ol Donyo Lodge
ol Donyo Lodge
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.
Great Plains Conservation
Date of Creation
Hotel General Manager
David Stogdale – Managing Director, Kenya
5 Star Luxury – Member of Relais & Chateaux and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
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.
ol Donyo Lodge
History & Story
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. Six pool suites plus 1 two-bedroom family unit offers a harmonious blend of contemporary and rustic accommodation, merging the landscape into each suite. All of the rooms have their own plunge pool and 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.
Not plans at présent for any refurb or rebuild.
Main Strengths, Special Touch
One of only two Relais & Chateux and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World accreditted safari camps in Kenya.
Private Wildlife viewing reserve with only ol Donyo Lodge guests.
Private 275 000 acre Mbirikani Game Ranch.
Chyulu Hills région.
South Eastern Kenya.
Key sites/activities in the area
– Open vehicle game driving and wildlife viewing activities in the early morning and late afternoon/including evening game drives.
– Hiking and Guided bush walks.
– Mountain Bike bicycle Safaris.
– Conservation and community out reach programmes.
– Wildlife viewing in open air hide.
– Sleep out on private « star beds ».
– Horse Riding opportunities for guests of all ages including Children and of all expérience levels.
– Private game drive vehicle and guide available for hire at additional cost.
All rooms at ol Donyo Lodge offers guests their own private swimming pool with views across the plains to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Star Bed sleep outs are possible for guests on areas especially acreated on the roofs of the suites.
Ol Donyo Lodge is perfect for families wanting an extraordinary safari experince.
Ol Donyo Lodge accepts children from 5 years old.
All children that stay at Great Plains Conservation safari camps have the opportunity of participating and joining our Young Explorers Club.
• Number of suites:
ol Donyo Lodge has a total of 7 Luxury Pool Suites plus a dedicated 2 bedroom family pool suite
Each guest suite offers views of Mount KIlimanjaro across the plains surrounding the property, private large swimming pools, en-suite bathroom with indoor bath and shower, outdoor shower, separate lounge area, open air “Star Beds”. Each rooms offers limited wifi
• Number of rooms, (keys) in all:
ol Donyo Lodge has 7 luxury pool suites plus a 2 bedroom family pool suite.
Restaurants & Bars
ol Donyo Lodge has a number of dining areas.
These include a central dining area in the main camp area, but guests are also able to dine under the stars and enjoy bush breakfasts and dinners which the camp management will discuss with guests each day.
A brand new wellness offering is currently being developed.
All guest rooms have yoga mats and a selection of bands for guests to use.
Extra Notable Features
– Early morning and late afternoon/early evening wildlife viewing game drives in the famous private 275 000 acre Mbirkani Game Ranch bordering the Chyulu Hills National Park.
– Guided bush walks
– Bicycle safaris
– Horse riding safaris for all ages
– Private wildlife viewing vehicle and guide available at additional cost for guests.
Hotel and restaurant Awards
Tripadvisor, No.1 Speciality Lodging in Amboseli Ecosystem – ol Donyo Lodge
Tatler Travel Guide, World’s Best Riding Safaris – Ride Kenya/ol Donyo Lodge
Robb Report, Essential Safari Guide – ol Donyo Lodge
Robb Report, Top 100 Resorts – ol Donyo Lodge
Travel + Leisure, Worlds Best Hotels – ol Donyo Lodge
Number of employees