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“A fabulous Lodge with non-stop views”

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Great Plains Conservation ol Donyo Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
130 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“A fabulous Lodge with non-stop views”
Reviewed 14 August 2014

We had heard from others that this is a beautiful lodge and they were right!
The design captures both function and visual beauty that successfully blends tradition with contemporary touches. Our room was outstanding, spacious and magnificently equipped. Even so, nothing compared to the beauty of the surrounding view!
The team are excellent at what they do! Under the watchful and welcoming Annie (the temporary manager while we were there) everything was flawless. She and the team knew that I was not feeling well and saw to it that they did everything possible to ensure I had what I needed and made a speedy recovery. Everyone in the lodge asked how I was feeling – even though I had only told 2 people – so caring! The food was varied, well prepared and beautifully presented – among the top 1 or 2 of lodges we have stayed in in Africa.
The team of Guides at ol Donyo are excellent including James, the guide we had who was passionate about his country, culture and ensuring that we had an opportunity to experience it and grow to love it as he does.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Edward068
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, 25 August 2014
Thank you so much for your review!

We are so pleased that you had a great stay with us at ol Donyo. The team are so appreciative of your comments and we all are thrilled that you saw the beauty of the area and the lodge and loved it as much as we do. James send his regards and best wishes to you.

We hope that you consider us again in the future for another safari.

Best regards
Annie, Ray, Alyssa & the ol Donyo Team
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143 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 August 2014 via mobile

Ol Donyo should be on everyone's safari itinerary. Our trip would not have been complete without this stop on our journey.

We are a family of four (two teenagers) who have travelled extensively, although this was our first trip to Kenya/Africa. Ol Donyo was the fourth stop on our three week African Adventure. Other stops included House of Waine in Karen, a Nairobi suburb, Lewa Wilderness near Mt. Kenya, Sand River Camp in the Massai Mara, and, after Ol Donyo, Alfajiri Villas in Diani Beach. I mention our itinerary because each location played a special and important role in our experience and because each person in my family ranked our time at Ol Donyo as the #1 experience.

Here is what made Ol Donyo stand out:
1. Absolutely gorgeous rooms and community gathering areas. The pictures on the website can't do it justice. I promise you won't be disappointed. Our room, Nyati #1 (our kids stayed in Nyati #2), overlooked Mt. Kilimanjaro and the watering holes. We had a huge sitting room with a fireplace, a small, private pool, an outdoor shower, rooftop star bed (we spent one night out there staring at the unbelievable number of stars) and a huge indoor bedroom with seating area and huge bathroom with tub and shower.

2. The Staff - all of the recent reviews mention Ray and Alysa Wyatt, as they should. Ray and Alysa MAKE Ol Donyo along with the rest of the amazing staff including Douglas, John, Jackson, Kani, Konee, Annie, David, Paul and the other amazing guides we did have a chance to interact with during our stay. Whenever we arrived back to the lodge after a day at the local Massai Village, a game drive, horseback ride or hike, the staff was always waiting to great us upon our return with huge grins, waves and, of course, a cool towel to refresh ourselves. We have a ton of laughs and great conversations around the evening fire, over lunch and dinner and just in between activities. They all deserve a raise.... :o)

3. The Food - Ray is a chef. He knows food. Those facts shined through at every meal. Fresh, creative and delicious.

4. The activities are endless. I already mentioned the ones that we tried. There are a million more. Important Note: If you want to see huge numbers of game, make sure you hit the Massai Mara or Lewa. You will see game at Ol Donyo. You will be able to get up close a personal with elephants, eeland, zebras, warthogs and other creatures at the watering hole via the Hide. If you are coming to Kenya for the game and can only go to one location (personally, I don't think that's the best plan), Ol Donyo is probably not the place you should go. However, for everyone else, and I presume that's the majority of you, Ol Donyo has to be on your intinerary!

Have a great trip! I hope you have the chance to include this amazing and enchanting place in your journey.

Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank Stephanie L
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, 25 August 2014
Hi Stephanie, David, Kieran and Zoe.

We cannot say enough to thank you for the extensive and amazing review.
It was such a pleasure having you here and talking about Minnesota! You were such an amazing family to have here and we know that you took every opportunity to take in all that the lodge had to offer.

We were sad to see you all leave as were the team but we are certain that our paths will cross again, if not in Kenya then maybe Saint Paul. Please take care of each other and we are sending a big hello from Kenya!

All the best
Ray, Alyssa and the Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oberageri, Switzerland
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2014

We spend 2 nights at Ol Donyo and experienced a fantastic place with great rangers, delicious food, great service and very nice accommodation! The sun downer game drive is one of the best. There is no better way to start your safari!

Room Tip: Pool & Family suite
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Astrid2906
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, 25 August 2014
Greetings from ol Donyo!

We are so grateful for you recent review, we had a great time getting to know you and your family, our only regret is that you were not here longer!

We truly hope that one day you and your family can make it back to ol Donyo and we can share more stories.
We hope that yourself, Luca, Lisa and Jonas are all doing well and are enjoying sharing your stories, photos and experiences with your friends and family.

