Shocking service with trying to book a room via Africa Point. (one of the vendors on the Giraffe Manor’s website as booking agents.) I got a very quick response to book a room but when I then asked at what time breakfast with the giraffes was and how long it would take to get from the Giraffe Manor to the airport to catch a flight, I was ignored and despite numerous e-mails never received the courtesy of a response. When you pay more than $600 a night this shouldn’t happen.
I then tried the Safari Collection whose service was excellent. It was worth persevering as the experience is not to be missed. It’s 45 minutes from the airport to the Giraffe Manor. The rate includes airport transfers plus a full day of local tours, three meals plus wines.
To get the most of your stay I advise arriving at the Giraffe Manor between 10 AM (when check-in starts) and 10:30 AM. At 10:30 AM head to the Sheldrick Orphaned Elephant Centre for the show that begins at 11:00. It lasts an hour and if you’ve been up close to elephants on safari you may be a bit disappointed because it is a bit commercial with tourists lined up to view the baby elephants being given milk the smallest ones with blankets to keep them warm. You will get some good shots but many will be with other people in them. They do a good job of explaining each elephants history and how they care for them. (If you miss the 11:00 viewing, you’ll need to pay $50 to adopt an elephant (for two people) and can visit at 4 PM to see the elephants being put to bed for the night. But you’ll then miss the action back at the Giraffe Manor—see below.)
Head back to the Giraffe Manor for a delicious lunch of organic food on the terrace—vegetarians are well catered for. Then head over to the Karen Blixen Museum and upon returning to the Giraffe Manor make your way across to the Giraffe Center. Staying at the Giraffe Center gets you free entry—though you need to tip the guide who shows you around. Skip the nature walk as it’s pretty boring. You’ll get plenty of giraffe action at the Giraffe Manor so the main interest in the center is to understand the different types of giraffe. They had told me that the giraffes usually make their way over to the manor once the center closes at 5 PM. But the day I was there they went from the manor to the center. All the other guests were out at the Sheldrick Elephant Center so between 4-5 PM I had the house to myself with giraffes poking their head in the entrance to be fed treats (pellets of minerals and grass). The caretakers take great pictures of you and will teach you how to be kissed by a wild giraffe! (Only some giraffes tolerate this.) Eddy in particular is to be commended in this regard.
Drinks are served next to a fireplace from 7 PM and dinner served at 7:45 PM in a traditional dining room. After dinner drinks or tea and coffee are served around the fireplace or outside.
The highlight of the stay is undoubtedly breakfast. It’s served from 7 AM, but be ready by 6:30 AM to ensure you get the best seats next to the window for viewing the giraffes and first dibs on photo opportunities. Don’t worry if you oversleep though as the staff will ensure everyone gets to interact with the giraffes and gets good photos. By 8:30 AM the giraffes will have wandered over to the Giraffe Center. You get another hour and a half to take in the lovely garden and serene atmosphere of this place and savour your experience.
I was upgraded from a standard room to Bette’s suite and it is worth getting that room as it is much more luxurious and boasts its own terrace from which you can feed the taller giraffes as well as an art deco bathroom and a fireplace. There is one other suite and family rooms but the other rooms are much smaller. They have WIFI but the signal was weak and kept cutting in and out. They offer spa treatments. There is also gift shop selling postcards of the manor and more high end souvenirs compared to the Giraffe Center gift shop which has more choice but sells cheaper merchandise.
Truly a magical place with exceptional staff. I plan to be back every once in a while to recharge my batteries.
- Also Known As:
- Giraffe Manor Hotel Nairobi