If you're looking for somewhere really special to start or end your safari in Kenya then Giraffe Manor is a fantastic option. Beautiful individually styled rooms, a unique welcoming committee of Rothschild's Giraffes and a fabulous setting ensure you enjoy a truly memorable stay in the quiet leafy suburbs of the capital.
Be prepared to spend in the region of £400-£650* PER PERSON PER NIGHT for this experience (*price dependant on season, room category and availability). With only ten rooms, Giraffe Manor gets booked up far in advance of travel, particularly at peak times so please do enquire as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Giraffe Manor's story begins over 40 years ago with the 'Giraffe Lady,' Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock who purchased the manor and land in the early 1970s. The couple devoted their life to the preservation of the species after they rescued and rehabilitated a young Rothschild's giraffe called Daisy, who would have been slaughtered after the land near Eldoret where she and her family had been living, was sold by the government.
Realising the serious plight of the Rothschild's giraffe it wasn't long before Betty and Jock agreed to give another giraffe sanctuary - Marlon joined Daisy and soon after a breeding programme in partnership with Woburn Safari Park began.
The manor opened its doors to visitors in 1983, run by Betty's son Rick. It is now part of the Safari Collection portfolio of lodges owned by the Carr-Hartleys.
This exclusive boutique hotel reminiscent of 1930s grandeur, boasts expansive gardens, art deco features and four-poster beds. The hotel accommodates just 25 guests in 10 beautifully appointed luxury en suite rooms, each with their own distinct style.
The manor is set in lovely grounds home to dik dik, warthog, bushbuck and Rothschild's Giraffes, and is surrounded by 140 acres of indigenous forest in the leafy Langata/Karen area, 20 kilometres from Nairobi city centre. Karen is also home to the AFEW Giraffe Centre (next door), the famous Sheldrick Trust elephant orphanage, the Karen Blixen Museum and Marula Studios where you can shop at Ocean Sole and Kazuri Beads.
Giraffe Manor is a unique place to stay - the resident giraffes wander around freely, often visiting morning and evening, sticking their heads through the large windows of the dining rooms. Sitting on the terrace you can observe them at your leisure. Rothschild's giraffes are endangered and a stay here offers a wonderful opportunity to observe these gentle giants and learn more about them and the battle to conserve them. A conservation programme which aims to re-introduce breeding pairs back to the wild and safeguard this subspecies is just one element which guests can find out about during a stay. The project has been very successful and the manor is currently celebrating the arrival of five new calves born to Betty, Kelly, Daisy and Stacey during 2016 and 2017.
Rothschild's Giraffes are the tallest of the giraffes. There are only 13 populations now living wild in Uganda and Kenya, numbering just 670 individuals in all. The best way to distinguish a Rothschild's Giraffe from a Masai or Reticulated giraffe is to look for their long cream coloured socks! The Giraffe Centre run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW)a charitable organisation founded by Jock is next door and has specially built high platforms for seeing the giraffes eyelash to eyelash. You can purchase a bag of pellets and hand feed the giraffes from the platform.
Because of flight schedules and a strict 11 am check-in policy at the manor (the BA direct service arrives late at night) we often include Giraffe Manor as the last night on safari as opposed to the first so you can really maximise your time here - most clients stay for just 1 night.
Giraffe Manor can be added to any tailored itinerary. The hotel is part of the Safari Collection which also includes Solio in Laikipia, famous for its rhino conservation and views of Mount Kenya; Saasab in Samburu with its camel safaris, stunning views and distinct Samburu culture and Sala's Camp in the Masai Mara - a wonderful small tented camp perfectly placed for the Great Migration June to September and incredible year-round wildlife viewing. Incorporating several Safari Collection properties makes a superb circuit and can help to secure both best rates and availability.
Please note: Giraffe Manor usually closes in May for annual maintenance. This lovely hotel is in considerable demand so please remember to enquire as early as possible so we can check availability for you!
**Giraffe Manor - as featured on BBC2 'Amazing Hotels - Life Beyond the Lobby' **
Please note: as we've already suggested, availability can be tricky. However, you can stay elsewhere in Nairobi and still visit the AFEW Giraffe Centre and Sheldrick Trust elephant orphanage. Choose from several wonderful lodges in the National Park (very good for sightings of rhino and lion), for example Ololo Lodge, Nairobi Tented Camp or the Emakoko are all great options, or you can stay at the wonderful colonial style Hemingways or boutique family run House of Waine in Karen. All are great options for an overnight in Nairobi. Do ask us for advice!
The hotel’s 10 rooms each have their own distinct personality, elegant furnishings, art deco features and four-poster beds. There are three doubles: Betty, Lynn and Arlene; four double/twins: Daisy, Jock, Marlon and Helen; a twin/double/triple: Kelly; and two suites – the Finch Hatton Suite (double/twin/family) sleeping up to five (2 adults and 3 children), and the Karen Blixen Suite (also sleeping up to 5 – 2 adults and 3 children) which opens directly onto a courtyard and is perfect for families and wheelchair users.
The famous breakfast room has just been refurbished (January 2018) with lovely warm tobacco tones to allow for the very best photographic backdrop for guests enjoying morning giraffe encounters!
As well as sharing a meal with a giraffe it's also possible to go on a guided walk within the forest reserve, learning about the plants and birds. Afternoon tea is served on the terrace with views of the Ngong Hills - watch out for the warthogs (and giraffes) who like to visit while you play croquet! Recover from your croquet with a massage in the potting shed, or do a spot of painting in the orchid house.
Giraffe Manor is close to the Sheldrick Elephant orphanage, making a visit here a good option. You can meet and foster an elephant orphan and chat to the rangers who care for them. The Afew Giraffe Conservation Centre is right next door to the manor - just stroll across the lawn - while visitors can also indulge in some retail therapy at Ocean Sole and Kazuri Beads - both very close by. The Karen Blixen Museum is also in this area.
If it's a special trip why not consider a private meal for two in the Orchid House?
Please see note below from the team at Giraffe Manor:
We would like to remind you that guests are typically able to interact with and feed the giraffes twice a day. The giraffes are at Giraffe Manor from approximately 6am to 9am (for breakfast) and from approximately 5pm to 6:30pm (for tea). For the rest of the day, they are at the neighbouring Giraffe Centre, to which all Giraffe Manor guests have complimentary access. It is important to note that guests who opt to visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for the 5pm elephant viewing, will of course miss the tea service with giraffes at the manor. The giraffes, though habituated to interaction with people, are still wild animals so their behaviour and movements can never be guaranteed or predicted.
Combine the wonderful Giraffe Manor with a tented safari camp in the world famous Masai Mara