As a traveler, you can describe Kenya using several adjectives but “boring” won’t be one of them. Not even close. For starters, Kenya is a window to what has been described as the “greatest wildlife show on earth.” That’s the wildebeests’ continuous dramatic fight—and flight for life— that reaches an electrifying crescendo at the Mara River crossing. If there were no other attractions to draw you to Kenya, this would be sufficient reason to start booking your flight.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Fortunately, when it comes to Kenya, nature stands guilty of extravagance, perhaps even wastefulness.The coastline is home to a number of stunning beaches with powder-soft sand and some absolutely amazing views. The interior is world-famous for its national parks where animals, especially the graceful big cats are found in abundance, roaming majestically in the dense jungles or in the rolling savannah grasslands. Yet that’s only half the story. Known in travel circles as the birthplace of safari, Kenya is home to some of the continent’s best hotels and lodges affording awesome views of the stunning African landscape. And for that, the Treetops Lodge, inside the picturesque Aberdare National Park, has few peers.

Treetops Lodge And The Story Of Queen Elizabeth

It was a cold Monday morning, typical of February in England. A few minutes past seven o’clock, a royal servant stood at King George VI’s bedroom door. He composed himself then gently tapped the door. There was no response. He knocked again. Still no response. He called the king’s name softly and waited for a muffled early-morning response. However, the room was still quiet. This was odd because the king was a light sleeper. Jimmy McDonald, therefore, decided to turn the nob and enter the king’s bedroom. He was met by the lifeless body of King George VI. This was the 6th of February 1952. Within minutes, the news of the king’s death had been passed to members of the royal family and top British government officials.

But it couldn’t be publicly announced just yet. Elizabeth, King VI’s daughter and natural heir, was on vacation in Kenya—en route to Australia and New Zealand. On the night her father passed, the princess had checked into the Treetops Lodge a quaint, simple hotel— that was constructed at a spot along an elephant migratory route—and elegantly erected on branches of a fig tree. At a distance, It appeared like a house on a tree branch. Naturally, this spatial layout blends perfectly with nature and affords some of the best, close-up views of animals that frequent this spot. On the evening of 5th February, the princess and her husband checked into their 3-bedroom elevated cottage built on wooden stilts. They then went out, hoping they would catch a sunset glimpse of wildlife at the nearby water-hole.

As the African sun was changing into a stunning orange on the horizon, a herd of elephants, about thirty in number, majestically lumbered onto the area below, swinging their supple trunks, and treading the grounds in loud, regal steps. The forest dirt on their bodies looked pinkish, giving them an odd, beautiful look. Prince and princes frantically clicked their cameras. It was a perfect start to what would be an exciting evening. Too excited to sleep, the princess would frequently return to the spot to watch other animals. She saw warthog, bushbuck, and many baboons. It was around this time that her father was probably breathing her last. But the princess was blissfully unaware.

In the following morning, she took bacon and eggs and threw banana peels at a troop of red-bottomed baboons below. Just before noon, she checked out, thrilled with what had been an amazing encounter with wildlife. When the news finally reached her, they had moved back to Sagana Lodge, now a State Lodge, 38 kilometers away. When the princess had been informed, the Royal family now broke the news to the British public and to the world. The princess-turned queen immediately started making travel preparations for the long trip back to England. Other dignitaries who’ve stayed here include American actress Joan Crawford and comic actor Charlie Chaplin.

  • Direction and Distance of Treetops Lodge: About a 3-hour drive and 159 kilometers from Nairobi towards the north; and 17 kilometers from Nyeri.
  • Cost of a Room at Treetops Lodge: Depends on Room Type (single or double) and the month of stay, but generally ranges from $140 to $250

Related: Here's What Kenya Has To Offer Tourists, As Seen In These Gorgeous Pics

Treetops: A Dream Vacation

For all its fame, perhaps the greatest attraction of Treetops is that it stands at an elevated point between watering holes on either side—that animals frequently visit. This includes buffaloes, elephants, waterbucks, baboons, warthogs, leopards, lions, and if you’re lucky, the black rhino that’s now critically endangered. The animals come terrifyingly close (but safe) that you feel their grunts and rumblings in your skin. Aside from an impressive variety of wildlife, Treetops has many, colorful species of birds. So you better carry your bird-watching binoculars.

For accommodation, the rooms are quaint, with a little dash of old-style charm. All rooms accord amazing views. One of these is reserved for disabled guests. There’s a spacious, cozy lounge—perfect for relaxing while taking in the stunning forest views and the calm, fresh air. So travelers don’t miss a golden chance, an optional buzzer inside the rooms signals guests when an animal spectacle is unfolding at the waterhole. With all these, a visit to Treetops may just be one of your most memorable yet.