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Giraffe Manor, Nairobi

Giraffe Manor

Built in 1932, Giraffe Manor became the home of Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville in 1974. The couple founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) and took in five orphaned, endangered Rothschild giraffe; today the numbers have increased significantly, with giraffe wandering the lawns during the day before retreating to the sanctuary at night.

The colonial-style manor is impressive; wide stone steps lead to an imposing mansion with gables, chimneys, a red-tiled roof and creeping ivy, which the giraffe like to eat in the morning. A high-arched doorway leads to a grand entrance hall and spacious living room featuring deep sofas, a grand piano, numerous books and family photographs.

Our rating: Deluxe

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Rooms

There are just a handful of rooms and suites, each of which has its own distinct style and character. They boast original furniture, including four-poster beds in some cases, and are individually named.

They’re split between the main house and a separate garden manor, which has its own dining area and lounge, as well as housing the Finch Hatton family suite for two adults and three children. There’s also the Karen Blixen Suite, which is attached to the main house and particularly suitable for families or wheelchair users. It has a double bedroom, two single beds and a cozy lounge area, opening out onto a courtyard.

Location

Giraffe Manor is situated in the Langata suburb of Nairobi, set in extensive private grounds of green lawns and sunny terraces within a large area of indigenous forest. The AFEW Giraffe Centre is just a stroll across the lawn, and within the local area you can explore various museums, arts and crafts outlets and wildlife sanctuaries, as well as Nairobi National Park.

Food and drink

There’s a breakfast room along one side of the property, where giraffe often peer through the windows as you eat, hoping for a treat. Dinner is served in a paneled dining room complete with candelabras for a more refined dining experience, while a variety of drinks can be served out on the terrace.

Families

Families can stay in Kelly’s room, which can be set up as a triple, the Finch Hatton Suite for up to two adults and three children, or the Karen Blixen Suite, which has space for two adults and two children. Encountering the giraffe is exciting for young and old alike, and there are lots of family attractions in the local area.

Facilities and activities

We recommend visiting the AFEW Giraffe Centre on site, where you can learn about the endangered giraffe and take guided walks around the sanctuary when no other visitors are there. At the nearby Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage you can feed and adopt baby elephants. The Karen Blixen Museum features exhibits on the Danish explorer and writer, and there are several art galleries in the area. A massage service is available on site.

Accessibility

The Karen Blixen Suite is located on the ground floor and is suitable for wheelchair access.

Our opinion

Staying at Giraffe Manor is a truly unique experience. It’s a rather eccentric place, but great fun. We think this makes the perfect beginning or end to a safari for wildlife lovers.

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