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“One of the very best curated experiences in lovely Kenyan landscape”

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Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“One of the very best curated experiences in lovely Kenyan landscape”
Reviewed 30 March 2012

We stayed here for 4 nights over Christmas two years ago. The setting of the lodge is perfect, quite wonderful to have the landscape as far as the eye can see to yourselves- no other lodges in the area. The area itself is one of the most beautiful in all of beautiful Kenya. There had been years of terrible drought and many animals and livestock had perished, very recently. Just as we arrived the rains had started. It was quite tragic to see all these many many carcasses quite unabsorbed by animals and the other creatures that do this job, in a bright green lawn- if only they could have hung on a few more days. I digress.
The rooms are really great. They give you the feeling of being close to the outside as you are in a tent, with all the comforts of solid clean floors, high ceilings and luxurious bright bathrooms. To be clear, the rooms are open to the landscape, they do not have four walls. This means that there is nothing between you and the animals, but a mosquito net. I think there is an electified fence at the perimiter to keep the big animals out. To me this is the perfect combination. Tents can be claustrophobic and do not age well. I am very squeamish about bush bathrooms and this one is the absolute best. You will see. Having been on many many safaris with my family, we are always looking for something different and here there was a good deal more.
Credit goes to our amazing guide Jackson who made Ol donyo Wuas so rich. Jackson had so much knowledge and information about the other creatures that live in the area. There was no need to hunt for" the big five", it was not missed. Jackson showed us all the ways the smaller animals, birds, insects and plants exist and so enlivened all of Kenya for me. Now I see the buffalo weaver and the social spider everywhere. This is really really interesting, and in stark contrast to so many guides at the other hotels. I have been spoiled for guides, but glad to have spent a few days in Jackson's care. The luxuries are done well here and do not seem pretentious or false. Bush breakfasts, sundowners, horseback riding and walks - were all done exceptionally well. The owners were kind and gracious, the managers were warm and charming and the staff were absolutely excellent. My daughter who was 9 misses baking at Xmas and she was invited to the kitchen to make Christmas cookies- how personal is that? I know this is a gushing review and that a more critical review is more useful, but I can not complain. I do not regret a single penny spent here. We have stayed in many places before, and a few since- and Ol Donyo Wuas is our word for 'the best'.

Room Tip: They are all different, but Im sure all are excellent.
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  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gladystacos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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143 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
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  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2012

We spent 3 days in this beautifully decorated, excellently managed lodge in Feb. 2012 with 15 (!) family members, aged 14-80. The managers, Abi & Cyrus, did everything to make our stay a most memorable dream: bush-breakfasts, sundowners on a rocky hill overlooking the vast open plains, horse riding, biking, hiking, and a sumptious candlelight barbecue under the stars, including a great show by the Maasai personnel. The lodge is on a slope ovelooking a vast plain, with the Kilimandjaro in the background, and a waterhole below, where resident elephants come to drink. On the second morning we had the luck of being able to view the mighty mountain at sunrise: it was a magnificent experience. Great food, excellent guides, friendly and efficient service.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank mustafa_birgi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2012

After a bad experience at another camp in the Mara we did appreciate this fantastic safari facility. Great food, Great service. Difficult to operate in the bush but the staff at Ol Donyo really make an effort to provide quality and luxury under difficult circumstances. Everyone with a smile. Rooms tastefully decorated. Food of internatiional luxury standards. A highjly recommended facility for anyone on a safari break. Thank you all at Ol Donyo for a very memorable safari experience. We will be back.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank neil s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, Canada
Level Contributor
47 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 January 2012

We traveled here in 2011 with our twin daughters, aged 8. The accommodations were outstanding. We stayed in a unit with 2 rooms, each with spacious bathrooms, adjoined by a breezeway. The unit had a small plunge pool, great for hot afternoons. Views of Kilimanjaro were outstanding, and food was excellent. The guide for our drives, Edwin, was fantastic. Almost a year later, our children still miss him. He was an outstanding game spotter, and we had some great sundowners.
For the kids, one of our highlights was going to the adjacent riding stables. At the time we were there, they were looking after an orphaned baby zebra.... so adorable. It was clear that they took very good care of the animals.
The best part was our visit to see Bosco the Hound. He is trained to track poachers, but if he is not working, he may entertain your children. Our child hid (with a guide) in the bush, with a 10 minute head start on Bosco. She even ran in circles to try to confuse him. He dutifully tracked her steps accurately to the tree in which she was hiding, just by sniffing the hat she had left behind. Not too hard for Bosco, who tracks poachers into Tanzania based on a sniff of their tire tracks.
Would highly recommend a stay here.... the wildlife is not quite as abundant as in the Mara, but the views of Kili and the lovely touches around the rooms, and lodge are so memorable.

