Tree Top Lodge- Top Mountain Lodge Aberdare National Park Kenya

A morning mist drifts silently by. We’re on the roof top of the most famous tree house in the world, the tree tops.

There’s always something new to read and discover in its reign of history. Like, half a century apart, someone must have stood on an icy cold morning like this one, looking over the brow of the mountainous range. There was little to be seen because of the mist, I read in one of the books on the history of this world famous place.

In the written hand of Sherbrooke Walker who built he tree house in October 1952, he enters “it rained all night long”. Visibility was poor and the party which he escorted didn’t see much. But another party in 1952 spends six days in the tree house and writes “Six days and nights in the tree makes it seem much closer to heaven than earth. It is with regret that we have to go below “. Its writer is Almond al Millet from Hollywood. Could this person have been in the same party as the legendary Walt Disney who also visited Treetops in 1952? I wonder.

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.

The night passes. God’s mighty mountain is well shrouded. Daniel Musau who has worked for the establishment for close to two decades and welcomed prince Edward and his wife at treetops tells us that when the mountain is invisible, it means the gods are having a closed door meeting. For the two days that were in its shadows,Kenyas towering massif remains hidden in the mists.

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. Meanwhile, the rhino ranger has taken his digital pictures which he shows me on his powerful camera. The data will be entered into the national rhino database. The good news is that the Aberdare rhino population is increasing. There is an estimated 65 in the 776 square kilometers park.

Treetops 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. Its 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, we depart for the outspan which is the base hotel for Treetops . Built in 1928 by Sherbrooke Walker and his wife Lady Bettie, it has kept its charm of the past. By the Kirinyaga tavern , we meet with a famous patron of the tavern- the resident peacock.

“Now that you have your cameras out, he will come to the front and pose for you,”Paul Nguyo, the sales executive of the hotel comments. For sure,it soon comes to the pub and in a flurry of feathers opens it tail like a fan,undeterred by us.

Not far from the Outspan is the Agikuyu Peace Museum. It’s a small museum, very nondescript from the outside. But inside

By: Joe Mwangi

About the Author:

Joe mwangi a Tour consultant based in Nairobi Kenya with http://www.landmarksafaris.com . We are able to organise every aspect of planning your kenya Africa safari, kenya business travel, complete with hotel bookings, car rentals, air/rail bookings, activities transfers plus provide you with an itinerary that suits your personal requirements. http://www.landmarksafaris.com takes the hassles out of planning and booking your Kenya vacation. No matter what your Africa Kenya travel requirements http://landmarksafaris.com Kenya will ensure that you have the best possible vacation here in Kenya. For more info contact landmark safaris at info@landmarksafaris.com

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