Forest terrain and salt licks attracting big concentrations of animals
Unlike the rolling savannahs and thorn tree country of lowland Kenya the Aberdares are a world apart, a sky-high paradise in the clouds, whose dense hagenia forests and deep ravines provide a refuge for all kinds of animals including some seldom seen elsewhere, such as the elusive bongo. Melanistic serval cats roam the high moorlands above the tree line and the Aberdares are about the only place in the world where you might - just might - see a black leopard. The entire park has been ring-fenced to keep its elephants in and the poachers out.
There are only two places to stay, both situated in the northern salient. Treetops Lodge has the history. It is Kenya's oldest lodge and is where Princess Elizabeth was staying when her father died in 1952. But I prefer The Ark, a triple-decker ship of the forest that lies deeper in the salient beside a floodlit waterhole. Elephant, buffalo, leopard and giant forest hog are regular nocturnal visitors. When daylight comes, head for the high country above the bamboo zone. You could almost imagine yourself to be in Scotland. But then you see a herd of eland and know you are standing on the roof of Africa.