Welcome to ol Donyo Lodge
Where the Chyulu Hills stretch out and touch the plains of Kenya’s Amboseli lays a private wilderness for which time has no meaning…
Fully inclusive of a wide range of wildlife viewing and outdoor activities, meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (excluding imported and premium drinks). Park fees and flights from Nairobi and other areas are at an additional cost.
A maximum of 20 guests, sharing, can be accommodated, plus an additional guide’s room as required.
Children from 5 years are welcome. Families with children between the ages of 5 & 15 will be accommodated in the Pool Suites.
Early morning and late afternoon/early evening game drives in a 4×4 open vehicle, guided bushwalks, bush breakfast and dinners, night drives, hiking, horse riding (for all guests, novice to professional), mountain biking, tracking, conservation and community out-reach programmes, wildlife viewing in a open air hide and sleep outs on private “star beds”. Fly camping is available to guests who are staying a while longer. In-room massages can be arranged for a nominal extra .
On the private 275,000-acre Mbirikani Group Ranch in south-eastern Kenya, between Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks and next to Chyulu Hills National Park.
It began with a conversation between friends and has evolved into one of East Africa’s premier wildlife destinations.
When Richard and Tara Bonham got together with Great Plains Conservation’s co-founders Dereck and Beverly Joubert to discuss a partnership proposal for ol Donyo Lodge, talk revolved around the conservation of this incredible, forgotten paradise.
Wedged between Kenyas Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, this is a place of timeless wild beauty presided over by the magnificent summit of Africa’s greatest icon – Mount Kilimanjaro.
The latent spirituality of this vast landscape resonated with everything that Great Plains Conservations stands for and the deal was a foregone conclusion and such the ol Donyo Lodge you see today came into being.
Set on the Mbirikani Group Ranch – 275,000 acres of immaculate, private wild Africa bordering the foothills of the Chyulu Hills National Park – ol Donyo Lodge blends contemporary design with the rich culture and history of the people of this area – the indomitable Maasai.
The group ranch is owned by 4,000 Maasai and is leased from them by Great Plains Conservation. The full lease fee as well as a per person conservancy fee goes directly to this community on the understanding that they will ensure the conservation of the ranch and the wild animals which call it home.
The result is an area rich in wildlife, where some of Africa’s last giant elephant bulls roam freely, where the haunting calls of leopards interrupt the night and where lion are being pulled back from the brink of annihilation.
The lodge itself was rebuilt in 2008 and sits in thick woodland on a gently sloping hillside with views out over the plains to a distant Kilimanjaro. Designed to merge your outdoor and indoor living, a series of unique suites and villas (no two are the same) appears to emerge from the arid landscape on either side of a palatial lounge and dining area. Eight of the ten private cottages have their own swimming pool whilst all enjoy roof terraces where intimate “star beds” can be set up, allowing guests the thrill of sleeping in style under a canopy of endless stars while connecting with their sense of place and self.
ol Donyo Lodge is primarily accessed by scheduled air transfers or private air charters. On arrival at the airfield, the vehicle transfer to the lodge is approximately 30 minutes, allowing time for game viewing.
Safarilink offers scheduled daily flights from Nairobi’s domestic Wilson Airport to ol Donyo Lodge.
The airfield is private and grassed but can handle a wide range of aircraft including but not limited to Pilatus PC-12 and Cessna Caravan.
The airfield coordinates are S 02˚30.126’ and E037˚45.211’
Flying time in a Cessna Caravan from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to ol Donyo Lodge airfield is about an hour.
From the Maasai Mara Game Reserve it is possible to include ol Donyo Lodge into an itinerary with flights via Nairobi. Alternatively a private charter directly from the Maasai Mara to ol Donyo can be arranged.
Flying times depend on the type of aircraft being used and prevailing weather conditions.
ol Donyo Lodge is constructed from natural materials. Even the cement was used sparingly as a light wash over lava rock. Water at the lodge is recycled and each year the recycling programme advances as we develop technologies in this particular system.
Rainwater is captured from each roof, is filtered and ends up at the water holes in front of the lodge, which attract a variety of wildlife in this water-sparse region.
Most of the lodge’s energy comes from the sun and is stored in batteries with energy saving lighting is used throughout the lodge.
Solid waste is separated into plastics, metals and glasses, all of which is then transported to Nairobi, a four-hour drive away, where it is recycled. Bio-digesters convert kitchen waste into clean gas that is used for heating and cooking.