Treetops Lodge Hotel located in Aberdare National Park, Nyeri, Kenya is the original tree lodge in Kenya and is world famous for its location facing a water hole and a salt lick in the Aberdares National Park as well as its historical royal connection. The lodge lies at 6,450 feet above sea level. The famous Treetops hotel started life in a very humble way. In 1932 its first visitors gingerly climbed the wild fig tree supporting the two room tree house. By 1952, Treetops had expanded. Now a four room construction, Treetops welcomed, in February of the same year, its most famous visitor.
A young English girl climbed the tree as a Princess one afternoon, to descend the following morning Queen Elizabeth I I - her father, King George VI had died during the night. By now, Treetops lodge reputation had spread far and wide and for the globetrotter, the rich, the famous and the fashionable no safari in Kenya was regarded was complete without experiencing the Treetops hotel adventure. Even today, with all the exciting safari lodges and camps Kenya has to offer, 50 room Treetops hotel heads the list for many tourists.
Sited in the heart of the dense lichen hung forest for the Aberdare National Park's Salient, Treetops overlooks two waterholes and magnificent snowy peaks of Mount Kenya.
For the safety and comfort of several observation lounges, guests can photograph at close quarters the territorial charge of short sighted rhino, a protective elephant matriarch chaperoning her calf, the graceful bounding of a bushbuck doe. Families of lions, have on more than one occasion, made a meal of some poor unfortunate warthog to the fascinated horror of Treetops diners.
Dinner is served and interrupted by a party of elephants. For some, it’s the excitement of having the worlds largest land mammals in residence. Daniel Musau who has worked at the Treetops Lodge for close to two decades and welcomed prince Edward and his wife at treetops will tell you that when Mount Kenya invisible, it means the gods are having a closed door meeting. In the spotlight below, a baby elephant is busy trying to shake something off its trunks as the mother stays close bye.
The silent is busy with the resident animals all scrambling for a drink at the water hole, one taking a midnight muddy bath in the shallow waters. Their antics are well- known amongst the staff.” If you look at the buffaloes, you’ll see that many are missing a tail. Its because of these hyenas,” says Daniel. The black rhino and her calf walk the exact path to the waterhole, drink, linger for a while and then disappear into the darkness. The good news is that the Aberdare rhino population is increasing. There is an estimated 65 in the 776 square kilometers park.
Treetops Hotel has had its share of drama. The original tree house, constructed in 1932, was burnt down during by the Mau Mau freedom fighters in 1954. It was from this tree house that a princess climbed down as the queen of the British Empire – Queen Elizabeth. Undeterred Sherbrooke Walker went on to built a new one in 1957.
THE Queen returned in 1983 and spent the night in the Queen Elizabeth suite, one of the two self contained suites facing the waterhole with its private balcony
Things have changed over time. In the 1950s, he animal migration routes were still intact between Mt Kenya and the Aberdares. Elephants and other mega- herbivores like rhinos and buffaloes have followed the grass routes for centuries, allowing the grasses to regenerate. Today, the Aberdare national park is farmed up to the fence line. In the hotel lobby, a poster catches my eye. It’s from the Rhino Ark in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the custodians of the country’s wildlife heritage.
To reduce the conflict between the animals and farmers, the wildlife partners came up with the idea of fence. So far 265 kilometers have been completed with 85 to go. The reasons given for the fencing are that it will conserve the water catchment as the aberdares are one of the five water towers of Kenya; it will conserve its indigenous forest and the rhinos and other wildlife; it will bring humans in harmony with the habitat and wildlife. Anyone wishing to support the project can donate US$20 which will take care of one meter of fence or US$100 which will build five meters of fence.
After a late breakfast in the company of the buffaloes at the Treetops, you depart for the Outspan Hotel which is the base hotel for Treetops Lodge. Built in 1928 by Sherbrooke Walker and his wife Lady Bettie, it has kept its charm of the past. By the Kirinyaga tavern, you will meet with a famous patron of the tavern- the resident peacock.
Treetops Lodge Hotel Accommodation
Going to Treetops hotel is done in groups from the Outspan Hotel in Nyeri. The last bust leaves at 5:00pm. Because of the particular conditions at Treetops hotel, children below 7 are not allowed at the lodge.
The 50 cabins are very small, an explanation for leaving bulky luggage overnight at Aberdare Country Club and allowing just one handbag to each person.
Nights at Treetops are very cold and therefore, endeavor to put a few clothes for warmth in your luggage. Some of the small houses have a private bathroom, while the rest share showers and toilets.
Treetops Hotel boasts of accommodation such as; the lodge, suites, villas, grounds and estates.
- Private en suite bathrooms
- Cable/ satellite TV
- Buzzer system to alert guests
- 3 pin square point electricity sockets
- 220-110v shaving outlets
The villas with an exquisite furnishing have:
- Luxurious bedroom
- Spacious bathroom with spa bath
- Lavish lounge with fireplace and small kitchenette
- Treetops Lodge Hotel facilities:
Mount Kenya's breath taking view is visible on clear mornings. Treetops hotel have open balconies for viewing and photography; two photographic hides at ground level at either end of the lodge allow really close shots of unsuspecting animals. There is an optional buzzer in every room that alerts the guests if something special were to show up at night. As the game comes to the lodge, no game drives or walking Safaris are needed.
On the roof-top, feeders are set out for the birds at afternoon tea-time, and these often attract Olive Baboons. These are so tame that it is tempting to feed or pet them, but you must not - they can become dangerous. Later, after dinner, (an experience in itself) food is put out for bush babies, which you are very unlikely to see in other circumstances. Genets are also likely to come in for food. See the big 5 coming down to the waterhole for a drink as well as many other species of animal and bird.
Treepot hotel is well equipped with facilities like:
- Restaurant serving health dishes that are created using the locally grown produce
- 2 bars; the main bar and Malaika bar
- Lavish lounge with a fireplace and overlooks the waterhole
- 4 decks and rooftop viewing platform
- Swimming pool
- Game drives
- Photographic hides at the ground level
- Conference facilities
- Telephone services
- Bureau de change
- Gift shop