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The Makings of a Team: The Brand2D Experience

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Every year, a company needs to schedule some time off work besides the usual weekends and holidays for the entire team. This is highly beneficial since it enables team members to get to know one another better. It also helps foster great bonds and relationships which are very valuable if the company is to have a united team. In this spirit, the Brand2D team visited the Outspan Hotel and Treetops Lodge for their first ever teambuilding exercise. This saw the team members get to know one another on a personal level and most importantly, had them rejuvenated and ready to take on new projects with lots of gusto!

The Outspan Teambuilding Experience

Day 1

The teambuilding exercise began at the Outspan Malkia meeting room which was set to enable the Brand2D team to interact as a team through the various teambuilding exercises. The meeting room was endowed with the latest conference facilities including projectors and a public address system which made teambuilding an enjoyable experience for both the facilitators and the Brand2D team. During tea breaks, the team was treated to beverages and delicious snacks right outside Baden Powell’s Paxtu Museum. This gave them a chance to see the museum and familiarize themselves with the history of the Scouts and see where the Scouts’ Movement founder lived during his last days.

Teambuilding should foster building of relationships outside the work environment. This is facilitated by getting to know more about one another on more personal levels. It not only builds friendships, but in the long run it will most definitely help people understand one another better helping them work better together. The Brand2D team most definitely bonded on a whole new level through teambuilding at Outspan, where they used the expansive, well-manicured gardens that span 20 acres for various interactive activities. The activities created such as treasure hunts, football challenges and photography competitions helped build unity, create friendships and ultimately improved the relationships among the various team members. After teambuilding sessions at Outspan Hotel, some members of the Brand2D team sampled the Nyeri nightlife which is only 5 minutes to Nyeri town.

Day 2

Brand2D was treated to a one of kind experience at the world famous Treetops Lodge, located inside Aberdare National Park a sister property of Outspan managed by Aberdare Safari Hotels. Here, only 17km away from Outspan, we got an overwhelming welcome of various wild animals including elephants, buffaloes  in the surrounding waterhole and we would all see this through  the big well designed Large windows that surround the Lodge . We got in through a lamp to a welcoming reception where we got a welcome cocktail and small brief of our stay at the Lodge.  The rooms were all ensuite, spacious and all have large windows for

Brand2D was treated to a one of kind experience at the world famous Treetops Lodge, located inside Aberdare National Park a sister property of Outspan managed by Aberdare Safari Hotels. Here, only 17km away from Outspan, we got an overwhelming welcome of various wild animals including elephants, buffaloes  in the surrounding waterhole and we would all see this through  the big well designed Large windows that surround the Lodge . We got in through a lamp to a welcoming reception where we got a welcome cocktail and small brief of our stay at the Lodge.  The rooms were all ensuite, spacious and all have large windows for better view of the animals made our experience even more worth the stay.

Day 3

The team members embarked on a Game Drive in the Aberdares National Park where they enjoyed viewing more animals with the resident hunter who did a great job identifying various animals and indigenous flora and fauna found within the national park. The Lodge is also an ideal place to hold end event banquets where various teams are awarded for great performance during various teambuilding activities.

All in all, the teambuilding experience at the Outspan Hotel and Treetops Lodge was amazing and highly beneficial for the Brand2D team. It accomplished its goals of helping the team bond and get to know one another on a more personal level. It most definitely improved the relationships between different people eventually helping them work better together. Read more about the Brand2D experience here.

For an unforgettable teambuilding experience in Kenya, you cannot go wrong with Outspan Hotel and the Treetops Lodge. The Lodge also offer Find out more about our various conferencing facilities via this link.

queen-web

90 Years: Remembering Where it All Began

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The Queen’s 90th birthday brings with it many memories of Her Majesty’s achievements. The Treetops Lodge holds a special place in history since here, while on the African leg of her Commonwealth trip, she ascended the British Throne.

Getting to Know Treetops Lodge

The Lodge has a rich history having been built as the first game viewing lodge on stilts in Kenya. The lodge was built by Major Eric Walker and Lady Bettie Shebrooke on a Mugumo tree (sacred fig). They got inspiration to build this lodge with the desire to shoot wildlife with cameras as opposed to guns.

During its opening on 6th November 1932, the lodge only had 2 bedrooms. It has since grown to a fully equipped lodge with 36 en-suite bedrooms, a lounge, a dining room and animal hides where photographers and wildlife enthusiasts can view wild game at the water hole right next to the lodge.

A Visit by Royalty

The soon to be Queen visited the Treetops Lodge in 1952 accompanied by her husband, HRH Prince Phillip. Despite the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya then, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip went through with their plans of visiting the spectacular Treetops Lodge which was the only place of its kind in the whole world during that time.