Room Tip: if it falls within your budget, the villa-type rooms with the plunge pools are best
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank marymandmarkw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 December 2011

We travelled as a family to Ol Donyo and we were a little unsure what to expect, although all the reviews were glowing.

The 1 hour flight from Nairobi was short and easy, the plane bigger than we had expected but by no means big, and we spotted wildlife on the plains during our descent to the airstrip which had us all really excited.

We were Met at the airstrip by Edwin our Maasai guide for our stay we knew we were in good hands.

In terms of service we were spoiled as we were the only ones there, so we had the benefit of Cy and Abbeys excellent wild life knowledge to ourselves.

We had the family villa which were more spacious and luxurious than we expected with a huge outdoor deck area and small pool that was great after a day of activities.

We are by no means experienced horse riders but we can all ride to a basic level, and found riding their beautiful horses (they have 23) over the plains amongst giraffe etc with mount kili as the backdrop, a superb African experience that will not be easily forgotten.

  • Stayed December 2011
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Helpful?
5 Thank Majaxter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Woodland, California
Level Contributor
48 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2011

This is a very pretty lodge but the manager Abby is a bit cold and mechanical. It just seemed like she was going through the motions and was tired of saying the same thing. She had no warmth and I felt if you asked for anything she would give you an attitude which she did. She wasn't rude and didn't say anything wrong but it was uncomfortable if you did ask. Her fiance was much nicer. The minute you walk in the waiver is practically shoved in your face to sign and then she showed everyone the same room instead of individually which for $1,000 you should at least be shown your own room. I felt I was in class as she showed us all the switches and must of said 10 times not to use too much water since they have to truck in the water everyday. Why they built a lodge where there is no water is beyond me but I don't want to be told over and over to be careful with the water. When I went to take a shower they even had a sign in the actual shower not to use too much water, yet they have a plunge pool, outdoor shower, huge tub and inside shower. The other thing that really bothered me is that she said several times to not disturb them unless it is a medical emergency, if there are animals, bats whatever don't wake them up. Well, of course the first night there was a huge cricket in my bed and I was not going to get it out so I had to use the flashlight to get help which they said there was someone at all times if needed. There wasn't and I waived my flashlight but woke up the guy that worked with the horses in his towel but he was nice.

You can have the most beautiful lodge but if the management dosesn't make you feel like you are really welcomed, it doesn't matter. I stayed at Lolida House where the rooms are very plain but it was my favorite because the manager was so genuine and made every guest feel important and did whatever he could to make them happy.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank 4halex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConservat, Director of Sales at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 18 May 2012
At Great Plains Conservation we take criticism seriously as a way to make us serve our guests better.
We have a great lodge at ol Donyo Lodge and sometimes staff get jaded or tired or just go off the boil - When that happens its time for a change.
We have let those managers go as a direct result of this feedback.
This is why TripAdvisor is good for our guests and industry.
Thank you

Dereck Joubert
CEO
Great Plains Conservation
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

Ol Donyo is a once in a lifetime experience. From arriving in a tiny plane which had to circle the 'run way' to clear it of wildlife, to the realisation that it is literally the only lodge in the area, and the only other tourists you'll see are those staying in the lodge with you, Ol Donyo was incredible. The size of our room(s) - I say rooms as the bathroom and lounge were definitely separate areas - was jaw dropping, and our private pool looking out across the African plains was an experience we won't forget. There isn't as much wildlife here as in the Mara, but the opportunity to explore by foot, horse and bicycle must not be under-rated. One of our most memorable moments in Africa was sitting contemplating life atop one of the 'twins' (distinctive hills visible from Ol Donyo) just watching the wildlife go by and marvelling at the sheer expanse of sky and land before us.

The level of care and attention at the lodge were superb, the food was great, the guides were knowledgeable and the hosts really paid attention to each guests wants and needs. Expensive, yes, but worth every penny.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JessSLondon
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

Property: Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge
Address: Mbirikani Group Ranch | Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Region: 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 #8 of 19 Speciality Lodging in Amboseli Eco-system
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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