Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park known as the “ultimate Panoramic experience” is located in the Kyanzavi division in Machakos County in Kenya.  The park was established in 1967 naming it as Ol Donyo Sabuk which means the large Maasai Mountain. It’s situated in the North of Nairobi city around 65 kilometers. The park sits in an area of 20 square kilometers, the park is built around the slopes and summit of Oldonyo Sabiuk hills

The rugged outcrop of the ancient rocks that jut high above the plains of Athi gives a clear view of the Kenya capital city Nairobi. 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” The park can be easily reached from the Nairobi city just I hour drive and you reach to the lush cool fresh air parked with scenic views of Ol Donyo Sabuk national park.

There is only one route that trekkers use to hike up to the summit, the mountain is 360 meters above sea level. The only route passes through the 14 falls of River Athi. Lying down the slopes is the Athi River that is a source of life for hundreds of wildlife found at the park.  The park was first settled by the European Explorer Lord William Northrop McMillan). He settled here with his wife before they both died and up to date the 3 graves of the explore family are still here as you approach the summit. He and his wife and their dog were buried here which acts as a great attraction at the park. Lord Williams left here from 1872 to 1925 with his wife Lady Lucie.

The Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is a home of a wide range of animals especially the Buffalos, baboons, Bushbuck, Impala, Duiker and more than 40 species of birds. One can also enjoy the scenic view of Mt Kenya while at the park and African highest mountain Mt Kilimanjaro.

Attractions in Ol Donyo Sabuk national park

Dominated by the montane forest and the small mountain, Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is a home of a wide range of attractions that guests can enjoy while on their safari at the park. Below are the highlighted attractions in the park.

Montane landscape: The park is dominated by Mt Oldonyo Sabuk that is located at the center of the park. Getting its name from the largest mountain around the park that attracts 80% of the guests who visit the park. The mountain rises to 2,145 meters, the terrain of the slope requires one to have a 4×4 wheel car in order to reach the starting point of hiking. As one approaches the summit one is welcomed by the graves of the family of lord Williams who were buried here. The mountain can be hiked in only one day before we embark on any other activities at the park.

The Burial Site of Lord William McMillan: Lord William was the first European to reach and settle in Ol Donyo Sabuk national park and he lived there with his wife Lucie and their dog. After their death, all three family members were buried in the same destination. It’s one of the attractions that guests come to view during their visits to the Ol Donyo Sabuk national park.

Bird Species: The size of the park does not affect the number of bird species at the park but the wide range of habitats at the Ol Donyo Sabuk national park gives an added advantage to the birders. 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.

Mammals: Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is gifted with more wildlife apart from bird species. The park is a home of more than 200 buffalos which are the dominant mammals at the park. Other animals include Mongoose, porcupines, bushbucks, baboons, leopards, extra. 

Fourteen falls: The fourteen Falls is located inside the park in River Athi, it’s one of the attractions that offer romantic scenic beauty of the land. It’s both a traditional and religious site that has an impact on both Asian immigrants and residents of the area. The Asians use it as a recreational and spiritual site. They dispose of their ashes for the loved ones who have died as they believe the water reaches and delivers their ashes to India. The Fourteen Falls is geographically raised at an altitude of 1400 meters above seas level.

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
14 Falls in Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Scenic view of Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro: Not very close to the Mountains of Kenya and Kilimanjaro but due to a high raised level that makes guests have a clear view of Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro at clear day. This adds the scenic view of the adventure. 

Activities at Ol Donyo Sabuk national park

Mountain climbing: Mountain climbing is one of the key activities done at Ol Donyo Sabuk national park. The trek is not very challenging but full of adventure and scenic views. The hike to the summit can be done in hours with a stop for historical event and visits to the Lord William’s graveyard. Birders enjoy the hike very well s you keep viewing different bird species as vegetation changes. 

Game viewing: Game viewing/Game Drives can be done by safari car or by walking safaris. The most seen animals are the large herds of Buffalos which are always live in groups. On lucky days guests enjoy the shy leopards though not easy to see but are always seen. Other animals include Baboons, bushbuck, porcupine, Mongoose, and others. Walking safaris are rare unless with the escort of the ranger guide due to the presence of the leopards.

Birding: With over 40 bird species, the birders enjoy trekking around the mountain as they look for rare bird species. Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is a home of permanent residents with few migratory birds with both forests and open savannah bird species.

Visit the waterfalls: A visit to this historical site is remarkable with both historical and scenic views of the waterfalls. Fourteen waterfalls are considered as a spiritual shrine where they go and dispose of their ashes. The site links to the Indian ocean where they will link it to the homeland, the residents also go here for recreation purposes.

Ol Donyo Sabuk national park is one of the easy but more experiential as one kills two birds using one stone. Enjoy the fresh African air during your safari to Ol Donyo Sabuk national park.

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