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Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Everyone should visit this amazing place. The location is unbelievably beautiful, with close-up viewing of elephants, zebra, giraffe,and more, all from the luxury of your room, or from "the Hide", where you can (almost) touch them as they pass by. Ray, Alyssa, and the entire staff are wonderful - anticipating every need, and entertaining all with gourmet food and fun. The safari guides are terrific, ours was Jeremiah - he was knowledgeable and a lot of fun, too. Ask to set up the "star bed" on the top level of your private patio for some great late-night stargazing, or just hang out in your beautiful room or the comfortable main lodge. It was our first impression of Africa, and we could not have been more impressed. Definitely hope to get there again someday!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Susie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 11, 2013

We had a wonderful experience at Ol Donyo. We were at the lodge at the same time as a large family group that were occupying all of the other rooms. Alyssa and Ray and all of the Ol Donyo staff made sure that we were not overlooked and ensured that we had a very special experience. The setting is one of the best of the five safari lodges we visited, and we especially enjoyed the blind where we could sit for a few quite hours and just watch the different animals come to drink. We only had two nights but would certainly add at least another night the next time. Ol Donyo is one place where you can hang out and relax for a day and really enjoy the lodge - a perfect place to chill with a drink in the middle of a busy safari holiday if you want to take a day off from safari drives. Our Guide Dan was wonderful and after only a couple of days we felt like we were leaving a son behind. He was very knowledgable and he was very attentive to our interests.

Our room was amazing with great views, including a view of Kilimanjaro one clear morning. Everything was clean and comfortable, and the attention to detail was unsurpassed during our trip.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mikecd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

This was our 5th time returning to Ol Donyo and it didnt disappoint. We are always amazed at the beauty of the lodge, built into the hillside . The rooms are utterly gorgeous with lovely appointments - so stylish. The staff are wonderful: very knowlegeable about the surrounding ecosystem . We particularly fond of the wonderful guides who have become friends over the years. James, Dan, Jackson, Jeremiah and the entire staff make the game drives and Sundowners ever so delightful.the food is always good and plentiful- amazing really when you consider how remote the lodge is....
Visit Ol Donyo for it's remote and beautiful setting, for it's fabulous staff and for an experience unlike any other in Kenya.

Stayed: June 2013
Thank al3057
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

From the staff, food, sights, and accommodations, Ol Donyo Lodge is as good as it gets. Warm welcome was followed by great service, star beds on the rooftop of your room, elephants (and everybody else) drinking at the watering hole below the terrace. Alyssa and Ray are great hosts. Lunches and dinners served in the bush under candlelight, the staff met us nightly on our way home ( from school/clinic where we helped out daily) with Sundowners, the best cocktail and snacks on the plains. We wanted for nothing and almost cried when we moved on to other lodges. Top of the hill, this lodge.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Ralph_from_Virginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

We spent four days at Ol Donyo, which we coupled with a Great Plains Conservation sister camp, Mara Toto, on a 7-day safari. We absolutely loved everything about Ol Donyo. We were glad we decided to spend more time at each camp rather than hopping around to too many places. Managers Alyssa and Ray were two of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet. Our guide Dan and the rest of the staff were also top-notch.

Each of the handful of rooms at the lodge offers great views of watering holes. The accommodations are incredibly comfortable and there was not a meal that wasn't outstanding. Ol Donyo certainly deserves its status as a Relais & Chateaux property, the only one in Kenya at the present.

We enjoyed a gamut of activities, including day and night safari drives, hiking, bicycle riding, and horseback riding. The picturesque Chyulu Hills area sometimes seems to come with a caveat that the game isn't as plentiful as in other areas, notably the Maasai Mara. Nonetheless, we saw plenty of game, and with its location in a conservation area, we had the entire place virtually to ourselves. And honestly, what's not to love about sleeping under the stars on the star beds.

Kilimanjaro had been shrouded in cloud for our first three days there and we were saddened that we might leave without getting a chance to see it. But just as we dismounted our horses on our final day there and we about to enjoy our farewell sundowner in yet another unbelievably gorgeous location, our guide pointed to us to look in the distance -- the mountain with its snowy summit had emerged from behind the clouds. This, which capped a string of unforgettable days, was only topped by a final memorable dinner.

We deeply hope to visit again one day.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jiaotze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2013

We loved our recent stay at Ol Donyo Lodge. Our group took over the 23 or so spaces at this very special lodge for about 6 days, in part while working at a Maasai school about 45 minutes away. I would encourage anyone able to incorporate this lodge int their Kenya travel plans, as we did, visiting 3 other areas.

