Dining with the Rothschild’s Giraffes at The Best of Giraffe Manor
Are you thinking of taking a vacation in Nairobi, Kenya? Well, Giraffe manor is the place you want to pack your bags for right away because the beauty that awaits you here is one to live for. Exploring exotic places in Kenya is fun, especially when you have the right pointers.
One of the most remarkable sites in Nairobi is the Giraffe Manor. It is a well-manicured place rich in history and graced by beautiful Rothschild giraffes. The most famous moment at the Giraffe Manor is taking breakfast with giraffes. They are photogenic and are seen wandering to the large windows to entertain guests.
The Giraffe Manor Location
The Giraffe Manor establishment sits on a 12-acre private property, surrounded by 140 acres of indigenous forest. The facility is found next to the Giraffe Center in the Langata suburb of Nairobi.
It is close to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, at 26 kilometers and 8 miles away from Wilson Airport. Neighboring tourist sites include the Bomas of Kenya, Karen Blixen Museum, David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, and Nairobi National Park. The Giraffe Manor is also proximal to the Karen suburbs.
Ownership History of the Giraffe Manor
The Giraffe Manor was constructed in 1932 to house Sir David Duncan. It has an appealing architectural design and beautiful gardens that attract various butterfly species.
In the 1960s, the house was leased to multiple people, including Dennis Lakin.
In 1974, the Giraffe Manor became the residence of Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. Rick Anderson initiated the conversion of the Giraffe Manor into a 12-roomed boutique hotel in 1983. Rick was the son of Betty Leslie.
Rick and his wife furnished the rooms to serve as resting places for guests visiting the property.
The Rothschild’s Giraffe – The best of Giraffe Manor
The main attraction at the Giraffe Manor is the endangered Rothschild giraffe species. Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville established the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Giraffe Centre (AFEW).
They aimed to protect the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe species from extinction due to a looming land subdivision in Soy-Eldoret. Rothschild’s giraffes were predominant in the Soy region, and land subdivision would have rendered them homeless.
Through Jock and Betty’s conservation efforts, the five orphaned giraffes they raised (including Tom, Dick, Harry, and Daisy) have reproduced into beautiful herds that now grace the lawns of the manor.
The breeding program at the Giraffe Manor began with Daisy and Marlon giraffes. By increasing the giraffe gene pool, the sanctuary has improved the number of Rothschild’s giraffes in the country.
These magnificent mammals are friendly and come in herds to the windows of the manor to thrill guests and be fed pellets. They easily stick their necks inside the manor’s large windows during breakfast hours.
You can feed them, pat them gently and enjoy photogenic moments together.
The giraffes roam the manor grounds and within the surrounding forest during the day and retire in the sanctuary when dusk falls. Their sanctuary is in the AFEW Giraffe Center, next to the manor.
The Giraffe Manor has 12 rooms, each beautifully furnished, uniquely decorated, and named after influential personalities. The rooms include 2 family units; the Karen Blixen’s Suite and Finch Hatton Suite.
Edd and Lynn’s Rooms are two spacious ground-floor rooms that are suitable for guests with less mobility and those in wheelchairs. The Finch Hatton Suite is on the ground floor, while Kelly’s Room is upstairs.
One of the luxury day rooms available at The Retreat at Giraffe Manor: The Safari CollectionKaren Blixen’s suite was named after Karen, the author of Out of Africa. The Karen Blixen’s Suite isfurnished with Karen Blixen’s belongings.
Marlon’s Room is named after a pioneer giraffe. Jock’s Room and Betty’s Room were named after Jock and Betty, previous owners. Lynn’s Room was named after a giraffe herder who lived within the premises of the manor.
Daisy’s Room was named after the first giraffe brought to the manor. Other rooms named after giraffes include Helen’s Room, Arlene’s Room, and Salma’s Room.
Many of the bedrooms have balconies and windows from which you can feed the giraffes. They are comfortable and intimate to give you the ultimate tourism experience in a tranquil environment.
Facilities include unlimited Wi-Fi access, a restaurant, an art, and crafts shop, a gym, a swimming pool, a sauna, hot tubs, a spa, and local excursions. Well-trained and friendly staff are always at your service.
Food and drinks
Breakfast and high tea are served in the sunroom with large windows to allow ample sunshine and the giraffes. Drinks and high tea may be served at the terraces and courtyards.
