Just outside the Amboseli National Park, perched on a ridge in the foothills of the Chyulu Hills is Ol Donyo Lodge, Richard Bonham's exclusive hideaway. All suites have been created with style and luxury in mind, and include an en suite bathroom, lounge, private star beds on a walled roof accessed by an attractive winding staircase. Watch darkness fall over the whole Kilimanjaro massif, then be transfixed by the canopy of stars.
Ol Donyo, the land falls away, stretching for miles in green and golden waves with strange shaped hills, volcanic craters and flat-topped acacia trees. The Kilimanjaro massif with its famous snow capped peak towers along the horizon line. The scenery is diverse and spectacular. Ol Donyo means "The Spotted Hills" in Maasai, and it is situated miles from any major settlement on a 270,000 acre area leased from the Maasai people. This means that it is remote, completely quiet, and - vitally important for stargazing - absolutely free of the light pollution which afflicts urban areas.
Ol Donyo Lodge and its sister property, Mara Plains Camp, are the only Relais & Chateaux hotels in Kenya. It’s also one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. What justifies these accolades is that Ol Donyo Lodge is filled with unique features, in particular the fabulous star beds. Each of the villas has a low walled roof terrace which is open to the elements. Here you will find an incredibly romantic four poster bed veiled with fine white fabrics. The only light here is from the lanterns, the moon, and the stars. It is the natural breeze which sets the temperature.
Staying in Ol Donyo’s star beds is an incredibly peaceful experience. Although you have all the facilities and comforts of your room down below, here on the rooftop you feel much more closely connected to nature. This includes listening to the nocturnal calls, squawks, and snuffles of the birds and mammals around you, feeling the breeze or even occasional light drops of rain on your skin, and then coming gently to in the early morning as the first rays of sunlight break over the horizon. The cool, fresh air has a particular taste and smell. Breathe it all in deeply.