If you have a trip to Nairobi coming up any time soon, you’ll find that that best way to fill your stay with the local nature is by visiting the Giraffe Manor, where you can mingle with giraffes all day long, from breakfast straight through dinner. And who knows? You might even meet a giraffe nose-to-nose outside your second-story window.
In fact, you might not get to decide whether you want to get up close and personal, since the giraffes here really seem to own the place. Then again, it is their home that you’re visiting. Indeed, this herd of Rothschild giraffes typically visits the Manor each morning and evening, and it’s not uncommon for one to pop its head into the lodgings in search of a breakfast treat. During the day, they typically move into the area’s surrounding 140 acres of forest.
The giraffes come and go as they please, freely helping themselves to food served in both the second-story dining area and the lower first level. If the windows are open, the friendly creatures will crane their necks to sneak a peek, brushing their faces right up against yours.
Rothschild giraffes faced extinction due to loss of their natural habitats in the mid 1970s. Knowing this, conservationists Betty and Jock Melville coddled the three wild bull giraffes that roamed the grounds around the manor, eventually adding a new baby here and there until the herd began to grow. The Melvilles then donated a portion of the land to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, a charity organization they helped found. The on-site Giraffe Center was added for the purpose of allowing Kenyan school children to feed the animals up close as they learned about conservation and ecology. The center also manages a breeding program aimed at increasing the natural Rothschild giraffe population by releasing them back into the wild.
While interacting with the giraffes is an amazing opportunity, the building itself should not be overlooked. Even after changing hands several times, the Giraffe Manor still represents the style and sophistication that throws visitors back into a scene from out of Africa.
The manor was built in 1932 and modeled after a Scottish hunting lodge. Throughout the decades, its owners have worked to maintain the exterior, whose stone facade is cloaked in climbing ivy and set against a backdrop of trees, blending almost seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. Indeed, the building sits on 12 acres of private land, much of which is left to grow naturally.
The interior of the Giraffe Manor is lush and elegant, with flowing draperies and natural elements all throughout. Giraffe decor adorns many walls. The surrounding savannah grassland is represented in the color choices inside the manor, the original work of which has also been meticulously maintained. The boutique hotel offers 12 guest rooms in total, two of which are suites.
Over the years, the hotel, specifically situated in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, has become an iconic example of interacting with the wildlife in Africa. And as part of The Safari Collection (a group of upscale travel lodgings), guests can even add a tailor-made safari experience to their visit.