The rooms at Ol Donyo are all a bit different but the same in that they are luxurious and comfortable. We had room 1 of serra wing and for 3 of us enjoyed a huge sitting room with fireplace (a fire in which they would build for you if you want) looking out on the private "plune pool" right out the door (there is a larger lodge swimming pool), a large bedroom with a King bed and a single bed for our daughter, and a huge bathroom with large soaking tub, shower, double sinks, etc., all rooms looking out at the water hole which attracted elephants, giraffes, hyenas and other animals during our stay.

and the staff. what can i say other than that they manage to combine the delicate balance among always happily and graciously being there for anything you need, leaving you your privacy and feeling like family. nothing requested is out of sorts. they are kind, friendly like all Kenyans, professional and well-trained, seemingly happy and so knowledgeable about the area and the animals. Meals and drinks, wine, liquor were all included, encouraged and the food was delicious (co-manager Ray is a long-timechef in prior career). Included and taken advantage of during our trip were horseback rides, hikes with guides, bicycle rides, the most wonderful "sundowner" every evening for cocktails at some extraordinary spot, game drives and more. They even invited our young travelers to come play volleyball with the staff one evening.

One time while enjoying tea after breakfast with a few of our friends (though not everyone was up), one of the guides came running in and asked the few of us there if we wanted to go see a lion and we jumped up, gabbed what we had in the gorgeous "great room" (luckily I had my camera) and drove off quickly towards a sighting of the most majestic male lion sitting on a hill. It was great spontaneous adventure and Jackson and the other staff had known we had hoped to see some lions, and they went out of the way to quickly get us. Later that night, we saw 5-6 more lions in another spot on a game drive.

The common facilities are really nice, from the large and multi-area "great room" (several sports great for relaxing, quiet conversation and cards) and bar with the fireplace always going int he evening and the fire pit outside always going, the dinning rooms, common pool, small gift shop with the wonderful Joyce. My husband enjoyed the special star bed made up at his request on the rooftop terrace of our room three nights and loved it (the staff comes and makes it up with lanterns and mosquito netting, etc.). The view from the great room is wonderful, with occasional sightings of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of course, constant gatherings at the waterholes down the hill from the lodge of elephants, giraffe, zebras and other animals.

We were fortunate in our 6 days as we saw many different animals and birds on our game drives in the chyulu Hills and surrounding areas. lions, zebras, giraffes and pregnant giraffes, warthogs, Thompson and grant's gazelles and much other wildlife. and the birds, so many different varieties. Yes, this is not the Mara but the wildlife was pretty abundant for us and we benefited by not having any of the tourist traffic of the Mara. It was as if no one else was around (as we had taken over this lodge with our group).

I can't say enough good things. It is one of my very favorite places I have ever stayed anywhere. Feel free to private message me if you need more details or have questions.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank walton56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

What a great introduction to safari lodges. Perfect accomodation and great staff. Ray and Alyssa are wonderful managers who made us feel so at home. Jonathan was a fantastic guide and to be greeted off the plane by him in his full masai outfit was a magical experience.
Make sure you spend time down in the hide by the waterhole, just as a place to sit and relax its beautiful enough but when a large bull elephant comes stomping out of the bush its heart stopping!
As said before you may not get the Big Cat experience here, but theres certainly plenty of other options. Doing a bush walk up in the hills and ending with a sundowner was special enough, then doing a morning horse ride and being served breakfast on the plains just couldnt be topped.
There's still plenty of interesting wildlife around and if you need more, then Amboseli is only a short drive away. Watch out for the Genet around camp, its a beautiful creature and well worth spotting.
After staying for 3 nights this place felt like home which was mainly down to our hosts who did a great job of making us feel like friends and made it very difficult to leave. thank you to everybody at Ol Donyo for a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ausgeordie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge

Address: Mbirikani Group Ranch | Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Amboseli Eco-system
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Price Range: $1,773 - $2,715 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Imagine...275,000 Acres of scenic Africa, where the wildlife can be found free and roaming, without tourists in mini buses or a set schedule. Imagine...Travelling across the archetypal savannahs of East Africa in an open 4x4 game drive vehicle without limitation, feeling the rhythm of Africa beneath your feet as you walk with expert trackers, or horseback riding with Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Imagine...Exploring this paradise, and then coming home to one of the most luxurious small lodges in Kenya where a hot bath, in or outdoor shower, or private swimming pool await - all with inspiring views across the expansive plains, plus delicious food, charming hosts and world-class service.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. It is a lodge rich in history, passion and conservation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ol Donyo Hotel Amboseli Eco-System

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