Maybe you are sitting at the doctor’s office one day leafing through a travel magazines when you see an article about a really incredible place to stay. Or, maybe the next time you are on the treadmill at the gym you see this unbelievable destination on the travel channel. However it happens, you make plans to visit this one amazing special place. After all that planning and saving money you get there only to find it wasn’t exactly what you expected.
Thankfully none of this is true for Giraffe Manor! It is ever bit as idealistic in person as it is on TV or in an article. Yes, it is expensive, but I felt it was worth every penny I paid. I have dreamed of going for over 10 years, happy to say, dreams do come true. From the moment I stepped out of the dusty Land Cruiser I had been traveling in for the past 12 days, I felt like royalty. I was greeted by Tony as my bags were whisked away and shown around the manor and the grounds. I was given a quick run down on the proper way to greet the giraffes, which would arrive for their evening feeding around 5:00 in the afternoon. Tony quickly realized that I might just be a little hungry since I had traveled by car from Nanyuki that morning. He quickly ordered a nice green salad to be made on my behalf.
After taking a shower I joined the others on the front lawn to relax and enjoy watching the giraffes a short distance away. Within moments I was offered afternoon tea or a glass of wine, along with delicious carrot and chocolate cake. Then as if they had a time clock, the giraffes moved toward us ready for some tasty treats right on schedule. All the giraffes were incredibly gentle that I fed, and I didn’t mind getting the giraffe kiss more than once. I believe my first kiss came from Edd, followed by Lynn. In case you are wondering, this is done by placing a pellet in your mouth and sticking out your neck just a bit. Even though I was on my own, the staff quickly took my camera and began snapping pictures.
As the sun began to fade into the horizon, the giraffes moved off into the forest for the evening. That evening we were served a delicious 3 course meal around a large mahogany table. It was fun to be able to share past and future African travels with the other guests. The chef was able to easily adjust the menu to accompany my vegetarian diet. (Gluten free and vegan diets are also provided upon request.)
Now the big show is in the morning for breakfast. The staff is happy to wake you up at 6:30 to make sure you don’t miss a single minute of it. A bit like Christmas morning on safari. As soon as I was dressed and downstairs at 6:45 the giraffes were approaching. My favorite image is with the front door of the manor open and a giraffe sticking its head in the door ready for a treat. Most of the feeding goes on in the breakfast room. A breakfast I won’t soon forget, just incredible to have 3 to 4 giraffe heads sticking their necks in the windows. Frankly, it is hard to decide, do I eat, take pictures or feed the giraffes. Oh, I almost forgot, the grounds are also home to some wart hogs who like to eat every giraffe pellet that falls to the ground like a pet dog picking up the straps under the table. They are right there to enjoy your breakfast meal as well.
I will be honest, Giraffe Manor is not cheap and it is not easy to get a booking. But, if you love giraffes, it is worth it. The staff goes the extra mile to make sure you have a pleasant stay and my room was adorable with every need pacified. The stay included 3 meals, laundry, and afternoon tea. A portion of the cost goes to run the Giraffe Center and protect the Rothschild giraffe which is endangered because of the lost of its habitat. The staff at Giraffe Manor will also drive you to Karen Blinxen’s house or the Elephant Orphanage at no extra cost. If you arrive early enough, the staff will walk you over to the Giraffe Center which is less than 5 minutes away. There you will be given lectures about the giraffes in Kenya and a naturalist walk to learn about the native plants used by the Maasai.
Keep in mind, the website often shows the manor to be completely booked, but don’t give up hope. I was able to get into the manor on a cancellation. The best method for booking a room is to use email: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also use the their website: http://www.tamimiea.com/ Still no luck, you can always enjoy afternoon tea at Giraffe Manor after visiting the Giraffe Center, also known as the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife started by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville in 1979.