The Safaricom Marathon in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, was to take place on the 26th June 2010. A few days earlier we took a trip around the area staying at Treetops Lodge. When we returned I realized, what a wonderful brush I had in store! A brush made of Royalty! 5 Feb 1952: "For the first time in the history of mankind, a young Princess climbed up a tree one day, and after having described as her most thrilling experience, climbed down the next day a Queen" (as recorded in the book by Jim Corbett about Queen Elizabeth II). 29 June 2010 The day I was there, I was at the same resort, doing similar things: taking pictures of animals as they lick salt right in front of the Treetops Lodge. In the forests, there are some large areas of open space called salt"licks" where trees do not develop due to heavy salt deposits in the soil. Animals come to these Vietnam manufacturing salt licks to consume salt and to balance sodium levels in their blood. neither herbivore nor carnivore food contains salt. There is usually a water hole nearby where they quench thirst. Animal lovers will appreciate salt licks are the most popular joints. Bison and elephants can be seen in huge quantities. Deer are also a part of the scene. Leopards come prowling to feast on deer. Treetops Lodge is a resort hotel in the Aberdare National Park in Kenya near Nyeri, the township. Nyeri. It is situated at 1,966 meters (6,450 feet) above sea level, the lodge offers a clear view of Mount Kenya. A huge lake as well as an salt lick are situated next to the Lodge. From the various perches along with balconies and glass window guests can observe the wildlife. Sitting within the safe confines of the huge glass windows, it's possible to easily photograph and videograph elephants that are just a few steps away. The lodge we visited was at the end of the night. From the verandah, many animals could be seen eating salt. Once night fell and it started getting cold We sat close to huge glass windows in the Lodge. The lick was lit up with strong search lights. Few fancied trading such a post for a warm cozy bed. If they did, they were alerted of any new sightings via an alarm. Animals sighted were elephants, deer, bison, mongoose and warthogs. It was fascinating to watch the elephants scoop saltful's off the ground using their trunks. Each herd arriving loudly trumpeting its arrival heralded much commotion within and outside the Lodge. Newcomers were welcomed by others with mud baths. Treetops has a chequered history. It was in 1932 that Eric Walker built a machan and log house replete with four bedroomsas well as a restaurant room et al on a huge banyan tree. The guests had a clear to the wildlife of the surrounding area and was completely secure. Walker made it to pay dirt on the 5th February 1952. The Princess Elizabeth as well as Duke Philip climbed up the tree at night and then stayed up late snapping wild animals. On the night of 5/6 the father of her, of the throne King George VI died in England. When she ascended the tree on June 6 it was the night of Queen Elizabeth. This celebration saw top travelers from the world over trooping into Treetops (not all of them were later crowned however). Notable visitors included hunter-conservationist Jim Corbett, Baron Baden-Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts movement), comedian Charlie Chaplin, American actress Joan Crawford and Lord Mountbatten. In the Mau Mau Uprising, which began as a protest against British dominance and discrimination in the Kikuyu home in the year 1951 The initial Treetops was burned to black charcoal. The animals were still able to make their way to the salt lick. Treetops was reconstructed in 1957 and is now home to 50 rooms, with plenty of viewing galleries. Visitors are permitted to carry only one overnight bag and there's an outlaw on footwear with hard soles due to the hearing-sensitive nature of many animals. A diligent daily log of animals seen is maintained in the lodge by staff members. We'd visited this area prior to the marathon in Lewa Downs. This was my first experience with Royalty and the privilege of staying where Royalty resided was it was a privilege for runners!