Attraction Details

Ol Donyo Sabuk

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map of Kenya
Map of Kenya
Nearest city Thika
Coordinates view on map
Area 20.7 km²
Governing body Kenya Wildlife Service

Ol Donyo Sabuk (in Kikuyu, Kilimambogo, Kilima Mbogo) is a mountain and an adjacent small town near Thika central Kenya. The town is located in Kyanzavi Division, Machakos County The peak, height 2,145 metres (7,037 ft), was named by Maasai pastoralists, meaning big mountain. The Swahili name, Kilima Mbogo, means Buffalo Hill or Mountain. The town stands at the border between Machakos County and Kiambu County. Lord Macmillan was the first white man to settle here, and everything else that has happened since is largely attributed to him (see below: ). The town is quite dusty, due to deforestation and loose ground cover, compounded by occasional rainfall. However, the area is adorned with lots of untamed beauty.

The town is located about 18.5 km (11.5 mi) east-southeast of Thika, along the Thika-Garissa road (A3 road). Driving on Garissa Road from Thika town, there are pineapple plantations on both sides, accentuated by little pockets of blooming eucalyptus. About 18 kilometres (11 mi) east of Thika, there is a junction going south, with Kenya Wildlife Service markings. It will be a 3-kilometre (1.9 mi) drive from here to the famous Fourteen Falls, described as one of Kenya's most spectacular landmarks. By the river is Kilimambogo Teachers College, and Immaculate Heart of Mary mission hospital. Donyo Sabuk town is a kilometre (half-mile) away from Fourteen Falls, just across the Athi River, with a junction leading to the game park, and the other to the great house of Donyo Sabuk.

Down past the 7,037 ft (2,145-metre) mountain base sits Donyo Sabuk town, a town that has retained many things that Lord Macmillan bequeathed the area. Here, partying goes on well into the night, and there are a number of "boys’ bands", where the box guitar is still in vogue. This musical town is the hometown of the late Kamba musician Kakai Kilonzo, late legendary Sila of Kilunda fame, and the still-active Gä'thika boys band.

Near the peak is the grave of Lord Macmillan, his wife and their dog. Also, there is an extra grave of one Louise, who started working for the Macmillan's when she was age 13 until her death.

In what was once one of the biggest ranches in Kenya, there are five towns inside the former Juja Ranch. The rural area is a multi-ethnic community in farms owned by people who were former squatters and his farm labourers. The mountain peak is inside a game park, and the rest is partially owned by the Kenyatta family.

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