Have you always fancied spending the night in a treehouse? I have, ever since having a treehouse as a child. Well you can make that dream come true in Africa by staying in one of their famous safari treehouses in either Kenya or Tanzania.
One of the most famous treehouses of all is Treetops which is where Queen Elizabeth was staying when she learned of her father’s death and when she became Queen. This historic treehouse was built in 1932 in Aberdare National Park in Kenya. This treehouse started life as a platform built up high in the trees for watching game safely whilst still being in close proximity to the wildlife. The wife of the original owner was a fan of treehouses so he built it for her. They added a couple of rooms to the platform to make it more permanent and sheltered from the elements which is pretty much how it was in 1952 when the Princess Elizabeth stayed there. Nowadays it is a 50 roomed hotel built from timber and still based around the original trees close to a popular watering hole. It has been built to blend in with the trees with timber panelling and lifted up on stilts to look even more treelike. It is a popular hotel with excellent facilities, a real sense of history and being on a major elephant migration route it is a wonderful place for game viewing.
Another popular treehouse hotel is Mountain Lodge also in Kenya. Based on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya in pristine forest this timbered tree hotel sweeping views across the tree-canopy and walking tours through the surrounding forest. It is actually quite high being built at 2,134 metres above sea level meaning that the lodge remains cool and tranquil unlike much of Kenya especially in the winter months. The game viewing from here is spectacular with an open-air viewing-deck looking down on to the lodge’s own water hole and salt-lick, which both attract large numbers of elephant. Although called Mountain Lodge due to its location on Mount Kenya this really is a proper treehouse. It is raised on stilts above the forest canopy with a timbered drawbridge leading in from the forest and up on to the wooden ‘decks’ of the lodge. It also feels a bit like a wooden ship as it is panelled throughout and the rooms are styled like log cabins appropriate to its mountain location. Activities include guided walks through the forest, trout fishing in the clear mountain streams, trips to the high moorlands of the mountain, and 5-day luxury climbs of the mountain. Mount Kenya (5,199 m) is Kenya’s highest mountain, and also a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site and although not as famous as Kilimanjaro it is most definitely worth a visit.
Finally our third treehouse is in neighbouring Tanzania and is also called Treetops. This treehouse is in the wonderful Tarangire National Park. Centred about a Main Lodge – which itself encases a thousand year-old baobab tree, Tarangire Treetops comprises of 20 treehouses all of which are elevated above the ground affording views over the tops of trees. This is a truly atmospheric and unique place to stay whilst in Tanzania. Each private treehouse boasts large bedrooms and en suite bathrooms. With furnishings that create warmth and demonstrate a commitment to local craftsmanship, the ‘up-in-the-air’ experience is completed by the open-fronted room design affording views across the Tarangire plains from an expansive but private balcony. Tarangire has the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem and is a fantastic place to stay for world beating game viewing.