A year ago, I embarked on one of the most remarkable travel journeys thus far, with my best friend. I remember a year prior encouraging my best friend to finally achieve her long time travel goal to explore Africa. As anticipated, she agreed, and without further ado we began our trip itinerary. We decided to explore the beauties of South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. Whilst our strenuous research on “must see’s” and “top tens,” I stumbled upon the most enticing travel video my eyes have ever seen. The video displayed a couple relishing on a scrumptious summer breakfast, a stunning giraffe poking his head through the huge windows, sunshine reflecting on his elongated neck, as it sought for a treat from the guest. I was in awe and eager to learn more about my newly discovered paradise.
Built in 1932 as the former residence of the late Sir David Duncan, Giraffe Manor is an upscale boutique hotel situated in the privately owned 12 acres of land in Lang’ata suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. The perfectly forest green vines stunningly wreathe the exterior of the two-story mansion making it one of Nairobi’s most unique buildings. Guests are encouraged to sit outside the sunny terraces or relax in one of their sophisticated lounges or courtyards. The hotel also has a message therapist on site at their cozy and soothing spa. It also includes mouth-watering gourmet dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the price made by their master chef.
We quickly discovered that this was going to be the most expensive one night stay. Rooms start at $565 a night per person all included. Despite the high price tag my best friend and I were ready to indulge in this treat. It’s been a reputable wildlife conservatory for decades and its focus is to help endangered Rothschild giraffes. Giraffe Manor is owned by The Safari Collection, which successfully found a way to intertwine a delightful, original and humane way for guest to interact with endangered wild life and help with a cause. If the price is way out of a traveler’s budget or the hotel is completely booked, Giraffe Manor is associated with the Giraffe Center; they both serve as a home for the endangered giraffes. There is a very affordable fee to enter the Giraffe Center.
After three superb yet busy days at the Masai Mara, we greatly anticipated our arrival to the hotel. We drove through the polished wooden doors of the Manor as the manager and the rest of the team welcomed us. He offered us refreshing lemonade while he checked us in. To our surprise we were granted a free upgrade to stay in the spacious Finch Hatton Superior Suite. We squealed in excitement like two teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert. The gentleman escorted us to our suite. It had beautiful wood floors, a fireplace, en-suite bathroom with both shower and bath, a double bed and spiraling stairs that led to a beautiful mezzanine with two twin beds. Lots of natural light entered the room through the pristine glass windows and full frontal views of the grasslands.
One of the many pros of Giraffe Manor is that it’s very intimate. There are only twelve rooms for a maximum of 29 guests in the hotel, which opens opportunity to become well acquainted with the welcoming staff and the outgoing guests. We share our love for wildlife, our love for Kenya, and high regards of this place with one another; plus the staff is keen to guarantee us a stay we wont forget.
My best friend and I booked a photo shoot for the afternoon, so we made our way to the terrace to catch the next scheduled group of Rothschild giraffes and our photographer. The wait staff served us tea and hors d’oeuvres while our wait. The staff coached us on how to handle the giraffe with care and to be extra thoughtful of the female giraffes as they were very impatient with females and were most likely to head-butt us if we took too long to feed them, or stood next to them (one should always stand in front of the giraffe). So, as suggested, we took most of our photos with the one and only ladies man of the herd, Ed. He was the only male of the herd and father-to-be of all the pregnant giraffes. It was without question why he was the friendliest and most willing to interact with the female guest of Giraffe Manor. The staff shares a deep affection towards and can tell the giraffes apart by their prints, so we had zero issues finding/photographing our beloved Ed.
I kissed a giraffe and I liked it! (pun intended) Giraffes are cute and hungry animals that are not afraid to lick one’s face for a pellet. Their tongues are long and grayish in color. Their saliva is thick so before a giraffes licks one’s face or hand– grab a napkin! Don’t worry giraffes are okay with a peck on the lips without all the tongue action. Just do it quickly.
The following day was bittersweet. We didn’t want to leave but we were ecstatic about sharing breakfast with a giraffe. We woke up bright and early at 6am to grab a breakfast table next to the arched windows. The aroma of fresh coffee and freshly baked muffins welcomed us as we took a seat. The breakfast room’s interior was bright and themed after the Rothschild giraffes. The walls are painted mint green, portraits of the giraffes hang on the walls, and giraffe print plates are on the table. Breakfast is served on a vintage white round table, decorated with quaint teapots and cups, pellets for the giraffes, warm fluffy muffins, fresh and vibrant fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice.
The loud chatter of the guests begins to turn into slight gasps of excitement. The giraffes were coming to join us for breakfast! Everyone in the room ecstatically prepares their camera. The staff kindly offers to take photos for anyone. Giraffes begin poking their cute heads into any open window awaiting their morning treat. We gently pet their necks and heads as our giraffe came to our table and enjoyed a full plate of pellets. We freely walked around the breakfast room feeding other giraffes. Breakfast is about 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Then guests were encouraged to enjoy more of the human to giraffe interaction outside.
We checked out of Giraffe Manor that day the happiest we’ve ever felt in a long time. This is a pinch-worthy experience I recommended to all my friends and fellow travelers. If you are in Kenya, make a trip to Giraffe Manor. The only thing you’ll regret is not going.
- Book far in advance – we booked 2 months before our desired day, and almost didn’t get a room.
- Book photographer in advance – Cost $200
- Arrive early to fully enjoy all of the facilities in the hotel
- Buy a souvenir at the Giraffe Manor gift shop
Have you ever been to the Giraffe Manor? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!
Justine is a travel and culture enthusiast from New York City. She is spending most of her time traveling in between Budapest, Hungary and Ljubljana, Slovenia where she currently resides. At 25, Justine has traveled to four continents and over 20 countries and counting. Her adventurous spirit has open the doors to very life changing experiences from petting a cheetah and feeding a hyena at a wild life reserve in Zanzibar, to hiking up to the top of Cape Town's infamous Table Mountain, and skydiving from 13,000 feet in the air to view of the stunning landscapes of the Slovenian Alps. She is currently aspiring to become an Instagram content creator/travel blogger. If you’d like to keep up to date on Justine’s adventures, follow her on Instagram at @Justine_Sade.