Staying at Aberdare Treetops is like getting a box at the opera. Only there's no intermission - so you'll have to cross your legs - as guests sneak about on mandatory soft-soled shoes, whispering gin and tonics to their equally hushed waiters. The show is a large watering hole in the Aberdare National Park, led by frequent appearances of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, eland, hyena, and a chorus of plains game and minor hunters.
Depending on your viewpoint, Treetops Hotel – overnight bags only please - is either a rustic excursion from Outspan, or a five-star game viewing hide. Bathroom facilities are shared among the 48 rooms, a gentle buzzer (optional) alerts you to exciting activity on the 24-hour stage, and the décor has a distinct log cabin feel with varnished wood and patterned fabrics.
Steeped in colonial history, the original Treetops Hotel and its replacement on the opposite side of the waterhole offer a game viewing extravaganza from the comfort of a rustic log cabin. The hotel has turrets, verandahs, decks, ground-level hides and even the rooms look out over the waterhole. A floodlight provides a constant full moon and you can opt to be alerted when any interesting animals arrive at the waterhole. The result is a strange sense of voyeurism as the animals go about oblivious of your presence – provided you abide by the strict rules of silence, that is.