This wonderful and recently renovated property offers prime location in 111,000 hectares of private land in the midst of the Chyulu Hills – the youngest volcanic range in Africa. Ol Donyo is sandwiched between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli national parks, which means you get great game but far fewer vehicle numbers. It’s an area of outstanding beauty, with views of snow-capped Kili, and you’ll enjoy a fantastic diversity of activities that includes night drives, horse riding, and walking safaris. Great Plains is an excellent outfit and Ol Donyo can combine brilliantly with sister camp Mara Plains, giving you two different landscapes: one right in the heart of the action, and Ol Donyo’s remote, wild, exclusive safari experience.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Ol Donyo is located in the Mbirikani Group Ranch, a huge expanse of private land leased by Great Plains from the local Maasai in an agreement designed to conserve the wildlife in the area. The Big Five can be seen here, as well as a host of other game, as they follow migratory paths between Tsavo and Amboseli. Perched on the south-western side of the Chyulu Hills, the lodge has amazing views of the savannah below. To get here, you’d fly into the local airstrip on a scheduled light aircraft flight, then it’s a gentle 30-minute drive to the lodge via a winding road up into the woody hillside.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT OL DONYO LODGE:
The main lodge building is a grand affair – a large stone-and-thatch structure in an elevated position, with breathtaking views across sprawling plains as far as Mount Kilimanjaro! The lounge contains lots of comfortable sofas and armchairs around coffee tables, in addition to a library area with further seating and a couple of bookcases. The palette involves mainly earthy tones, complemented by wildlife artwork on the walls. There’s both indoor and outdoor dining with a delightful sun terrace. The swimming pool is located just a few steps down from this deck, with its own seating area, patio furniture, and sunloungers. This is a great spot to relax and enjoy the view. Finally, there is an internet room, with free and unlimited Wi-Fi.
Each guest room at Ol Donyo contains a bedroom with double bed or twin beds, a lounge with fireplace and comfy furniture, a veranda with steps leading up to a rooftop sleeping area featuring four-poster ‘star bed’, and a plunge pool.
There is a family villa, the Sambu Suite, close to the lodge, which is the size of two rooms and offers a larger plunge pool. Furnishings throughout the accommodation are rustic yet elegant in style, with the same palette as the communal areas. All en-suite facilities comprise flush toilets, twin washbasins, and indoor and outdoor showers.
It’s worth mentioning that the viewing hide at Ol Donyo has received a full makeover, including a fridge and a coffee machine. It’s also now possible to overnight near the watering hole, should you choose.
All staff are fully committed to ensuring guests have a superb stay – nothing is too much trouble. Spa treatments are also available if you fancy unwinding with a massage between safari excursions. Food and drink comes full board and guests can decide to eat separately or in the convivial setting of the main dining room. Typically, there is an early breakfast with hot and cold dishes, a light buffet-style lunch of three courses, a lovely afternoon tea, and a three-course dinner.
ACTIVITIES AT OL DONYO LODGE:
If you’re able to drag yourself away from the luxurious lodge, you’ll find an exciting assortment of activities on offer in the surrounding plains and hills. As well as those listed below, other pursuits include tracking, viewing from hides, conservation and community out-reach programmes… there really is a lot to do here! Some activities incur extra charges payable locally, so please chat to one of our consultants if you’d like more information.
Expertly guided game drives- These take place during early morning as well as late afternoon to early evening – this is a great way to see the local wildlife. All Big Five animals roam the region, plus cheetah, Grant’s zebra, Maasai giraffe, eland, reedbuck, bushbuck, bushpig, wildebeest, and many more. The birdlife is impressive too – enthusiastic wildlife photographers might like to consider paying extra to book their very own vehicle and guide, in a package that includes the loan of camera equipment to ensure you get fantastic photos.
Walking and biking safaris- Guided walks are perfect for getting to know all the small things on safari, while if you want to get in among the plain’s grazers and have a little workout, mountain biking is the way to do it!
Horseback safaris- Ol Donyo Lodge is renowned for its horse safaris too – whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider, there is a suitable route for everyone. Advanced riders can even include fly camping in their horse safari and make an adventurous night of it.
Night driving- Head out on a torch-lit drive. It’s always an unforgettable experience, seeing what goes on in the dark of the night! There are many interesting species to spot – porcupines, bush-babies, and aardvarks, for example.
Fly camping- After an afternoon walking safari, camp out and have supper and sleep beneath the stars… an unforgettable experience that brings you right up close to the spirit of Africa.
*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.