On the fourth day after their arrival in Kenya, Princess Elizabeth watched wildlife from the Treehouse Lodge. The experience was so great that the Princess had tea served where they were watching the wildlife since she did not wish to miss any of the action at the waterhole.

During that night, as recorded by the Treetops Hunter Escort , Jim Corbett there were sightings of about 90 elephants, 8 rhinos and a few waterbuck. Princess Elizabeth was up early the following morning to view more wildlife at the waterhole since many other wild animals came to drink early in the morning.

As she descended the Treetops Lodge, news was received that her father King George V had passed on in his sleep making her HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Her presence at Treetops Lodge during that night made her the first British Monarch since the accession of William IV in 1830, to be outside the United Kingdom at the moment of succession.

Her Royal Highness Returns

After HRH Queen Elizabeth’s hurried departure from Treetops Lodge in 1952, she returned with Prince Phillip 30 years later to visit the lodge which had grown to 40 bedrooms. She could not help but notice how much the forest had ‘retreated’. This had been caused by the elephants whose migratory routes had been interrupted by the installation of electric fences to prevent contact with humans.

As she planted a tree at Treetops, she inspired Treetops and Kenya Wildlife Service to step up and ‘return the bush’ through rehabilitating 152 square-kilometre Salient Zone of the Aberdare National Park.

Treetops-after-tree-planting

Return to the Bush Initiative

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before tree planting            after planting

Return the Bush initiative

Aberdare Safari Hotels (ASH) as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, in 2007 launched Return the Bush initiative. The objective was to rehabilitate the Salient area which is (152km2) 125 Ha of Aberdare National Park.   This project commenced with 1.5 km fence that cost 2.4 million followed by dividing the fenced area into 10 -15 Ha paddocks. In the first year, the area was left bare to allow undergrowth to thrive. Meanwhile ASH forestation and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) team started identifying indigenous trees from various tree nurseries in readiness for Tree planting season.  Though Outspan a base hotel to Treetops had a tree nursery, seedlings required for the project were over 20,000 and at least 2 meters tall.

Project achievement

Planting of trees commenced in 2008 by then the undergrowth had regenerated and the soil ready for the2 meter tall trees.  A year later the project faced its first challenge when elephants destroyed 3 paddocks that had acacia trees planted in it. Apparently Acacia tree is Elephants delicacy and also for other wild animals. The paddock fence was quickly fixed to protect further damage on other trees and new set of indigenous trees planted. Late 2008 the country experienced draught and as a result delayed planting of trees during the rainy season in October.

These challenges did not deter project progress and by end of 2011 the tree cover was 20 Ha with over 22,000 indigenous trees planted of 2meters tall.

Importance of Aberdares

The southern and eastern slopes of the Aberdare Range are studded with innumerable streams that form life source for two of Kenya’s major river systems that is Tsavo River, known further downstream as the Tana River the largest river in Kenya. The southern slopes of the Aberdare Range in combination with the southern highlands drain to feed the Athi River that further along its sinuous course is known as the Sabaki River. The Tsavo – Tana and Athi Sabaki river systems rely for most part on the rainfed forest –filtered streams of Aberdare Range. Most of the water supplies for Nairobi and many of the adjoining districts come from this area and the bulk of Kenya’s hydroelectric power schemes along the Tana River rely on water from the Aberdares in Mt. Kenya

Treetops is located on the boundary of Aberdare National Park that borders farmlands.

The lodge area supports the highest density of wildlife and 125-ha-salient has been greatly desecrated. A wildlife migratory passage connects the Aberdare with Mt Kenya forest; thus, an electrified fence had to be put up to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Rhino Ark formed in1988, the Kenyan Conservation Charity raised over ksh 400 million (USD 5 million) funds mainly through the now world famous Rhino Charge to construct an electrified game proof fence. So far a total of 265 of the 350kilometer long Aberdare fence has been completed with about 85km to go. This paved way to rehabilitating the forest around the Salient and Treetops.

Get Involved

Since inception the project has attracted various stakeholders keen to conserve the Aberdare eco system around the Salient.  Recently, the project received a boost from Parks Canada and an additional 6km fence covering 100 Ha was built. This area will accommodate 110,000 trees to be planted within 3 years.

