WELCOME TO OL DONYO LODGE
“I sat on the logs that surround the hide at ol Donyo Lodge, listening to the elephants rumbling nearby. It was almost a meditation. I thought, wait, maybe we should create a meditation soundtrack like this, rather than that canned music you hear when you have a Great Plains Lifestyle massage! That is when the elephant touched my leg with his trunk!” Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains Conservation, reflects on the origins of some of the moments experienced at ol Donyo Lodge.
ol Donyo Lodge is located on over 111,000 hectares of private land in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, set between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks. The property is honed from the ancient lava rock that spewed out of Kilimanjaro 360,000 years ago, creating a timelessness that touches everyone who visits us.
On the Mbirikani Group Ranch – 111,000 hectares (275,000 acres) of private wild Africa bordering Chyulu Hills National Park and owned by 4,000 Maasai – ol Donyo Lodge blends contemporary design with the rich culture of the Maasai.
“We consider the community our partners, and there are financial benefits beyond the lease fees we pay that go to them, for teachers, for scholars. Other community projects are strategically designed to uplift our communities based on wildlife conservation and tourism.” Dereck adds: “Your tourism dollars, at ol Donyo Lodge, help us make this safari property one as a model of collaborative conservation. As a result, we are having excellent conservation success stories regarding lions, cheetahs and the icon bull elephants that are some of the last remaining large tuskers in Africa.”
Each suite at ol Donyo Lodge offers its own window to the soul of the East African safari. Their views look out over the suite’s plunge pool and across the rolling plains to Mount Kilimanjaro. All six suites plus a two-bedroom family suite have stunning star beds, where you can sleep out under the canopy of stars and listen to the hyenas and lions moving around. ol Donyo Lodge embraces its community heritage, and our guides can take you to a nearby village, offering authentic experiences that will change your life. We walk, cycle, horse ride, drive around the conservancy, later returning to Relais and Châteaux quality meals served by our Executive Chef and his team.
Relais and Châteaux stand for that excellence in fine dining, wine (in this case, from our hand-picked wine selection and our private cellar) and service excellence. We are proud to be one of only three Relais properties in Kenya, the others being our Mara Plains Camp and Mara Nyika Camp.
“I believe that a safari today must be a full and rich experience where there are no apologies for excellent service. Life-changing wildlife viewing and well-designed accommodation with a style are imperative. We like to think of all this as the ‘Great Plains Conservation style’. But it is also vitally important, for that extra bit of magic, that you are welcomed as part of a family. Our family.” Dereck continues: “Many of our first-time guests feel that ol Donyo Lodge is the best “first stop” on their safari. We have often had to pry children off the necks of guides because they fall in love with them, with the activities in our Young Explorers programs and just because it feels like home.”