A very short walk away from Giraffe Manor is The Giraffe Centre and the non-profit conservation education centre ‘shares’ the giraffes with the luxury boutique hotel.
Also known as the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), the Giraffe Centre operates an education centre for children, particularly the local youth of Kenya. We encountered three different species of giraffe in Kenya, including Maasai and reticulated giraffe, but the centre houses only the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe. You can tell the difference by the pattern, as the Rothschild giraffe has distinctive white leggings which sets it apart from the others.
Here at the centre, you can get up close and personal with the world’s tallest animal…
And enjoy hand feeding them…
And even kissing them!!
It may seem a little strange but the giraffes are very gentle. You just stick a bit of their food in your mouth and they take it from you. Admittedly, I got a ‘bit’ of giraffe slobber on my face but as I mentioned giraffe’s saliva is actually antiseptic so it’s not harmful at all.
The giraffe centre was set up by Jock Leslie-Melvile in 1979, a Kenyan of British descent, specifically to rescue the Rothschild giraffe. At that time there were only 120 left on a ranch in Western Kenya and through Jock and his wife Betty’s efforts there are 300 now breeding in locations over Kenya.
After our giraffe cuddles we headed into the centre to learn a little more about giraffes for example these giant creatures can weigh up to 3,000 pounds! We actually held a giraffe’s leg bone and it was particularly heavy as they have no bone marrow so it’s completely solid. I was also interested to know that they require very little sleep and usually have less than two hours a day.
One thing that I loved about Giraffe Manor and The Safari Collection was the dedication to sustainability. For each guest that stays at the boutique hotel, The Safari Collection donated $10 to AFEW and their conservation projects across Kenya.
Another highlight of staying at Giraffe Manor is interacting with the animals over afternoon tea…
At around five, the giraffes approach the terrace of the hotel so that you can enjoy sundowners with them.
Golden hour was setting in and the sunlight set off the beautiful honied hue of the giraffe’s skin as they stretched out their long necks to nibble on the grasses around the manor.
You can get pretty close but guests are instructed to remain behind the barrier as a giraffe’s kick can be so powerful that it can be fatal. But honestly don’t let that scare you, they’re super gentle and there were plenty of small children getting up close and feeding them.
Giraffe tongues are actually 22 inches long and has prehensile capabilities…quite a sight to see!
Aren’t they just beautiful with their long lashes? And there was a real sense of peace in enjoying a drink with a giraffe gracefully moving in the background.
Each giraffe had a distinctive personality and we soon learnt which was one were more friendly as we were introduced to Kelly, Jock and Selma.
As we’d spent the night in a ground floor room we’d not had giraffe’s popping their heads through to wake us up in the morning. We’d been given another room for the day due to our late check-out and our waiter asked us if we’d like to feed the giraffe from our new room.
Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever dreamed that I’d be feeding a giraffe right from my hotel…such a unique experience that I’ll remember forever.
After our private giraffe experience we returned to meet the rest of the guests to continue our afternoon tea.
And we sat down and toasted this magical place…
Whilst those beautiful graceful creatures headed back off into the sunset…
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I paid a media rate for my stay at Giraffe Manor