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“Wowed and speechless! Amazing experience at Ol Donyo.”

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Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wowed and speechless! Amazing experience at Ol Donyo.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2014

Ol Donyo is an unforgettable place on earth! A luxurious property set along the side of Chyulu Hills with a stunning view of the savannah and Mt. Kilimanjaro, my husband and I spent 3 nights at this amazing lodge in May. Our flight landed on a dirt strip and we were immediately greeted by our guide - Elijah. As a Maasai, he grew up in this area, so he's very knowledgeable with the animals, plants and geological formation. He has such a personable and funny character that we absolutely love spending time with him! He taught us to read prints to trek animals, pointed out many different birds that we would have missed ourselves. We went for a morning bush walk one day. Elijah not only pointed out animals to see, he also showed us the various plants that Maasai tribe uses for medicinal and daily purposes, e.g. a tree he uses its branch and sap for brushing teeth, another plant's sap for moisturizing dry skin, a tree fruit for making alcoholic drinks. We learned a lot about the land from him.

Annie - the equestrian manager - was standing in as lodge host, while our regular hosts were on vacation. She did a fantastic job! She is a natural host. Despite being always on top of things, keeping track of everyone's activity, waving us off every morning, and greeting us when we returned from games drives, she exudes a relaxing and graceful demeanor. We had great times with her and other guests at every lunch and dinner table with really amazing food! We were lucky to have Niki - a conservation biologist who work for Big Life Foundation - joined us for lunch one day. Through her, we learned about Big Life's predator compensation program with tribal communities and the effectiveness of the program through positive feedback from tribal members. Such harmonious and collaborative effort result in a wonderful conservancy with great wildlife.

We did many other activities at Ol Donyo: lava tubing with Elijah and Kani (saw a bat hanging inside a cave), horseback riding with Paul and David on the savannah, night drive with Elijah (spotted lioness with cubs, springhares, hyenas), morning coffee at our patio with view of Kilimanjaro, dining al fresco with other guests next to a bon fire complete with a dance from Maasai tribe, going down to the hide to watch elephants, romantic nights under the stars on the star bed. We had such a memorable time at Ol Donyo! We hope to return soon!

Room Tip: Trust me, there are no bad rooms at Ol Donyo! We enjoyed one of the units at Nyati. From our unit, w...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JMWLam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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142 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
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English first
manchester. uk
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2014

Ol Donyo a place that should be on everyones bucket list. A lodge in the wild without the worry of of the wild. This amazing place will give you a holiday experience you will never forget. The views you get from this place leave you speechless, i have traveled a fair bit and seen many places but nothing compares to this place, it really is a special place. The hospitality is 7 star, everything you want without the hassle of been pestered. A place you can relax and become absorbed by the environment.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank mister_kay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 May 2014

Ol Donyo is one of those amazing properties that you will never forget. My husband and I have been to some incredible luxury hotels in Africa and Asia, but this is our new favorite after a stay there over Easter this year. The location is absolutely stunningly beautiful – you have the rolling Chyulu Hills to one side and Mt. Kilimanjaro directly in front of you. And the staff is beyond amazing. We loved Ray & Alyssa, the managers, who made us feel like family and were the warmest, most welcoming managers we’ve ever encountered. We’re not typically fans of communal dining, but they were such fantastic hosts that we felt like we were at a really fun dinner party every meal. Easter brunch under an Acacia tree on the plains (preceded by a cheetah sighting on the drive there) is a memory we will never forget. Ray is also a talented chef, and all of our meals were absolutely amazing - especially for being in such a remote location. And our local Maasai guide, James, was incredibly knowledgeable, passionate, funny, and importantly, fun to spend time with. On top of the beauty of the location and outstanding staff, we also liked that there was so much to do beyond game drives. Horseback riding, amazing hiking (sunset from the top of Ol Donyo Hill, lava tubes, and the Kopjes rock formations among them), staff who is willing to accompany you on a run through the plains (Isaac was a great running partner), and sleeping under the stars on a specially prepared bed on top of the room. There’s also a hide by one of the watering holes so you can get up close to the animals that visit. Overall, an incredibly memorable and enjoyable trip. We can’t wait to go back!!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Susan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConserve, General Manager at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 16 May 2014
Wow right back, Susan!
What an amazing review and all of us at ol Donyo Lodge appreciate it so very much.
We were the ones that had the pleasure of experiencing your stay… and enjoyed it right along with you both.
You and Peter took the opportunity to make the most of all the unique features of this lodge and didn’t let a moment pass you by.

As Ray and I always say, ‘If you don’t leave, you can’t come back.’

Best wishes and until next time,
Alyssa, Ray & the ol Donyo Lodge Team
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Mombasa, Kenya
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2014

As my title goes no words can explain this place. It is a place which has touched our heart and we will surely will visit this place a lot. Both Alyssa and Roy were great hosts and team was just amazing in taking care of my family. If you want luxury in the wild this is the best place to be in and I would recommend this place to anyone who loves nature. Again thank you very much and you will be seeing us very soon.
Shah Family

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mital S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConserve, General Manager at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 16 May 2014
We can’t thank you enough Shah Family for coming ‘the distance’ with your beautiful family to experience our home.

We are so thrilled you enjoyed your time with us as we certainly loved having you.

