CHYULU HILLS – OL DONYO LODGE

1 Night: From $820

pp
sharing

See Detailed Rates

View Gallery

Ol Donyo Lodge: Horse riding in one of Kenya’s most spectacular landscapes

Riding in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya is what dreams are made of. Unrestricted by roads and vehicles, you will forge your path through the diverse landscapes that Kenya has to offer. Tuning yourself to the rhythm of your horse and the surrounding bush, taking in its awe inspiring natural beauty. You will be more likely to cross the tracks of a pride of lion than that of a human!

Set in the heart of the Chyulu hills, between Tsavo and Amboseli, you will ride along old elephant paths and encounter some of the magnificent tuskers that make this such a special destination. The varied terrain makes for fantastic riding, combining trails up into the volcanic Chyulu Hills and the Wild Olive Tree groves where you may glimpse a shy herd of hartebeest. Each ride set to the stunning backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro on the skyline. Down in the wide open grass plains, ride among inquisitive Maasai giraffe, herds of zebra, wildebeest and antelope such as the eland, impala, oryx and Grant’s gazelle. You may even see cheetah relaxing in the shade of a nearby tree. In the evenings and during the heat of the day relax in the luxury of the lodge with views for miles over the plains and to Kilimanjaro in the distance.

You shall be mounted on some of Kenya’s finest horses who are all well schooled and sensible when riding through the bush and amongst the wildlife. Horses vary from 15hh to 17hh and breeds include Thoroughbreds, Friesian crosses, Percheron and Somali to name a few!

This is the ideal destination for families and groups with non-riders as they have a range of exciting activities and a young ranger programme. They also have sister lodges in the Masai Mara so you can extend your time in Africa and see the great migration by vehicle safari – A bucketlist experience!

QUICK FACTS
Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Nairobi International Airport 
Open All Year
3 – 6 Nights / Tailor-made
Group Size: Max. 8
Advanced/Intermediate
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ride among some of Kenya’s famous big elephant tuskers
  • Be part of sustainable, conservation tourism with a conservation organization that uses eco-tourism as a tool to protect wildlife and the natural landscapes.
  • Enjoy exciting riding  combined with an exquisite luxury lodge
  • Caters beautifully for mixed groups of riders and non-riders
  • Explore this untouched wilderness in the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro
THE DESTINATION

Ol Donyo and the Chyulus

275,000 acres of immaculate, private wild African wilderness that borders the the Chyulu Hills National Park. Ol Donyo Lodge is a blend of contemporary design with the rich culture and history of the Maasai people of the area.

With over 1 million acres – including 2 National Parks – through which to ride, this concession is one of the largest in Africa. The area is home to a wonderfully wild and untouched ecosystem with a variety of terrains. From vast plains, dense acacia forests, and of course the Chyulu Hill for which the area is named. During your stay you may come across some of the 38 species of game found on the reserving, including the world-famous Iconic Five.

DATES & RATES

Open all year round, please enquire about availability.  3 or more nights is recommended and your stay is tailormade.  Great special offers: stay for 4 nights and only pay for 3 (not available in peak season)

STANDARD POOL SUITE / DELUXE POOL SUITE

January – 31 March 2022
USD960 / USD1 120 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

01 April – 14 June 2022 & 01 November – 19 December 2022
USD820 / USD980 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

15 June – 31 October 2020/2021 & 20 December -10 January 2021/2022
USD1 395 / USD1 595 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

2 BEDROOM SAMBU SUITE (sleeps 4)

January – 31 March 2022
$3 360 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

01 April – 14 June 2022 & 01 November – 19 December 2022
$2 940 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

15 June – 31 October 2022& 20 December -10 January 2023
$4 785 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

Included
•  Full board accommodation
• All drinks throughout your adventure (except premium drinks & Champagne)
• A private and expert guide
• All riding and cycling
• Game drives (day & night)
• Guided walks, mountain biking, birding
• Light air charter flights from Nairobi

Excluded

• International Flights to Nairobi
• Premium Drinks and Champagne
• Spa Treatments
• Comprehensive Travel & Medical Insurance
• Gratuities

SPECIAL OFFERS
• Long stay specials – stay 4 nights, pay 3 (except in peak season)
• Combo special – stay 8 nights at a combination of Ol Donyo and its sister lodges and get 2 nights complimentary

NOTES
• Children under 15 have special rates
• Single supplement only charged in peak season

ITINERARY

** Please note that this is a sample itinerary of how a day might look at Ol Donyo Lodge. The Lodge’s location in the midst of some of Africa’s finest game country means that you can see many wild animals on horseback up close by taking half-day or full-day guided rides with a picnic.  For those who do not ride or do not wish to ride all the time the Ol Donyo Lodge setting offers guests a wide range of adventurous opportunities while also enjoying luxurious and private accommodations. The wide variety of such activities includes mountain biking, hiking and game drives in addition to horseback riding.

