WELCOME TO OL DONYO LODGE
“I sat on the logs that surround the hide at ol Donyo listening to the elephants rumbling nearby. It was almost a meditation and I thought, wait, maybe we should create a meditation and soundtrack that is like this, rather than that canned music you hear when you are having a Great Plains Lifestyle massage! That is when the elephant touched my leg with his trunk!” Dereck reflects on the origins of some of the Great Plains moments.
Wedged between Kenya’s Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks in the heart of the Chyulu Hills, the lodge, honed from the ancient lava rock that spewed out of Kilimanjaro 360,000 years ago, and creates a timelessness that touches everyone who visits us.
On the Mbirikani Group Ranch – 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 and for other community projects that are designed to strategically lift our people based on wildlife conservation and tourism.” Dereck adds: “When you come to ol Donyo, your tourism dollars are helping us make this into a model of collaborative conservation, and as a result, we are having great success with lions and cheetahs and the icon bull elephants that are some of the last remaining large tuskers in Africa.
The lodge is designed so that each room has its own window ‘to the soul of East Africa: looking out over the plunge pool, over the rolling plains and to Mount Kilimanjaro. All six suites plus 1 two-bedroom family unit have stunning star beds, where you can sleep out under the canopy of stars and listen to the hyenas and lions moving around. This is a camp that most embraces community and our guides will take you to their village, authentic experiences that change your life. We walk, cycle, horse ride, and drive around the conservancy, and then, return to Relais and Chateaux quality meals served by Patrick (Executive Chef) and his team. Relais and Chateaux stands for that excellence in fine dining and wine, (in this case from our hand-picked wine selection and our own cellar) and excellence in service and we are proud to be one of only two Relais properties in Kenya other being our Mara Plains property.)
“I believe that a safari today must be a full and rich experience where there are no apologies for service, that must be excellent, for wildlife viewing, well-designed accommodation with a style we like to think of as a Great Plains style, but also vitally important for that extra magic of being a part of family… our family.” Dereck continues: “Many of our first-time guests feel that ol Donyo is the best “first stop,” on their safari, and we have often had to prize children off the necks of guides because the kids fall in love with them, with the activities in our Young Explorers programs and… just because it feels like home.”