Until next time…
Alyssa, Ray & The ol Donyo Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nairobi, Kenya
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2014

Wow!! I have no words to describe our stay at Oldonyo, to say the least it has been one of our most memorable trips yet. The lodge couldn't have two better people running it, Alyssa and Roy! Them and their fabulous group of staff took such great care of us from the moment we arrived to the second we left. Out family tent was beyond what we had ever excepted, it was beautiful and overlooked a fantastic view of the Chyulu Hills. We were spoiled with magnificent food throughout our stay, being vegetarian didn't throw them off, each meal was special and delicious. Our guide Jeremiah was incredibly knowledgeable, even though there wasn't much game in the reserve, he found plenty to show and tell us during our game drives and bush walks. We were offered a huge range of activities so we didn't sit bored for a second, in fact we found ourselves struggling to find time to do all of them! We thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by such happy, enthusiastic people who made our stay truly unforgettable! Thank you to everyone at Oldonyo for everything! !! Jasani family

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sabri J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConserve, Director of Sales at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 11 April 2014
Dear Jasani Family

We are so happy we managed to keep you enthralled while you stayed with us recently.

Thank you for your feedback here and come stay again soon

Best wishes
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2014

I'm not even sure where to begin or how to describe this place! Everything and everyone at Ol Donyo was part of a dream come true for my husband and me. Upon arriving at the little green landing strip we were eagerly greeted by the amazing managers Alyssa and Ray - their excitement and enthusiasm for everything they are surrounded by is incredible! They whisked us off to a beautiful location for a bush breakfast, complete with refreshing mimosas! On our journey back to the lodge we caught sight of a journey of giraffes and were able to take the most incredible pictures with Kilimanjaro in the background! Couldn't have asked for a more impressive welcome!
We stayed at a few other places while in Tanzania and Kenya, but nothing compared to the overall package at Ol Donyo. The food was outstanding and by far the best we ate (full of variety and flavor - compliments to the manager Ray who was a former chef who has collected inspiration from his numerous trips around the world), the rooms were gorgeous (complete with an indoor and outdoor shower, private plunge pool, roof top star bed and private view of the elephant watering hole), staff was so knowledgeable and personable (from welcome songs to unbelievable stories), and we have to mention the amount of tailored activities (mountain biking, horse back riding, hiking in the lava tubes and the Ol Donyo mountain, a visit to a Masai village, sundowners in the most incredible locations...) and the variety of animals (including the rarely seen striped hyena...)!
One of our favorite places was the elephant hide. We'd grab a beverage and take a short walk to the hide where we could sit and enjoy watching the incredible behavior of the elephants within feet of their watering hole. Such a unique experience!
If you are debating about where to stay, this is your place! The price may seem steep, but I can guarantee that its worth every single penny! Thank you to EVERYONE at Ol Donyo for making our adventure the trip of a lifetime...

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Stacy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConserve, Director of Sales at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 11 April 2014
Wow Stacy

What can we say?
It was an absolute pleasure having you stay with us and thank you for this amazing report back on your stay.

You should come visit our Kenyan or Botswana camps next!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vienna, Austria
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2014

We stopped at this extraordinary lodge while our Safari in Kenia. Having been to the Serengeti before, we were sure nothing could top that! Actually, we were wrong. The adventure starts with the flight over green hills and going down also in the green, as there is no real airstrip:-)

We were taken to the lodge where we first met Alyssa and Roy, the Managers of the lodge. We have been to quite some lodges in Africa, but those two really do a perfect job!
They upgraded us on a room with our own plunge pool -the rooms are absolutely amazing! They have no front wall, but only curtains, so the room opens up to the endless plains of Amboseli, with Kili in the back. On the right, the same view can be enjoyed in your plunge pool! And you directly watch the elefants and giraffes passing by.
The view alone made us wish, we could sit there forever and just stare, but at this astonishing lodge there is no time for that ( unless you want to do just that!)

Our first way was to the"hide", you just go down there directly from the lodge and can sit in an open shed, just some ten meters away from the big elephants - again you could sit there forever unless you have to go by jeep for your sundowner on a big rock in the middle of the plain, watching the red sun disappear!

The lodge is famous for its horse riding, but as we are absolute beginners we hesitated but then decided to do it. Again, although we were quite late with our wish Roy and Alyssa managed a ride for us on the next morning. It was awsome! You ride slowly with two guides through the plains, following a giraffe, it truly was an adventure!
In the afternoon we hiked on ol Donyo hill with our guide, the walk takes like one hour and a half and rewards you with an incredible view -and of course with a gin tonic:-)

Last but not least the food! Roy is a british cook, who has been quite around the world and therefore brings some fresh ideas to the African kitchen, lunch was served on a big table, where you sit together and share a variety of fresh and creative salads. We loved it! Of course, if you want to eat allone you are also free to do that.

But what to my opinion made this stay so memorable was the hospitality -especially of the managers -Alyssa and Roy! Not only will they do everything to make your stay most agreeable and adventourous, but they are also interesting people to talk to and you feel they like what they are doing! On the day we had to leave, our booked driver didn't show up as he took the wrong way. Roy and Alyssa immediately organised our guide to drive us for two hours round the hill, to meet our driver-this was great and we would like to thank them again very much for their support!
So an ABSOLUTE RECOMMENDATION from my side for this lodge! Of course this has its price, but the memories are worth every penny!

Thank you again everybody at Ol Donyo Lodge!

Room Tip: With plunge pool
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Heide B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatPlainsConserve, Manager at Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge, responded to this review, 31 March 2014
Thank you so much for your amazing review.

It was such a pleasure having you at the lodge and were overjoyed with how you embraced the many wonderful activities we offer from enjoying the hide to hiking ol Donyo Wuas hill and of course the horse riding!

We are extremely happy that you enjoyed the food, we have a lot of fun using new recipes, techniques and styles and when our guests recognise the efforts made by the kitchen we could not be more proud of our team.

We hope that you come back soon and we get to share more of our lodge and our area with you.

Thanks you again
Kind regards
Ray, Alyssa and the ol Donyo Lodge Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #9 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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