A typical day at Ol Donyo

Wake up on a stunning African morning, with the smell of coffee and the sound of birdsong.  Delight in a wonderful breakfast, before setting out on horseback, travelling in and around these diverse landscapes. Riding in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya is what dreams are made of. Unrestricted by roads and vehicles, you will forge your path through the diverse landscapes that Kenya has to offer. Tuning yourself to the rhythm of your horse and the surrounding bush, taking in its awe-inspiring natural beauty. You will be more likely to cross the tracks of a pride of lion than that of a human! This wonderful adventure is set against the backdrop of the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro. Horse rides take place across beautiful and unspoilt scenery, ranging from forests and deep savannah plains to dense bush woodlands, and clear springs. Ride up into the hills that form the backdrop to this stunning lodge, with the hills offering spectacular panoramic views of the plains below. Follow the ancient elephant trails through the woodlands before reaching the open savannas again, where you can enjoy some faster riding.  The morning ride is a longer ride, usually, 3- 4 hours in the saddle. On these mornings, a packed breakfast or lunch will be carried in saddlebags. While you’re riding, keep your eyes peeled for the elephants, giraffe, eland and antelope which dot the landscape.

Ride back to the lodge for lunch and then indulge in an afternoon nap, swim in the pool or luxurious massage. This might be a good time to head down to the lodge waterhole, where you can sit in the underground hide and watch the wildlife come to the waterhole to drink. The elephants love coming down for an afternoon drink and often provide hours of entertainment.

In the afternoon, saddle up for another adventure. This is often a quieter ride as you head off into the warm afternoon light, who knows what you might see! Or if you want a break from the saddle, head out on foot on a game drive vehicle instead. Enjoy sundowner drinks from one of the hills, transforming the landscape from shades of green, to deep golds and fiery reds.  Tuck into a wonderful dinner and before falling into your fluffy white sheets or for the more adventurous, head out on a night drive to search for nocturnal animals. How about taking the time to have a bubby bath or sleep on the roof under the stars?

Game Drives at Ol Donyo

While the “Big Five” are here, this area is well known for more elusive wildlife such as cheetah, fringe-eared oryx and the long-necked gerenuk. This area also boasts huge herds of giraffe, antelope, wildebeest and other plains game as well as herds of elephants and a resident pride of lions. Game drives head out at first light or as the light is fading, offering the best game viewing as well as incredible light for wildlife photography.  After dinner, you might be tempted to head out on a night drive, to discover a range of unusual and nocturnal animals and view the breathtaking African stars.

Guided walks

Another huge benefit of staying outside national parks is that you are allowed to appreciate the stunning landscape around you on foot, peacefully without the noise of engines. The Chyulu Hills were designed for walking and hiking. We highly recommend this unforgettable experience. Your guide and the lodge managers will be able to suggest different walks depending on fitness and your interests, such as birding, spelunking, or exploring the plains. Each is a voyage of discovery unveiling secrets of the bush, wildlife movements, medicinal plants and uniquely adapted flora and fauna. Wear good walking shoes, a hat and camouflage coloured clothing so as not to alarm the wildlife, and take binoculars. Your guide will have water for you and a snack in case you get peckish.

Mountain Biking

For those who like a different type of saddle, mountain biking is a great option. This is a good opportunity to exercise but also another way of viewing the landscape and wildlife in the area. We recommend cycling during the cooler hours of the day, either in the early morning or late afternoon. Cycling usually takes place on the plains heading toward the kopje or el Mau.

Log-Pile Hide at the waterhole

Just below the lodge’s main area is the famous ‘log-pile’ hide named as such because of its elaborate and impressive interwoven construction. A short walk with a cool drink in hand, and you’ve arrived at a secret shaded spot from which to view the many birds and animals that come in for a drink, splash or wallow. This is a tremendous experience, especially during the midday siesta and a favourite for photographers.

Maasai Village Visits

The Maasai of the Mbirikani Group Ranch are as natural a part of the area as the wildlife and have a close partnership with the lodge. Many of the staff and guides are from this community, a 90-minute game drive away. Guests are able to visit the Maasai villages on the ranch, without a sense of voyeurism. This is an authentic experience, where you will be shown the traditional lives of those living here and get an insight into the culture and traditions of the Maasai.  There will be plenty of traditionally crafted jewellery items for sale during your visit to the village, all of which are made by the women who live there. The men also love showing off their traditional tools and games. There is a small donation, which goes towards the local school. Note, that sometimes the villagers might not be up for visitors.

Extra Activities: Ol Donyo - Chyulu Hills

Guided bush walks
Hill hikes and exploration of extinct volcanoic lava tubes
Mountain biking
Game viewing drives
Night game viewing drives
Lion tracking
Cultural villages visits (additional charge)
Anti-poaching tracker dog experience (additional charge)
Amboseli day trip (additional charge)
Scenic Kilimanjaro flight (additional charge)

THE ACCOMMODATION

Ol Donyo Lodge

You will be based at Ol Donyo, a stunning lodge situated on a hillside with views that stretch out over the plains to Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance.

