Giraffe Manor:Take a walk on the wild side.
Giraffe Manor is one of the only hotels in the world where you can feed giraffes from your bedroom window.
Karen, a district of Nairobi, is home to Giraffe Manor, an eccentric combination of a Scottish baronial home and a reserve for these long-necked beauties. The Manor is surrounded by 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, and it’s one of the only hotels in the world where you can feed giraffes from your bedroom window.
With its grand façade and sophisticated interior, Giraffe Manor is one of Nairobi’s most iconic and picturesque buildings, renowned for its character and history. Its lush green gardens and brilliant terraces date back to the 1930’s when European visitors first flocked to East Africa to enjoy safaris. There’s a certain nostalgic essence to the Manor, one step onto the property is like walking into Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa.
However, what stands out most about Giraffe Manor is the herd of resident Rothschild giraffes that call it their home. Kenyan Jock Leslie-Melville and his American wife Betty, who were both passionate about fighting the extinction of the endangered Rothschild giraffe, established Giraffe Manor in 1979. When the couple heard that there were only 120 of them left on an 18,000-acre ranch in western Kenya that was programmed for subdivision and resettlement, they decided to bring two young giraffes home.
Decades later the property became a quirky, boutique hotel belonging to the Safari Collection, where guests and giraffes interact and play. The long-legged animals often visit morning and evening, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary.
With eight superior rooms and two standard rooms, featuring four-poster beds and art deco furnishings, each has their own distinct personality, as well as spacious bathrooms and terraces. The hotel’s 10 rooms include three doubles: Betty, Lynn and Arlene; four double/twins: Daisy, Jock, Marlon and Helen; a twin/double/triple: Kelly; and two suites – the Finch Hatton Suite (double/twin/family) sleeping up to five (2 adults and 3 children), and the Karen Blixen Suite (also sleeping up to 5 – 2 adults and 3 children) which opens directly onto a courtyard and is perfect for families and wheelchair users.
As for when to go, Nairobi is at 5,889ft above sea level, making it cool at night and warm in the day. As it is situated close to the equator, the differences between the seasons are minimal. During the months of June, July and August it can be colder, with temperatures as low as 35˚F. There are two rainy seasons, March to May and mid-October to mid-December. Global weather patterns are nowadays less predictable, so be prepared for all eventualities. Giraffe Manor is closed annually in May for maintenance.
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