Living with the giraffe in a classic, old manor
Trip Start Jul 23, 2010
89Trip End Apr 17, 2011
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Where I stayed
Giraffe Manor Nairobi
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
We arrived at the Giraffe Manor Monday morning via a flight from Entebbe to Nairobi and were picked up at the airport by staff from Giraffe Manor. The flight was about 50 minutes, and very comfortable; we even got a sandwich in flight. The trip from the airport to the Manor was about 40 minutes
The area between the airport and the manor is fairly industrialized, with good roads and even a wildlife park. We are excited about this part of our vacation, as a tribute to Jim's mom, who loved giraffe as long as I can remember and had lots of giraffe nic nacs around the house.
The Giraffe Manor is a classic, old manor on the outskirts of Nairobi in an area made famous by Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa. The Manor was opened by Betty and Jock Leslie Melville, as they rescued, raised, bred and lived with the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Daisy Rothschild, the first giraffe rescued and brought to the Manor, was hand-raised by Jock and Betty and considered them to be her parents. It was therefore, quite natural for Daisy to put her head through the windows and doors, looking for love and treats. Since then, all the giraffe brought to or born at the Manor have copied Daisy, and learned from each other.
Giraffe Manor was acquired by Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley in March 2009. Since then, the house has been transformed from a charming family home to an intriguing and luxurious boutique hotel. The formal gardens were installed in May 2009
We are here on full board, with literally EVERYTHING included, from transportation and internet, to meals and beverages. The style of the place is elegant, in the British tradition of a Manor. The food is scrumptious, and the wines are hand selected to complement the meals. But the best part, and the main feature of the Manor, are the giraffe.
There are nine giraffe that make their home here, part of the endangered Rothschild giraffe family, of which there are less than 1000 in the world. Kenya is the home to the majority of those in existence. The giraffe that reside here are wild, but have been habituated to the people that live and visit the Manor. At 7 am in the morning, they come to the Manor for their morning treats, which are horse pellets hand-fed to them as they stick their necks through the front door and various windows of the Manor. They hae very long, purple "prehensile" tongues that act like a long finger to pull the horse pellets into their mouth from the tables or hands of guests. A typical giraffe weighs nearly 3000# and eats approximately 200# of leaves each day.... now that's a lot of leaves.
Each one has distinct markings, and attributes. One of the girls, Lynn, is quite the begger and hangs around the Manor most of the day looking for handouts. There is one dominant bull, JJ, born in 2004. There are three guardian females that range in age from 16 to 19. Then there are three other ladies that were brought to the program from Lake Nakuru, and two babies born in 2009
We found the staff to be very accommodating and tuned in to the wants and needs of each and every guest. One of the families here came from Montana with their eight year old daughter, who took in the giraffe and warthogs like she was a member of the staff.
The warthogs are also quite entertaining. Like the giraffe, they come right up to the Manor to eat the scraps left over by the giraffe and try to nose their way into the house on occasion.
Our room was right above the breakfast area, with a balcony area from which we could feed the giraffe. Each meal is served in a separate area of the Manor, if desired. The garden area has a beautiful veranda where tables are beautifully appointed; diner and lunch are served here or on the deck of your private room, while breakfast is served from a sunroom where the giraffe can dine with you. We chose to eat our dinner on our balcony the first evening we were at the Manor. There is a set menu for each meal, but the staff is very accommodating to individual dietary needs. And, of course, tea, coffee and cakes are served late afternoon.
The first morning we had breakfast with the giraffe actually brought tears to my eyes, just thinking about the surreal experience we were enjoying! You can't imagine how special it is to be in the midst of such exotic creatures. Hopefully, the videos that accompany this post will give you a taste of the beauty and wonder we experienced. Mom would have loved it!!!