The lodge is comprised of a series of suites and villas where the design is a blend of contemporary and rustic accommodation, merging with the landscape on either side of the luxuriously comfortable lounge and dining area. All of the rooms have their own plunge pool and the use of a private roof terrace where “star beds” can be set up, allowing guests to sleep under a canopy of endless stars.

QUICK FACTS
Chyulu Hills, Kenya
Nairobi International Airport 
Open All Year
3 – 6 Nights / Tailor-made
Group Size: Max. 8
Advanced/Intermediate
View Gallery
1 Night: From $820 pp sharing

See Detailed Rates

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS
Beginner
Novice
Intermediate
Intermediate Plus
Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?
TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ride among some of Kenya’s famous big elephant tuskers
  • Be part of sustainable, conservation tourism with a conservation organization that uses eco-tourism as a tool to protect wildlife and the natural landscapes.
  • Enjoy exciting riding  combined with an exquisite luxury lodge
  • Caters beautifully for mixed groups of riders and non-riders
  • Explore this untouched wilderness in the shadows of Mount Kilimanjaro
DATES & RATES

Open all year round, please enquire about availability.  3 or more nights is recommended and your stay is tailormade.  Great special offers: stay for 4 nights and only pay for 3 (not available in peak season)

STANDARD POOL SUITE / DELUXE POOL SUITE

11 January – 31 March 2022
USD960 / USD1 120 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

01 April – 14 June 2022 & 01 November – 19 December 2022
USD820 / USD980 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

15 June – 31 October 2022 & 20 December -10 January 2023
USD1 395 / USD1 595 per person per night sharing + USD50 conservation fees

2 BEDROOM SAMBU SUITE (sleeps 4)

11 January – 31 March 2022
$3 360 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

01 April – 14 June 2022 & 01 November – 19 December 2022
$2 940 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

15 June – 31 October 2022 & 20 December -10 January 2023
$4 785 per suite + USD50 conservation fees per person

Included
•  Full board accommodation
• All drinks throughout your adventure (except premium drinks & Champagne)
• A private and expert guide
• All riding and cycling
• Game drives (day & night)
• Guided walks, mountain biking, birding
• Light air charter flights from Nairobi

Excluded

• International Flights to Nairobi
• Premium Drinks and Champagne
• Spa Treatments
• Comprehensive Travel & Medical Insurance
• Gratuities

SPECIAL OFFERS
• Long stay specials – stay 4 nights, pay 3 (except in peak season)
• Combo special – stay 8 nights at a combination of Ol Donyo and its sister lodges and get 2 nights complimentary

NOTES
• Children under 15 have special rates
• Single supplement only charged in peak season

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Wow, what a place. We are SO glad that we included this in our trip. It was the perfect first stop on our safari, especially coming straight off the plane from the US. It was absolutely beautiful there. We stayed in the Sambu Suite which was beautiful. We all agreed it may be one of the nicest accommodations we have ever stayed in. The views were spectacular. The food was delicious. The beds and facilities were so comfortable. Even though it was too rainy to take advantage of the Star Bed, having that platform was so worth it. Every morning I’d take my coffee up to the top and take in the sunrise with the awesome view.

As for the horseback riding, I highly recommend it! Becky, the riding manager, was so much fun. She was very easy to talk to but also really did well at her job. She listened attentively to my style and preferences for horses and the first horse she paired me with was perfect. His name is Samanche and man was he a gem. She and the other guides did a great job of making me feel comfortable and allowed me to relax and take in the experience. Although I ride competitively and am very comfortable on horses, I’m definitely an “arena” rider and normally am pretty tense/cautious on trail rides. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so relaxed in the open and so confident on my horse. I had planned on telling them I didn’t feel comfortable cantering in the open, but within minutes I knew I’d feel comfortable with their set up. Sure enough, cantering on the open plains was one of the most fun things I did the whole trip, and I felt completely safe the entire time. I cannot recommend the riding at Ol Donyo enough.

My dad hiked to the lava tubes and he said he really enjoyed that, but people should be warned (which he was) that it’s a pretty tough hike. My mom gave the massage that she had there two thumbs way up!

Tamara ParkOl Donyo, Kenya
READ MORE REVIEWS

How we care for our horses

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses at Ol Donyo Lodge are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:
  • Our horses graze freely in their boma throughout the day and are tucked in at night. They have three feeds per day and hay in their stables.
  • Our horses are groomed twice a day and we have farrier’s on site to make sure hooves are in top condition.
  • Tack is cleaned after every ride and checked regularly and before a ride goes out.

Please let us know if you have any more questions around this.

RELATED SAFARIS