Other key stakeholders who have contributed in various ways to meet above requirements are,

Save the Rain forest, KEFRI, EABL, ROOTED IN HOPE, KTB, The local Community Treetops Guests, KWS, ASH

 

Success of this project requires;

  • Maintenance of electric fence to deter animals from destroying planted trees.
  • Buying seedlings of 5-6 feet tall.
  • Labour for ground preparation and planting trees
  • Purchase of manure for nutrients deprived areas

 

Though great milestones have been achieved the project requires funds to realize this objective.  ASH welcomes donations either in cash or material in support of this project.

Contributions can be made to;

 

Account Name: Aberdare Safari Hotels

Bank Name: Cooperative Bank of Kenya

Branch: Westlands

Bank Code: 11036

Account No: 01136081609200

Swift code: 11045

Postal address: P. O. Box 7512

Code: 00200

Treetops-Side-View

Beacon Lighting

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In 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marked her 60th Diamond Jubilee.
The celebration is an important event in the history of Treetops because it all began at Treetops on 5th February 1952, when Princess Elizabeth went up the tree house a Princess and the following day came down a Queen.
Her father King George VI died that night and she ascended to the British Throne.
On 13th November 1983 during her state visit to Kenya, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth returned to Treetops and noticed the retreat of the forest. Aberdare Safari Hotels initiated “Return the Bush” program with a vision to rehabilitate 125 Ha around the Salient area of Aberdare National Park including 10 Ha around the Lodge. All Treetops guests are invited to plant a tree and in 2007 a new 1.5km
paddock was built to hold 20,000 trees.
The Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Invited guests at Treetops on 12th June 2002 included Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys- Jones, the Countess of Wessex who planted a Mugumo tree in the Queens paddock to commemorate this occasion.
Events to commemorate the Queens 60th Diamond Jubilee celebration started on 28th April 2012 with the launch of Jubilee Forest a KWS led initiative that targets to rehabilitate 100Ha around Treetops to accommodate 110,000 trees. Hon Cecilly Mbarire assistant Minister for Tourism graced the occasion and also officially relaunched Treetops after refurbishment. Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) also in attendance donated Ksh 250,000/
towards the Jubilee forest.
The next major event is The Queens Diamond Jubilee Beacon lighting ceremony.
There is a long unbroken tradition by the British to celebrate Royal Jubilees and Coronations with lighting of Beacons. This Jubilee year, the aim was to light over 4000 Beacons on Monday 4th June 2012 throughout the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and other countries around the world. All Beacons would be lit between 10.00 pm and 10.30pm. Due to its Royal Connection, Treetops registered to take part in The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons on Monday 4th June 2012. The event was co-sponsored by the British High Commission Nairobi. Location for lighting this Beacon was identified near Treetops in Aberdare National Park and would be lit at 10.00 pm in the night.
Other upcoming events that jubilee year included the coronation day on 6th June 2012 and Treetops 80th anniversary on 6th November 2012.

Treetops-tree-planting

Jubilee Forest Launch

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Treetops in Aberdare National Park recently launched the Jubilee Forest a Kenya Wildlife Service led initiative that intends to rehabilitate 100 Ha to accommodate 110,000 trees. The event marked the start of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebration and Treetops 80th Anniversary year.

Treetops is historic in this event because Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II spent the night of 5th February 1952 at Treetops and that night, King George VI her father passed away in UK hence her ascension to the British Throne.

Guest of honour at the event Hon. Cecilly Mbarire, Assistant Minister for Tourism, was accompanied by the MD- Kenya Tourist Board Mr. Mureithi Ndegwa, Chairman – Aberdare Safari Hotels Mr. James Waibochi and other stake holders. In her speech she said Kenya is indeed proud to be associated with this historically important celebration, the second of its kind in the British Royal family. The celebrations reminded us that Kenya is indeed a top tourist destination that has, and will always host some of the greatest royalties and celebrities around the world. She further added that the re – launch of tree tops was a curtain raiser to many other activities before the coronation that is scheduled for June, 2012 in the UK.

The assistant minister also commended the re- launch of Treetops saying that it presents an opportunity to re assert itself in the field of hospitality certainly enhancing the experience of the tourists visiting the facility.  She further added that the initiative taken by the Aberdare Safari Hotels to invest in upgrading Treetops was in line with the call by the Ministry of Tourism to improve the quality of tourism products to the expected global standards.

Today, she said as we leverage on the celebrations, it is important to reflect back and take a firm decision to reverse the environmental degradation that threatens our natural assets like the Aberdare Forest. Hon Mbarire applauded the Aberdare Safari Hotels on initiating the ‘Return the Bush’ initiative especially at the backdrop of the recent fires in Aberdares and Mt Kenya and called on   all stakeholders to endeavor to partner with ASH in this noble course. A plaque to commemorate the two events was unveiled.