The Tragedy at Hell’s Gate

The rigs are headed for one of the geothermal plant at Hell’s Gate, Kenya, which seems not to benefit the man hauling firewood for cooking on the back of his bike. Hell’s Gate National Park borders a Maasai tribal area. For those familiar with The Last Great Ape, Ofir wandered out of the park as an 18 year old and stayed with the Maasai in perhaps the most important experience he had on the path to becoming an activist. Today, the valley through which he walked is an industrial site. The director of the park, when he complained about the incursion of geothermal drilling onto protected land, was removed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Sadly, the geothermal wells could have been drilled diagonally from a distance, allowing both the perpetuation of the park and the development of the power source.

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This is a site from which Maasai were removed. They were relocated into nice brick homes they did not get title to, meaning they will likely be pushed out of those, too.


The new homes, built with funds from the World Bank, are scattered across several hills and are not arranged in the manner of traditional Maasai villages, where all houses form a circle and open onto an inner corral where the livestock sleep.

Maasai House

This is a road within “park” boundaries that Ofir and I came upon while hiking. It was put in for the thermal plants.


Countries from around the world, including the U.S., have financial interests in the geothermal wells. Kenya needs electricity, of course, but the electricity generated by the plants comes with great cultural costs to the people in the area, most of whom do not have electricity in their homes.