Nairobi, Kenya – warmly nicknamed Green City in the Sun by locals – has a tremendous number of attractions that draw tourists from around the world yearly. This cosmopolitan hub offers a contemporary twist on Africa, with many of the modern comforts new age travellers are accustomed to.
If you’re like me, dreams of Africa take place on rustic terrain with overgrown trees, wildlife and African culture. Set me outside the bustle of Kenyan city life and let me taste the more traditional side of Nairobi – of course, with a plush bed at the end of the day to sleep off the sore feet of adventure.
Yes, in Nairobi you can have traditional and luxury, all it takes is a quick 20 kilometre jaunt out of the city, where, nestled in the more authentic African countryside, is a wondrous vacation destination called Giraffe Manor.
Set on a pristine 12 acres of land, which is tucked away in a much larger 140 acres of giraffe sanctuary, is the manor, which was built in 1932 and has been declared one of Nairobi’s most historical buildings. While Giraffe Manor has been updated with the finest amenities you could expect from any five star accommodation, the decor remains very reminiscent of the Europeans in East Africa during the 1930’s. It has a lovely air of hominess, and the impeccably trained and dedicated staff will make your stay a truly unique African indulgence.
In 1974 the manor became home to Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville, whose adoration and passion for protecting the Rothschild giraffe, inspired them to turn their property into a sanctuary for a heard of the magnificent creatures. Their work preserving this threatened species has been acknowledged worldwide, and their legacy has been appropriately named, Giraffe Manor.
While Jock and Betty are no longer at the manor, it remains home to a heard of 8 Rothschild giraffes. They are first to arrive for breakfast and dinner time – and there is no denying these beautiful animals a bite of your scrumptious meals, they’ll poke their heads right in the windows and eat out of your hand.
The manor boasts 10 luxury suites, and the property has a maximum accommodation of 25 guests, creating a truly intimate and memorable experience.
What to do:
- Interact with one of the resident giraffes.
- Spend an afternoon learning about the endangered Rothschild giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) Giraffe Centre.
The AFEW (set up by the Leslie-Melvilles) continues to protect and nurture the Rothschild giraffe.
- Visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and adopt a baby elephant.
- Visit the Karen Blixen museum, author of her own autobiographical book Out of Africa, now a famed film starring Meryl Streep as Blixen.
- Enjoy a lavish spa experience at Giraffe Manor followed by afternoon tea on the terrace. unwind over sprawling views of the Ngong Hills.
- Take a day trip into the city of Nairobi for shopping.
- Have dinner in the divine restaurant. It has been described as one of Nairobi’s finest eateries.
By: Chelsea Forman – NICHE Magazine Spring 2013