You can savor a variety of cocktails around the fireplace as you read a book or engage in a board game. Other complimentary drinks include beers, spirits, and wines. Candle-lit dinners are served in the drawing room.
They serve European cuisine with a classic wine selection.
The Giraffe Manor team has been actively observing the Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of guests and employees at all times. Antony Levi advises, “We have an extensive set of Covid protocols which we follow to keep all of our team and guests safe. Our entire team has also received covid-19 vaccinations.”
Captaining the Giraffe Manor: One on One with Antony Levi
Over time, the management of Giraffe Manor has played a crucial role in the conservation of Rothschild’s giraffes, other wild animals, and forests. By synchronizing activities at the manor, the management has enhanced the tourism experience in Kenya.
Through its impeccable hospitality, the Giraffe Manor has hosted numerous influential personalities from all over the world. Some of the guests who have visited the property include Richard Branson, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellie Goulding, Walter Cronkite, Brook Shields, Eddie Vedder, Naomi Watts, and Richard Chamberlain.
In our exclusive interview with the Assistant General Manager, Antony Levi, we learn about the relentless efforts of making the Giraffe Manor experience a success.
Who is Antony Levi?
Anthony Levi, AKA Tony, was born and raised in Nairobi. Before working in the hospitality industry, he worked in an outdoor adventure business and ventured into brand design.
When he began working at one of Nairobi’s prestigious restaurants, it set the pace for a robust career in hospitality. Antony has worked at the Giraffe Manor for eight and a half years. He started as a Duty Manager before being promoted to Assistant General Manager, his current role.
“What you might not know about me, unless you’re a colleague or friend of mine, is that I’m known for my incredibly high levels of energy and enthusiasm and always having the biggest smile.”
Antony has a winning work formula that helps him oversee smooth operations at the manor. He reveals that,
“This is a role that certainly keeps me on my toes. As a small property with such a high turnover, it’s extremely busy. Of course, it’s all in the tiny details, so I make sure I follow the particulars of every guest’s needs down to the smallest detail to ensure we deliver the finest hospitality experience we possibly can. And then, of course, there’s the giraffes – wild animals with their personalities – which adds a whole other dimension to management.”
Source of Inspiration
It is no doubt that successfully managing an establishment like The Giraffe Manor requires in-depth knowledge of what clients need. Speaking so fondly about his travel escapades, Tony has had first-hand experience in luxury travel and accommodation at the Sasaab in Samburu.
“Kenya has so many amazing places that I love to visit and spend time in. One of my favorites is Sasaab in Samburu. It has to be one of the most relaxing and best places to unwind, surrounded by incredible wildlife and colorful Samburu culture. You can recline on your room veranda next to your private plunge pool, looking out over unbelievable views across the Ewaso Nyiro River and Samburu land, and you often get to see elephants coming to drink. It’s just so different to most other places in Kenya and feels so real.”
The current state of the business
“We are extremely lucky to have resident and international visitors coming every day. Having just opened our brand-new TheRetreat at Giraffe Manor right next door, including a swimming pool and wellness center, it is an exciting time for guests.
Every guest who stays today contributes to giraffe conservation as we donate on their behalf. People who would like to do more can sponsor one of the giraffes living here through our Giraffe Sponsorship Programme for just US$ 50 a year, one hundred percent of which goes towards conservation efforts.”
“Make the most out of life and don’t live with regrets.”
Listening to Antony Levi speak about his work experience at the Giraffe Manor and the overall impact of travel on one’s welfare, it becomes clear that Kenya is the place to visit.
“It’s amazing to be surrounded by wildlife every day at work as it reminds you to appreciate the incredible natural world we often take for granted, especially at times like these. Life is short, so if there’s someone you love, don’t hold back from telling them (many times!). If there’s something you want to do, go out and do it. Make the most out of life and don’t live with regrets.”
Giraffe Manor & The Retreat
Everything you have seen on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter... whatever, it is all that and even more, because pictures can't really show you how a giraffe can be so massive, yet so delicate. Pictures can't really show you how kind and respectful the staff is, and how much they know each giraffe-like family and really appreciate their job.
I expected to have a unique experience because of the giraffes and stunning rooms, but I was blindsided by the gourmet-like food and the world-class hospitality.
If you had to choose a wish from your bucket list to fulfill, this should be the one.
By Meydan BM on TripAdvisor
Annah is a travel and Safari enthusiast with a great passion for content writing. Her passion for travel and adventure fuels her travel blogging experience. You can connect with her via email or social media handles.