Ol Donyo Sabuk, or Kyanzavi in Kamba, is a mountain and national park adjacent to a small town near Thika in Kenya. The town is located in Kyanzavi Division, Machakos County.
The mountain peak height at 2,145 metres was named by Maasai pastoralists and means ‘large Maasai mountain’.
The park is known as the “ultimate panoramic experience” with its rugged outcrop of the ancient rocks jutting high above the plains of Athi giving a clear view of the Kenya capital Nairobi.
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Why visit Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park?
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park safari
There are plenty of great things to do in Kenya and visitors will find Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is an untouched Kenya safari destination that offers a superb panoramic experience of a beautiful small mountain covered in montane forest.
The park also offers a good ecosystem which is habitant to a wide range of wildlife species and scenic views of various mountain ranges.
Hiking safaris are popular and trekkers use the one and only route to hike up to the summit, some 360 metres above sea level. The route passes through the spectacular fourteen waterfalls whilst lying down the slopes is the Athi river that is a source of life for hundreds of wildlife found at the park.
Down the slopes, visitors can view large populations of buffaloes roaming around amongst many other wildlife with game viewing along river banks typically a very rewarding experience.
The Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is a home of a wide range of animals especially buffalos, baboons, bushbuck, impala and numerous birds. One can also enjoy the scenic view of Mt Kenya while at the park and African highest mountain Mt Kilimanjaro.
The park is home to more than 200 buffalos which are the dominant mammals at the park and other animals include mongoose, porcupines, bushbucks, baboons and leopards.
Visitors will also find the colobus monkey, vervet monkey, Sykes’ monkey, Kirk’s dik-dik, bush pig, common duiker, reedbuck, rock hyrax, bushbaby, tree and ground squirrel, aardvark, porcupine, python and monitor lizard.
The park has over 45 bird species that include both Forest bird species, open savannah grassland, and wetland/waterbird species.
The most common birds include African Hawk-eagle, sunbirds, different types of weavers, pied wagtail, mourning dove, Buzzard and many more.
The Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is covered by the dense forest vegetation that is known by the Kikuyu locals as “the Mountain of the Buffalo” while the Masaai locals call it the “Big Mountain”.
Other activities at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Here are some other activities which visitors can consider during their east African safari experience at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park:
- Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park Safari Walk: Explore the nature wildlife on foot, an authentic and economical means of exploring wildlife in Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
- Photography safari game drives: Visitors on a photo safari can share a photography tour with like-minded individuals and capture their favourite moments.
- Sightseeing: Visitors to Ol Donyo Sabuk NP can enjoy mountain climbing with treks full of adventure and scenic views. The hike to the summit can be done in hours with a stop for historical events and visits to Lord William’s graveyard and visit fourteen scenic waterfalls.
Visitors often enjoy combining their safari adventure with some quiet downtime on Kenya’s best beaches, a perfect end to their African adventure.
How to get to Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park?
The park can be easily reached from Nairobi with just a one hour/85km drive north-east and you reach the lush cool fresh air parked with scenic views of Ol Donyo Sabuk national park.
From Thika town proceed 22 km along the main Garissa road to Makutano junction. At Makutano follow the KWS sign and turn right, proceeding 3 km on an all-weather murram road to Donyo town. At Donyo turn right and proceed a further 2 km to the main gate.
Visitors can fly into Nairobi airport namely Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) and make the journey via road to Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park.
International flights arrive via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) for visitors wondering how to get to Kenya. NBO airport is located 15km/9mi southeast of Nairobi and a Kenya visa will most likely be required to enter the country.
Tariffs and Regulations
Many factors impact Kenya safari prices including the cost of the park entrance fee. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park charges an entry fee of USD $26 per adult non resident per day and $17 per child.
If you keep to park rules, you can stay with the animals as long as they are not disturbed by your presence.
Accommodation at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Rates mainly depend on the season and type of accommodation. Carrying a small amount of Kenyan currency, the Kenya Shilling (KES) is recommended to pay for groceries and smaller items where credit cards aren’t accepted.
Guesthouses offer comfortable self-catering accommodation with large premises ideal for large groups or families.
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park has a range of accommodation options including Sabuk Guest House, located just 2km from the main gate of the park and offers excellent service and braai/barbecue facilities.
Other options include Jobcamp House, Mirema Service Apartments and Safari Park Hotel and Casino.
Camp options include Rock Hyrax Special Campsite with easy access to a great hiking experience and Oldonyo Orok Camp.
Guests on a DIY safari game drive by themselves in a campervan can make significant savings by sleeping in their vehicle.
Lodges will typically have all meals and drinks included in the lodge package.
The weather in the park is hot and dry. It is only a few months when there is rain.
The summers are short, warm, and overcast and the winters are short, cool, dry, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 54°F to 81°F and is rarely below 50°F or above 84°F.
Best time to visit
Understanding the best time to visit Kenya is important as this will impact accommodation, flight prices, availability and the weather that visitors can expect on their safari vacation.
January to March marks the driest season and is viewed as the best time to visit Ol Donyo Sabuk NP before the peak summer tourism season. April to June is wet and hot whereas from July to October, it’s warm and dry. November to December is warm and wet.
Arriving at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park may involve travelling through a malaria zone hence taking antimalarials and wearing long-sleeved clothing is recommended. Visitors can find further information on Kenya vaccine details here.
Where is Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park located?
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is located 85km/one hour north-east of Nairobi.
How much is the entrance fee for Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park?
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park charges an entry fee of USD $26 per adult non resident per day and $17 per child.
What animals will visitors see at Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park?
Visitors to Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park will see buffalos, olive baboons, Bushbuck, Impala, Mongoose, porcupines, bushbucks, baboons, leopards, colobus monkey, vervet monkey, and bush pig.