Last weekend, we went to Aberdares National Park, which is a three-hour drive from Nairobi. I assumed an African game park would look just like the cartoon savannah from The Lion King, but Aberdares proved me wrong. The park (or the part of the park that we saw) is actually a forest. It’s quite cold (I wore jeans and a sweater the entire trip) and the forest is so dense that we actually didn’t notice an elephant standing 10 feet away from us until it made its loud trumpeting sound.
While in the park, we stayed over night at Treetops Lodge. The lodge’s claim to fame is that Queen Elizabeth stayed here in 1952, back when she was still Princess Elizabeth. She was at Treetops when she found out that her father had died and she was the new Queen of England. All weekend, I kept telling myself that maybe Queen Elizabeth had seen the same things that I was seeing.
For example, the lodge is built over a large watering hole and salt lick, which animals frequent. The Queen probably saw some elephants and warthogs hanging out by the water hole. I imagine she could also smell the animal dung that surrounds the area.
Maybe she posed in front of the lodge and forgot to open her eyes for a photo, too.
Odds are, she saw buffalo.
We know she saw waterbucks because the sister hotel has displayed the stuffed head of a waterbuck, which Queen Elizabeth watched die. (In case you’re wondering, the waterbuck was killed in a fight with another waterbuck.)
And I bet she saw these crowned cranes and thought they were very funny looking.
She must have seen baboons– they were everywhere. I wonder if the baboons she saw were eating fried dough, too?
Unfortunately, I don’t think she saw any giant forest hogs because they are very rare. Our guide/driver was really excited when we saw a whole herd of them sprinting through the bush. Don’t worry Queen Elizabeth, you can share my photo.
I suppose our common experiences ended there. Queen Elizabeth flew back to England to much fanfare and I drove back to Nairobi to no fanfare. But it was fun to feel like our paths had crossed in Kenya.