woods and the sea – really beautiful and absolutely worth the slow hike!

After lunch we headed to the huge Budha statue. The size as well as the details was pretty impressive and the buildings around the actual statue were nice as well. We could see several Japanese praying to the Budha.

As we were already close to the Daibutsu Hiking Course, we decided to do this course as well. This was a slightly longer hike and it took us about an hour to reach the view point. The end of the hike was somehow in a neighborhood filled with houses, fences etc blocking the view and we were wondering if the hike was worth it at all. Then we walked past a few more houses and this view met us:

We decided it was definitely worth the hike after all. After we had walked around for a little while looking at some more temples and statues it was getting dark. Luckily we ran into a sign pointing the way to Kamakura JR station along lit roads. We took the train back to Tokyo around 6 in the evening, but somehow it felt a lot later since it got dark early and we had been walking most of the day. Kamakura has a lot of old culture such as statues, shrines and temples – not to mention the beautiful nature. Definitely worth a visit!