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Treetops

Kenya

Treetops is the best known Night Viewing Lodge in Africa, due to the fact that it was when Princess Elizabeth was staying there that she became Queen, although she did not know it at the time.

When staying at Treetops, the procedure is that you book in at The Outspan, of interest to Boy Scouts as the place where B-P lived for the latter part of his life. There is a small museum there.

After a buffet lunch, you transfer up to Treetops by bus, entering Aberdare National Park en route. If there is any interesting wildlife to be seen, your driver will stop and point it out, allowing time to photograph it if possible. Black-and-white Colobus monkeys are an attractive possibility.

There is an option (at extra cost!) to take a game drive in the Aberdares on your way to Treetops, and if the weather is fine, it's a very nice thing to do, as the habitat is so different to what it is in the main parks. However, if it's raining, give it a miss: you won't see much, and they'll truncate the drive without giving you a refund!

Treetops

If it isn't raining, you are met at the entrance to Treetops by the duty 'Hunter' and walk up to Treetops, getting a lovely view on the way.
It is a short, level walk, but disabled people can take the bus right up to the door, which is what happens when it is raining. When you get to Treetops there is afternoon tea waiting, on the roof if it is dry, or in one of the lounges if it is wet. A big hint is to take one of the spare blankets which is waiting at the entrance as you go in - it can get very cold at night, especially in July. Following afternoon tea, there is an optional, but very informative, talk about Treetops - both the historical aspects, "She came up a princess and went down a Queen", and the natural history of the area (Do you know the difference between a deer and an antelope?) - "They're not Water Buffalos in Africa"
The rooms are small, overlooking the waterhole, and do not have ensuite facilities - instead there are communal, separate sex, wash/shower rooms and toilets. However, the last time I visited, there were extensive building works going on, so this might have changed.

Note that Treetops was formerly a Block lodge, but with the collapse of the Block group, is now under new management. I have not visited since it changed hands.

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 bushbabies, which you are very unlikely to see in other circumstances. Genets are also likely to come in for food. (In 2002 we were told the visiting bushbaby had died, and as of July no replacement had appeared.)

Olive Baboon

If you're lucky, there may be some animals coming down to the waterhole before it gets dark, as here, when a buffalo herd came down. Sometimes, many elephants may have arrived, even before you did. If there have not been buffalo or elephants at the waterhole during daylight, buzzers will sound if they come through the night, or if there is a rhino, lion or leopard.
In the morning, you are wakened up very early and can have a cup of tea or coffee before being bussed back to The Outspan for breakfast and being reunited with your safari driver/guide, or bussed back to Nairobi.

Treetops Waterhole
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