Why photographers love Ol Donyo
- This lodge ticks all the boxes for great guiding, landscapes, wildlife and wilderness areas.
- The highlight here is photographing big tuskers with views of Mount Kilimanjaro in the background
- Guests can also make use of a waterhole hide that often has elephants and maasai giraffe.
- Lions and cheetah are found in the area along with topi, thompsons gazelles, eland, gemsbok and other plain game.
- The landscape is varied and when Mount Kilimanjaro is hidden behind clouds (and that is most of the time) there is a dramatic backdrop of the Chyulu hills.
- This was Kenya’s first Relais and Chateau lodge and the food, service and general guest experience is outstanding.
- If you find time to stretch your legs you can go hiking, bike riding and horse riding in this magnificent reserve.
How we rate Ol Donyo
|Community and sustainability|
Ol Donyo at a glance
There are 10 bedrooms all with views of Mount Kilimanjaro and the wonderful waterhole. All suites have a lounge, veranda, indoor and outdoor showers, star beds and some have swimming pools. One of the villas, Sambu2, is designed for families and allows parents and children to stay under the same roof but with separate bathrooms.
The main area has a dining area, pool dining area and a cellar with wonderful spaces for for intimate dinners.
There is a path leading down from the lodge to the photographic hide, which is very active during the dry season, and can be accessed on foot from the lodge.
Guests can arrange guided walks, 4×4 drives, cycling and horse riding.
The lodge is situated on the Maasai-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch comprising 275 000 acres of wilderness between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks bordering the Chyulu Hills national. It offers total exclusivity and an exceptional and diverse experience.
The dry season is best for wildlife viewing. The short rains are in November and December and the long rains are from March to May. But seasons differ and rains can often occur in January and February.
Photographers need to know
Kilimanjaro tends to pop out of the clouds early morning and late afternoon, but it does quite often not show itself.
The good news
The lodge has Big Life Foundation, led by Richard Bonham, as its conservation partner and all guests contribute to its vital conservation schemes. Local communities benefit directly from the lodge.