The park was established in 1967, to protect wildlife, birds and physical features surrounding it. It covers over 20sqkms, and part of its land is covered by the breath taking Ol Donyo Sabuk Mountain, which is part of the highlight in the park. The park takes its name after this mountain. In Masai Language the name means: ‘the big Mountain’, and in Kikuyu language, the name means: ‘the Mountain of the Buffalo’. The Park has a lot of beautiful things to see that have existed for years and attracted many to have a glimpse of this beauty. There more sites in the nearby towns which we have identified that you shouldn’t miss.
How to access the Park
The park can be easily accessed by road transport. You can use air transport to Nairobi City then continue with road transport to the park.
With road transport, you can use public or private means, reach Thika and use Thika Garissa road to Makutano Junction and follow the Kenya Wildlife Service signs on the road to reach the park. It’s only 65km from Nairobi City. A small entry fee is payable at the main entrance.
What to bring
Considering that the weather in the park is mainly sunny and the activities you will engage in, you will need to bring light clothing, a hat, sunglasses, sandals, hiking boots, sunscreen, drinking bottled water, sweet snacks, a camera, binoculars, camping equipment, mosquito net, light rain coat, back pack, containers for packing picnic food, among other things that you may need.
Things to do
There so many activities that await you and all you have to do is enjoy and have a wonderful time. The most interesting are as below.
This is one of the most enjoyed activities in the park at Ol Donyo Sabuk Mountain. Its 10km to reach the peak but achievable in 2 or 3 hours according to one’s fitness.
Be part of the drives in search for wildlife in the area. Guided tours are arranged I the park for tourists to have clear views of animals in the park that can easily be spotted in the short grass, along water sources, and in their comfortable grounds. Buffalos are the commonest to see.
This activity is interesting for there a few times where one sees so many birds and of different kinds. Birds with in Kenya and surrounding areas will be at your disposal. You will see the rarest of birds and yet so clearly especially with binoculars.
These guided safaris are nice for one to have a feel of the place and to enjoy nature to the fullest. Sometimes you have to reach where a car can’t and enjoy what lies there. You will visit the rivers, walk along the foothills of the mountain and tour I the forest.
There’s a spacious ground for camping. All you will need is you camping equipment and have an amazing time with time or friends. You will enjoy the sun set and rise and not forgetting the sights and sounds of wildlife in the place.
The park is a wonderful ground for lunching out. Even the places close to it that you will get an opportunity to visit like The Fourteen falls, will be ideal for the activity.
When to go
The weather in the park is mainly hot and dry. There are few months when the park receives rain. The driest season is between January and March. April to June is wet and hot while from July to October, it’s warm and dry. November and December is warm and wet. The park can be visited all times of the year. But in the dry season most activities are easy especially game watching, hiking, nature walks, and mountain climbing
When it rains in the park, mountain climbing, hiking and nature walks and game viewing might get trick. It might require one to wait for the rain to stop before they proceed with the activities.
At a lighter note however, wildlife stays in the park come rain come sunshine and it’s during the wet season when birds are many in the park.
The park has various attractions, some of which might require you more time to fully exhaust them. The best that the park has re as follows.
One of the highlight of the park are these animals that will be a t your disposal one you visit the park. The huge and small creatures have a home in this amazing park. You will be able to see them closely during game drives, or on a wake safari, or during a hike or any other activity within the park. That’s why it’s always safer to walk with a guide with in the park. You will enjoy the likes of olive baboon, duiker, mongoose, white colobus monkey, skyes monkey, leopards, bush back, bush babies, porcupine, water bucks, Kirk’s dik dik, bush pigs, Aardvark, rock hyrax, tree and ground squirrel, buffaloes, and impala, among others. These will either be roaming in the park or at water sources.
The park has 45 bird species that have a home. These beauties can be enjoyed during day according to what you will have on your schedule. It will take a few hours if you give it time and with binocular, you will see almost all of flying creatures. There more birds that join the group especially in the wet season, so you will have a lot to see. The likes of bronze sunbird, ring necked dove, helmeted guinea fowl, white browed sparrow weaver, augur buzzard, mourning dove, purple breasted sunbird, grey headed sparrow weaver, African hawk eagle, speckled mouse bird, yellow vented bulbul, African pied wagtail, great sparrow hawk, grey tit, starling, Mackinnon grey shrike, and bateleur, among others. You don’t need to be a bird lover to enjoy this.
Mountain Ol Donyo Sabuk
The peak of the park stands at 2,145m high, this huge mountain has attracted many to see its beauty. On this mountain you can enjoy a hike to its peak which can take 2 to 3 hours and on to you will enjoy the most beautiful views of the park and places close by. You will see forests, wildlife birds and enjoy the feeling of being in space.
Kilimambogo summit hike
Kilimambogo is a region close where tis summit lies. The news on this is that once you take a hike and have wonderful views of both Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mountain Kenya snowcapped peaks clearly. There a few spots where a couple of these mountains can be seen son you will need to grab the opportunity and enjoy these features.
The Fourteen falls
These breathtaking falls that lie a few meters from the park are a must see. The splashing water that is on top of rocks is amazing to see. The place is a wonderful ground for picnicking as you enjoy amazing views. The environment is very cool and welcoming. When you go you won’t be along, the place is vested by Asians, locals and other tourists for different reasons, but most common are spiritual.
Sir William Northrup Macmillan
You can’t talk about the park and fail to talk about the man in question. He was the first white to settle in the area and all that exists in the town was due to his efforts. Historical men like Tom Mboya have an attachment to him. Around 1905 he settled in the area with his wife, built a castle, raised a farm and improved so many things that were used in the community and until now. Sir William, his wife and dog wife were buried close to the summit and their ground s are tourist sites as well as the buildings they constructed. Their castle is still intact and can be visited all time of day.
The landscape of the park is amazing. It’s one of the few with a dense forest, a mountain, plains, Athi River, and gardens close by yet in the city.
Within the park there campsites, and tourists can also have their own camping. Hotels, lodges, guest houses and other places of accommodation can be got from closer towns like Thika, and Machako, among others, where they provide luxury, midrange and budget accommodation and equipped with facilities for the different categories.
Luxury Include: Machakos Suites Luxury Hotel, Ol Donyo Sapuk Resort, Blue Post Hotel, Scenic View Hotel and Resort, and Royale Guest House Thika, and many more.
Midrange Include: The Luke Hotel Cravers Thika, The Coconut Grill, among others.
Budget Include: Jobcamp House, Sabuk Guest House, Malazi Thika and so much more.
In conclusion, the park is one of the must see places once you visit Kenya. There’s a lot that you will learn from what you will see. You will also have a wonderful time if you make early booking and also spare time to engage in all activities in the park.