Ol Donyo Lodge
Chyulu Hills, Southern Kenya, Kenya
At a Glance
Sleep out under the stars in one of the rooftop 'star-beds'
Hide yourself away in the open air log hide and watch as the wildlife comes to the waterhole to drink
Spend an afternoon playing 'hide and seek' with the resident bloodhound
Head out on horseback to fully appreciate the stunning scenery and wildlife all around you
Daily game drives from the lodge with surprise sundowners and afternoon tea in the bush
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The only time to avoid Kenya is during the long rainy season in April and May. November is considered the short rainy season, however, these are less predictable and are much lighter.
Call us on to start planning your vacation to Ol Donyo Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Maasai Mara and Southern Kenya
Ol Donyo Lodge is nestled in the untouched foothills of the rolling Chyulu Hills in the south-east of Kenya. This secluded and exclusive safari lodge has ten luxurious suites all enjoying majestic views of Mount Kilimanjaro and superb riding safaris.
Ol Donyo Lodge, situated between Tsavo and Amboseli, has exclusive access to a quarter of a million acres of one of the few remaining corners of wild Africa, the Mbirikani Group Ranch. This untouched wilderness where Maasai herdsmen live in total harmony with nature is awe-inspiring.
The main area is set high on the hillside, and opens out onto the plains below, with Mount Kilimanjaro ever present in the distance. The use of stone, thatch and wood make for very comfortable accommodation. Just below the main area, is a breathtaking infinity pool, complete with a private lounge and dining area. With views of the lodge’s famous waterhole, it is a lovely spot to while away an afternoon.
The four pool villas each have two bedrooms and are ideal for families or small groups of friends. They are designed to be versatile and function either as family villas or for two couples while still maintaining an element of privacy. One of the villas functions more as a bush home intended for families or groups of friends. This villa is purpose built and designed for a couple who want space and seclusion or for parents who require their children under the same roof, but with adequate space and privacy. There are two bedrooms and each bedroom has its own spacious en-suite bathroom, complete with an indoor and outdoor shower, "star bed", private pool and sundowner viewing deck.
The Mbirikani Group Ranch features an incredible diversity of habitats. Perhaps the most unique is the high-altitude mist forest, where leopard and rhino lurk, and an incredible amount of biodiversity is present. It is a microcosm, unlike any other area of the ranch. So in addition to tracking, a hike to this area, from the lodge, is very rewarding. The Chyulu Hills and its diverse ecosystem lend itself perfectly to horseback safaris and this is an experience that should not be missed. Ol Donyo Lodge has a team of 20 horses to suit all ages and abilities.
The exceptionally friendly staff are always happy to organize daily activities and provide high standards of cuisine and personal service.
Ol Donyo Lodge has 10 guest suites in six stand-alone villas. No two spaces are of the same design but all have a dramatic view of the African savannah with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background. The suites are designed in a traditional African style with contemporary elements to ensure comfort and practicality. All of the suites have a lounge area, a private verandah, indoor and outdoor showers a large bath, and a “star-bed”. All of the suites have their own private pools. There is also wifi available in each guest suite.
There are 10 suites all with a lounge, verandah and en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, double basin and flush toilet. Each suite also offers a star-bed for outdoor sleeping where required.
Ol Donyo Lodge welcomes children but is not suited to very young children and for this reason children must be supervised at all times. The minimum age is 5 years. Food can be tailored to suit children and earlier meal times can be arranged where necessary. Babysitting can be organized upon request.
Guests can dine out on the verandah with spectacular views of Kilimanjaro and the savannah. When the weather is not suited to al fresco dining, there is an indoor dining area or guests can have a private chef for in villa catering (booking in advance is essential). During game drives, there can be surprise sundowners or afternoon tea in the middle of the bush. In room massages can be arranged and the rooftop "star-beds" allows for a unique sleep out experience whilst not leaving the luxury of your private suite. Ol Donyo also offers a same day laundry service (weather permitting).
There are daily 4x4 game drives from Ol Donyo Lodge and excursions to the nearby Amboseli National Park can be organized in advance. Riding safaris can also be organized and there are horses to suit riders of all abilities. Guests can choose to go on an afternoon ride or longer all day or overnight horseback excursions. A unique safari activity that is organized by Ol Donyo Lodge is tracking with the resident Bloodhound in a game of ‘hide and seek’. There is also an open air hide only minutes from the lodge and situated right next to the water hole where you can sit and wait for an up-close experience with the wildlife that come to the waterhole to drink.
Hannah Dawson (Staff)
Ol Donyo is located on a conservancy and boasts beautiful views all over the plains. Each suite has panoramic views and a plunge pool overlooking a water hole. This is a great spot to watch wild life and you dont even need to move from the sun lounger! Not forgetting about the star bed on the roof terrace, sleeping under the stars is a must. Beyond the lodge there is so much to do from game drives to mountain biking safaris, village visits, lava caves and bush walks.
Sian Frost (Staff)
A gorgeous property set in the middle of the ancient, volcanic Chyulu Hills, so remote from any other lodges and towns that you barely see a soul bar for the off Maasai cattle herder coming to graze on their community led land. The rooms all have incredible views over nearby Kilimanjaro with star beds and private plunge pools to boot. Dining is incredible with spectacular 3 course suppers and lunches with arrays of salads. Although it is not a huge game area there are a wide variety of activities on offer from horse riding across the plains to Maasai visits and tours around some of the longest Lava Caves in the world.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
I just loved staying at Ol Donyo, the drive into the lodge from the airstrip through the plains covered in giraffe, zebra and acacia trees made me really know I had arrived in Africa. The lodge has been refurbished in the last year, so all the rooms and main area have had a freshen up but they have not lost the traditional charm and hospitality that Ol Donyo has been known for. The cottages are gorgeous, I thought the family cottages are perfect and I also loved the star beds on the roof of my cottage. There is nothing I love more than falling asleep under the African night sky and when I got cold in the middle of the night I could relocate back downstairs to my proper bed!!
Game drives in the Maasai Mara
Exploring this iconic ecosystem in an adapted, open 4x4 safari vehicle with your professional safari guide is one of the best ways to get up close to the huge volume and wide diversity of wildlife in the Mara.
Great Plains Young Explorers club
Children of all ages have the opportunity to experience a safari like no other with the Great Plains Young Explorers club. With a huge variety of activities to take part in, kids will love this interactive and educational adventure.
Private Safari Guide and Game Drive Vehicle
Ensure an exclusive and totally tailored safari experience by booking a private safari guide and game drive vehicle. A private guide gives you the flexibility to go where you want, when you want. If you have specific interests this is an absolute must.
Riding in Northern Kenya
Horseback safaris are the most exciting way to see the bush and in Kenya they are without a doubt the most exciting and adventurous safari you can do.
The Great Migration
The Maasai Mara is famous for being home to one of nature’s most spectacular events: the Great Migration. Millions of wildebeest cross from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Mara in search of better grazing.
Location & directions
Chyulu Hills, Southern Kenya, Kenya
Ol Donyo Lodge is in the heart of the 275,000 acre Mbirikani Group Ranch, located on the slopes of the Chyulu Hills National Park between the Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks in southeast Kenya. Its location is unrivalled with full views of Mount Kilimanjaro and in the path of seasonal elephant migrations.
How to get there
It is an 8-hour 30-minute international flight to Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport, then it is a 30-minute journey by road to Wilson Domestic Airport. Scheduled flights from Nairobi’s Wilson airport to Ol Donyo Lodge airstrip take about 1-hour. On arrival at the airfield, the vehicle transfer to the lodge is approximately 30-minutes, allowing time for game viewing.