T.I.A. – This is Africa and boy we are happy to be back!
Africa stole our hearts from the moment we stepped foot in this continent during our Southern Africa loop in 2016 and the countdown was on for our return.
Our first stop in Africa… Nairobi, Kenya.
Nairobi is the hub of East Africa and the only capital city in the world with a National Park. Before we started our Eastern African Safari Tour with Tucan Travel, we decided to treat ourselves to a stay at Giraffe Manor.
Unfortunately, there was no availability when we attempted to book and later found out that Giraffe Manor sells out years in advance, especially during high season. Not giving up hope and determined to make this happen, we put ourselves on the waiting list and just 6 weeks before our requested date, we received an email letting us know that a new room had been built and we had first dibs. Am-az-ing!
Without even thinking twice, we sent the deposit in and the excitement began!
What is Giraffe Manor?
There is only one way to describe this place… beautiful. Absolutely beautiful (ok 2 words).
Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel situated on 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of forest just 30 minutes from the city of Nairobi, making it extremely convenient.
This old manor home dates back to 1930’s when the first Europeans came to Kenya for safaris. Since then it has been converted into a hotel with 12 unique, elegant rooms, ranging from 2 people to family suites. Each room is named after one of the Giraffes at the park and includes a sunny terrace, beautiful individualised interiors keeping the old English theme, contemporary bathrooms and gigantic beds!
Aside from these incredible rooms, what really makes Giraffe Manor so special is the Rothschild Giraffes that roam the grounds early morning for breakfast and early evening for afternoon tea. Where else in the world can you feed a giraffe at the breakfast table as you sip a cup of tea?
During our stay, we had fantastic meals provided 3 times a day including an English style afternoon tea, unlimited alcohol with an extensive bar, extremely friendly staff who were continuously smiling, beautiful courtyards, a fire place, many different lounge rooms to rest and relax and a peaceful atmosphere. We seriously never wanted to leave.
Note: Giraffe Manor books out a year or more in advance. A lot of people plan their entire Africa trip around getting a night in at this property so keep that in mind when making your African plans. You don’t want to miss it!
The Safari Collection
The Safari Collection is a collection of 4 properties, including Giraffe Manor, located throughout Kenya. We wish we had the chance to visit all 4 of them (what heaven!) but we’ll have to settle for just Giraffe Manor… for now. Their other camps are Sala’s Camp, Sasaab and Solio Lodge, all of which are high-end luxury safari camps offering some of the best safari trips in Kenya. During high season, June – October, the rates are higher and they book up extremely fast due to the Great Migration.
Feeding the Giraffes
Words really can’t describe this amazing animal interaction in such a unique setting. They’re super friendly, that is until you run out of pellets.
Breakfast with the Giraffes
Our alarms went off at 6:00 am, although we woke up far earlier like two little kids before Christmas. There are some things worth getting out of bed for!
We came downstairs and it didn’t take long before the first Giraffe popped his head in the window to see who was awake and ready to play (we were first on the scene). As the morning went on and the sun rose, more and more giraffes came for breakfast. We fed them a variety of ways; on our plate, off our hands, from the bucket, on their tongue and from our lips (ooo the slobber!). However it was fed to them, they were happy.
Now, we’d like to say we nailed this photo on the first go but we all know that isn’t true. These giraffes have a mind of their own after all! So, in saying that, it wouldn’t be real if we didn’t show some “behind the scenes” pics, would it? We definitely had a couple of headbutt attempts, dropped bowls, slobbery hands and messy tables but it was unbelievably fun.
Watch yourself giraffey…
Tip: The earlier you get to the dining room, the better chance you have of getting a better seat next to the window, although it also depends on the configuration of guests, such as how many is in each party. The best photos are taken after 7:30 am when the light is far better.
Afternoon Tea with the Giraffes
Once the nearby Giraffe Centre closes, the giraffes slowly make their way over to the Manor for afternoon tea. We had a delicious spread of scones, tea, biscuits and cakes but for the giraffes, they’re after the good stuff – the pellets! Bowls and bowls of pellets. They ate for 2+ hours off our hands and yet again, our lips. You’ve definitely not experienced Giraffe Manor until you’ve had a slobbery giraffe kiss.
We made sure to find the longest pellet possible to avoid too much tongue-to-lip interaction but hey, it’s all part of the fun. Nothing a little face wash can’t fix. It was such fun being up close with these creatures, examining the details of their coats, their spots and interesting facial features. But be careful, if you stop paying attention to them, some of them will attempt to head butt you.
The Giraffe Centre
If you are in Nairobi and are hell bent on seeing Giraffes up close and personal, but the price tag / availability of the Manor stops you from doing so, you can visit The Giraffe Centre where you have the opportunity to touch, feed, pat, interact, learn about and photograph the Rothschild Giraffes.
This is open to the public during the day and a ticket costs $10 USD but free if you’re staying at Giraffe Manor. The centre is located only 30 minutes from Nairobi City Centre and is open daily from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. The earlier you go, the better chance you have of taking photographs without the faces of a million other people in them. Don’t forget to give them a kiss!
Fun Giraffe Facts (Guys we learnt a lot!)
- Giraffes are herbivores and feed on the leaves of tall trees such as the acacia or wild apricot. They also eat sprouts, fruits and pellets.
- Their tongue, which is 18-21 inches long, helps them reach the leaves that are covered by thorns without hurting themselves. In one day, they can eat up to 65kg of leaves.
- The Rothschild’s giraffe is 16 to 19 feet height and can weigh 1800 to 2500 pounds (males are larger than females).
- Giraffes are the tallest mammal in the world (second to me).
- There are 9 species of giraffes and the Rothschild Giraffe is currently listed as endangered. As of 2016, there are only around 1600 Rothschild Giraffes in the wild.
- They have seven vertebrae’s in their neck – the same as a human being.
- Their heart, considering their size, only weighs around 11kg.
- The women give birth standing up and calves are approximately 6 feet tall.
- When a mother gives birth, the baby and their mother stay away from the group for 10 days to a month and only return when the rest of the group accepts the new member.
- They sleep only 30 minutes a day, in 5-minute increments and calves sleep 2 hours.
- They are known to head butt when bothered and can kill a lion with one single kick.
What a way to start our African adventure!
If you ever have the chance to visit Nairobi, Kenya, we strongly recommend booking yourself a night in this amazing establishment. Money can be earned back but experiences are completely priceless, with memories lasting forever. Bucket list item complete. No regrets.
Married Days Survived: 878