All the best
Ray, Alyssa and the ol Donyo Team.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed 7 August 2014

What an amazing place Ol Donyo is. I've been fortunate to travel around to many bush lodges around Kenya but Ol Donyo Lodge and its beautiful surroundings is just special. We were welcomed by the awesome hosts, Alyssa and Ray along with Jeremy of Big Life in such a special way that I knew my stay there was going to be exceptional. And it was. From the amazing rooms..stayed in Nyati with the stunning views of the waterhole from the private pool, to the star bed on the roof. Everything else from the food and atmosphere in the lodge was pure luxury.

The bush dinner and the entertainment were a highlight on our last night there as well as the game drives around the group ranch.

Such an unforgettable experience it was and I'm sure to be back again.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Martin 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, 25 August 2014
Hi Martin

Thank you so much for your review. It is of course extremely appreciated!

We are very happy that you enjoyed your short stay with us and that you got to experience the lodge in-between your work here. Jeremy passes on his regards as do the rest of us here at ol Donyo. It was a pleasure to share a bush dinner with you, it is such a magical experience and it is one that we hope to share with you again in the near future.

Best regards
All of us at ol Donyo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 5 August 2014

I have traveled around the world and have become accustomed to luxury accommodations and service. That being said, I don't like stuffy surroundings or snotty service. Ol Donyo was perfect! It was my ideal for luxury safari - upscale but comfortable. Not only were Alyssa and Ray (who is unfortunately referred to in other postings as Roy) awesome, but the entire lodge literally catered to our every need and want. They picked up on the little things and that makes a stay not just enjoyable but memorable. The staff outnumbers the guests. The lodge was amazing, the food was delicious ( It doesn't hurt that Ray was an accomplished british chef), the guest accommodations beautiful and relaxing, the setting fabulous and the service was over the top. I would have eaten anything they prepared. The elephant hide was unique and very few places can you go on a night game drive. They even have a stable of horses. They are service-oriented and very safety minded too. Alyssa is American, so she is accustomed to what Americans expect.

Here are just a few examples of the little things I noticed:
1) Each party had their own private vehicle for game viewing with the same driver every day, even though we did not ask for it. That meant we could always do things at our own pace;
2) Even when it was time to leave and 3 parties left at the same time, for the same flight, we still had our own vehicles.
3) They saw it was my birthday and not only upgraded us but made me a cake and wrote something funny on the cake that i had told them earlier in the day;
4) They told us to dress warmly for dinner and what time to be ready but didn't tell us why. Then surprised everyone by transporting us all to an area where they had set up a bush dinner complete with white linens, glassware, bartenders, local entertainment, a huge bonfire, cooking on site (with the chefs using headlamps) and even a bathroom! Many can do a bush dinner but they added the extra touch of making it a surprise.
5) They have created several watering holes below the lodge using recycled and filtered water from the kitchen and guest rooms which draws the animals to within view while you are relaxing in your room.
6) Every time you left your room, your butler came and refreshed it for you.
7) The only other vehicles we saw during our entire stay other than the few in our lodge were the airplane we flew in on, a water truck that delivered water to the lodge and the neighboring village and a dirt bike owned by a local masai farmer. That is what i call private.

The list goes on. I would recommend them to anyone and would return tomorrow if my schedule allowed. We left there feeling like we had new friends in the staff. If you read this Alyssa and Ray - we miss you! My only regret was that our stay was too short.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JLawayalot
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, 25 August 2014
WOW, thank you so so much for such an extensive, informative and impressive review!

Reading the review, we are ecstatic that you describe everything that this place is, to us, our colleagues and our guests.

You have captured the essence of our home in your review and we truly could not have described it better ourselves. We are so fortunate to be able to share this beautiful place day in and day out and it only emphasizes our passion when we see it through the eyes of our guests such as yourselves.

We hope that one day you will decide to come back and we can share our home all over again.

Best regards
Ray, Alyssa and of course all of our team here at ol Donyo.
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gold coast
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Views over the plains, views to the hills, views of wildlife at the waterhole right in front of the lodge. Sunken hide for wildlife watching, game drives, hikes over the hills, breakfasts in the bush, sundowners on the kopjes, gourmet food, starbeds on the roofs. Fresh veggie gardens and homebuilt smoker right on the premises. Home to the the BigLife conservation and anti-poaching organisation, which does a great job. Skilled and friendly guides, and two of the most wonderful hosts, Ray and Alyssa. Great Plains Conservation sets a very high standard throughout all their lodges, and ol Donyo lives up to it fully.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ralf b
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, 25 August 2014
Dear Ralf!

We are so happy that you took the time to write a review for ol Donyo.

It was amazing having you stay here and here all of your stories about your life back in Australia. It was fantastic to watch you enjoy our environment, especially all of our fantastic birds! We love hearing from you and re-living your stay here and of course following your life from afar.

We really hope that our paths cross again and that you come back sooner rather than later.

All the best from the Kenyan bush!
Ray, Alyssa and all of us at ol Donyo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JMWLam
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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