Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (UK), Emperor Haile Selassie, Kenya's founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, former President Daniel Arap Moi and President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda have little in common except for a small tree-house at the heart of the Aberdares forest.
All these historical figures spent a night at the little known Treetops Hotel in Nyeri County where they viewed the beauty of nature on top of a house set up on a tree.
Treetops was first built in 1932 by a colonial military officer and hotelier - Eric Sherbrooke Walker. The hotel was literally built on top of trees at the Aberdare National Park as a treehouse, offering the guests a close view of the local wildlife in complete safety.
Treetops’ birth was inspired by the desire to shoot wildlife from a vintage but safe angle.
Treetops rose to fame when Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and the Duke of Edinburgh visited on 6th February 1952 and after spending a night at the treehouse, she was pronounced queen after King George VI passed away in his sleep.
According to a visitors' log book at treetops, Princess Elizabeth described the experience as the best thing in her life and the next day, she became her majesty the queen.
"For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess and, after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree next day a Queen," a note at the hotel signed by one Escort and Jim Corbett, who were at the hotel at the time, described Princess Elizabeth's experience.
The queen’s visit opened the floodgate for other dignitaries to tour the place but the initial tree house was torched down in 1954 during the Mau Mau uprising.
It was rebuilt and opened again in July 1957 featuring seven bedrooms from the initial two.
In 1964 after Emperor of Ethiopia visited Kenya and together with Mzee Kenyatta - who was Prime Minister at the time - they toured the hotel. They also enjoyed the magnificent view of the wildlife.
After the death of Kenyatta, President Moi visited the hotel as well as President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda.
In October 2011, the hotel was closed for a major renovation and refurbishment of the rooms until April 2012. It was re-branded using a mixture of concrete and tree barks to maintain its originality.
One of the rooms out of the 36 was named ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Suite’ in commemoration of the 1952 event. Since then, it still attracts both national and local tourists.
Here are the photos:
The First tree house where Queen Elizabeth slept.
See Treetops Hotel, Where Queen Elizabeth, Moi and Haille Sellasie Spent a Night Reviewed by on 10:43:00 PM Rating: