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Oldonyo Sabuk National Park Hiking Trip takes you to Ol Donyo Sabuk mountain, also known as Kilimambogo or Buffalo Mountain. Oldonyo Sabuk National Park is situated about 70 km northeast of Nairobi, and about 25 km east of Thika town.
The park covers an area of about 20 square km, with most of its surface covered by a natural forest and habited by buffalo, monkeys, antelopes, and other grazers. Ol Donyo Sabuk mountain stands at 2145 meters (7,037 feet) above sea level.
The mountain offers panoramic views of the surrounding plains and the distant Nairobi to the south, Masinga Dam and Mt. Kenya to the north, and Mt. Kilimanjaro to the west. Oldonyo means ‘mountain’ in Masai, and Sabuk means ‘buffalo’, so this is literally the mountain of the buffalo.
As the name suggests, buffalo are regularly spotted on the hillside. The major attractions include the mountain landscape, the Macmillan grave (Lord Macmillan was among the first white settlers in the area), wildlife watching, and forest birds.
Walking to the summit; The hiking trip begins and ends at the Ol Donyo Sabuk Park Gate. The 9km climb to the top takes between 2 to 3 hours depending on your level of fitness. The hiking takes about 5 hours round trip. The terrain is described as a rough boulder-strewn motorable road, with part of the hike along steep rocky trails. It’s a moderate hike, with some steep climbing.
At the Park Gate, there is a serviced campsite for those who wish to spend the night and do the hike very early when the chances of sighting herds of buffaloes are much higher.
Hikers are required to be accompanied by a Kenya Wildlife Service ranger for security against buffalo attacks. All along the way up, you encounter a stunning array of flora that thrives here undisturbed by human exploitation.
Barely 2 km from the top, you pass by the grave of Lord William Northrup MacMillan, an American who owned the mountain and a large estate around it during the colonial era.
About 3km from Ol Donyo Sabuk is the Fourteen Falls on Athi River, an attraction not to be missed when you are in the neighborhood. Access to the Waterfalls is currently managed by Thika County Council.
The fourteen falls – is a spectacular spot along the Athi River where the water cascades over cliffs in a series of picturesque waterfalls.
Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1 Day Hiking Trip Itinerary
0700 Hours: Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1 Day Hiking Trip departs at Nairobi by road traveling towards the central highlands of Thika.
0830 Hours: We arrive at Ol Donyo Sabuk Park Gate. The mountain stand at 2,145 meters high/ 7037 feet.
0900 Hours: We start the hike which takes about 5 hours. For hiking enthusiasts, this mountain is ideal for a day hike. The 9.2 km’s climb to the top takes between 2 to 3 hours depending on your level of fitness, with the descent taking another 2 hours.
On your Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1 Day Hiking Trip you will be accompanied by a Kenya wildlife ranger for security against buffalo attacks. All along the way up, you encounter a stunning array of flora that thrives here undisturbed by human exploitation.
Barely 2 km from the top, you pass by the grave of Lord William Northrup MacMillan, an American who owned the mountain during the colonial era.
Just one road leads to its summit, which offers magnificent 360′ panoramas over the Athi River, the pineapple fields of Thika, and the snow-capped peaks of both Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya.
1400 Hours: A picnic lunch will be provided at the base of the Oldonyo Sabuk picnic site.
1500 Hours: On our way back, pass by the famous Fourteen Falls before our return to Nairobi.
1800 Hours: Expected time of arrival in Nairobi. Drop off at your residence/ Hotel
Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1 Day Hiking Trip Prices
Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1 Day Hiking Trip Rates Includes:
Picnic Lunch Box + Bottle water for the day + A visit to the fourteen falls in Thika + Services of a local guide for the hiking Tour + All entrance fees for the park, service charge and taxes + Pickup from your hotel in Nairobi and drop-off to your hotel + Escort of an Armed Ranger from the Kenya Wildlife services & Professional English speaking guides. All are experts in the African wildlife, culture, and tour guiding, many of who speak other European languages
|Dates From||Dates To||Price Per Person||Children Aged 3 to 11 Years|
|1st January 2023||31st December 2023||Request for rates||Request for rates|
* This tour departs daily from Nairobi Hotels or from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport or from any point within Nairobi
* What to bring; Hooded rain jacket, your spirit of adventure, comfortable trekking shoes, a good camera, binoculars, sunglasses, an extra change of clothes (t-shirt and bottom slacks), a shading cap/ hat, sunblock cream, drinking water, medication you might be on, pain killers and pocket money
* Driving to the summit; The Park’s one road leads directly to the summit (4WD is required all year round), a flat open glade marked by a large survey beacon. The summit is the focus of
the park offers breathtaking views, especially in December and January when the air is particularly clear
Oldonyo Sabuk National Park 1-Day Hiking Trip Rates Do Not Include:
* Tips or gratuity
* Travelers Insurance
* Communication charges
* Minimum of one person required
* Visas, international airfares, and airport taxes; meals
* Sightseeing not included in the package; optional activities
* Personal expenses such as transfers to/ from the airport (supplement airport transfer cost applies for tours starting from the airport)
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park offers great views of high mountains like Mt Kenya and Mt. Kilimanjaro. Visitors can reach the top of the solitary mountain in the park using 4×4 vehicles. The Park is particularly attractive for hikers or families wanting some freedom and exercise out of their vehicle.
Guests can also walk to the summit about 9 kilometers from the main gate (where 2WD vehicles may be left). You however require an armed Kenya Wildlife Service ranger with you to protect you from any encounters with buffalo, as they are actually very dangerous. The walk to the summit takes around 3 hours.
Kenya Wildlife Service ranger must be booked through the warden and a small fee is payable for their services. There is one camping site in the park. Visitors should approach the park via the lovely Fourteen Falls on the Chania River. The graves of Sir William Northrop Macmillan (1872-1925) and his wife Lady Lucie lie near the summit.
The American had arrived in Kenya in 1901 for big game hunting and had played host to Roosevelt during the latter’s 1911 safari. The ranch “Juja Farm” where he hosted Roosevelt is popular among film crews. The couple is known for creating the Macmillan Library in central Nairobi. Visitors can also observe animals like the baboon, colobus, bushbuck, impala, duiker, and a variety of birds.
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park day tour departs at 08:00 hours from Nairobi – drive north and on the Thika town and proceed to the park and explore. Later have lunch at the picnic site then proceed to 14 falls (fourteen falls) via pineapple plantations, mid-afternoon proceeding to Nairobi arriving in the evening.
Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park Unusual Burial Site
7 km along the road that leads to the summit lies the grave of Sir William Northrup McMillan, a wealthy American farmer. Here also rests his wife, her maid, and the family dog.
Born in St Louis, USA, Sir McMillan was nearly seven feet tall and reputedly so fat that he had to walk through most doors sideways (his First World War sword belt measured five feet four inches).
The first person to experiment with the domestication of wild game in Africa, Sir McMillan also attempted to breed wildebeest on his farm, juja, a large estate at the foot of the mountain. Extrovert and sociable, he made the top of 0l Donyo his social domain where he dispensed a degree of hospitality that became almost legendary.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901- 1909), stayed at juja in 1909 while on safari in Kenya. Sir McMillan decided the mountain was the most fitting place for his own burial.’He was buried on Ol Donyo Sabuk.
The hearse was made with skis on the bottom and a tractor-pulled it up the hill, followed by the mourners. Many cars burned out their clutch plates, so the burial took place there instead of at the top, which had been the original plan.