Head to head with giraffes in Kenya

Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest, Giraffe Manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings dating back to the 1930s and is reminiscent of the early days of Europeans in East Africa. The Giraffe Manor was built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan and modelled on a Scottish hunting lodge.

It was used as a private residence and became the property of Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville in 1974. At this time the Rothschild’s giraffes were under serious threat and Jock and Betty made it their mission to create a sanctuary at Giraffe Manor for these beautiful creatures. They created what is now African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) an educational centre and non-profit organisation that neighbours Giraffe Manor.  There are currently ten healthy, happy giraffes at the giraffe sanctuary. The hotel is located next to a sanctuary owned by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, therefore the giraffes are still wild animals but do require an element of protection and care. 

Since 1984 Giraffe Manor has been open as a hotel, and with every stay each guest contributes funds to the running of AFEW. Whilst the building itself resonates with the past, very much present is the herd of eight resident Rothschild’s giraffes that tend to visit the Manor in the mornings and evenings to greet guests and share breakfast before venturing out into their sanctuary. Giraffe Manor’s informal atmosphere makes it one of the most popular places to stay in the country.There are 12 rooms in total and the Manor can accommodate a maximum of 29 guests.

Breakfast at Garden Manor

Breakfast includes homemade muesli, pastries, fruit and cooked breakfast items. At both lunch and dinner there is a set three-course menu which is modern European cuisine. Giraffe Manor operates on a full board basis and also includes daily traditional afternoon tea which can be taken on the terrace if the weather is nice.  

 In addition to feeding the giraffes at breakfast and at tea time there are lots of other activities to be enjoyed at Giraffe Manor. The guests can engage in other activities such as massages and spa treatments, and a boutique shop for spot of retail therapy. Transport to local excursions is included in for the guests who include visits to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Karen Blixen Museum. Each guest staying at the hotel contributes to the running of the AFEWas part of the standard rate which helps to protect the species.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust enables visitors to foster orphaned baby elephants that have often lost their family due to the ivory trade. Visitors can foster an elephant for $50 per year, helping to rehabilitate baby elephants that would otherwise perish. This organisation, which works in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service offers hope for any orphaned elephant fortunate enough to be found alive. Every one of these orphans can look forward to a quality of life in wild terms, living free in Tsavo East National Park protected by their new extended orphaned family and friends amongst the wild herds.

The high season is from June – October and December – February. The low season is between March and May and November as these are the rainy and wet months in Kenya.

Some famous guests incude : Naomi Watts, Ellie Goulding and Ellen DeGeneres.


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