Discover Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Iconic and highly-sought after and one of life's bucket-list destinations
Have you ever wanted to visit giraffe manor?
Giraffe Manor’s popularity has soared to new heights and become a bucket list destination since it featured on tv and in other media recently, so what better way to commence a wonderful safari and/or beach trip in Kenya. One of the most fascinating things about Giraffe Manor is its resident herd of Rothschild’s giraffe who may visit morning and evening, poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary. Best known for the most unforgettable bucket-list breakfast in the world and Karen and James have been lucky enough to have experienced this magical hotel recently… here we find out all about their trip, top tips and first-hand knowledge.
The Manor House at Giraffe Manor
Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel, owned by The Safari Collection. There are two main guest houses, each with six rooms and set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of beautiful indigenous forest just outside of Nairobi.
We are often asked does it matter which house you stay in? In short, no. It really doesn’t matter, they are so close to each other, separated only by a small courtyard. The Giraffe visit both houses and the rooms in the newer Garden Manor are fashioned on the same style, décor and space as the original Manor House. Both houses give you a warm feeling of home from home, wrapping you in a blanket of comfort and intimacy. You receive exactly the same high level of attention and service no matter which house you are staying in.
All rooms in both houses are named after the Author Karen Blixen who wrote ‘Out of Africa’ which is definitely worth a read. In all, there are 10 Superior Rooms, a Family Suite and a Superior Family Suite.
Your stay will be on a fully- inclusive basis, there is a strict check in/out policy in place which is good to be aware of. Check in is at 12 noon, therefore if you arrive earlier or have a later departure it is worth knowing that you can book (at additional cost) a day room at The Retreat to make your wait more comfortable.
Karen and James stayed in the Helen Room which was situated at the front corner of the Garden Manor. This was perfect as the Giraffe often come to feed at the window first thing in the morning. Not all the rooms have a feeding window so if this is something that you are particularly keen to have it is worth checking out which room you will be staying in.
When you first arrive at Giraffe Manor you are warmly greeted by a member of staff who will be assigned to look after you throughout your stay. They will be your guide and your friend 24/7, providing you with everything you need from grass pellets for feeding the Giraffe to getting you those all important Instagram perfect images.
Afternoon Tea at Giraffe Manor
Reserved exclusively for in-house guests only, at 5pm every evening you can enjoy afternoon tea on the terrace. You will be served with a delicious assortment of homemade cookies, cakes, sandwiches, scones and fruit platters.
This is a truly magical experience as the sun begins to set behind the Ngong Hills, highlighting the views of the grounds and throwing a stunning light across the Giraffe. With the chinking of the tea cups, the Giraffe know they are in for a treat and quickly make their way over to you.
This is another popular photo opportunity, where your resident host will make sure you have plenty of food to feed the Giraffe and assist you in getting those Instagram favourite shots of kissing the Giraffe and the famous swing with these majestic animals feeding from your hand.
We love the Giraffe Manor saying ‘No food, no friendship’ and this is particularly prevalent to Kelly, one of the more famous Giraffe known to give you a little headbutt if you aren’t quick enough with the food offering.
Breakfast with the Giraffe
Your day will start early, very early and it will start with the Giraffe having their breakfast first. Karen and James’s experience began around 5.30/6 am when they drew back their curtains and were greeted by Edd the Giraffe headbutting their window, requesting his breakfast. You are supplied with a bowl full of grass pellets to feed them with and once they have devoured your bowl they will then move along to the next window. This is your chance to don your best dress for your next once in a life experience of having breakfast with the Giraffe in the famous Giraffe Manor dining room. You will be shown to your own table, laid out ready for you. The windows are closed whilst you enjoy your choice of breakfast, anything from fruits and cereals to a full English. Once you have finished you will be given the grass pellets, the windows will be opened and in pop the heads of your new found Giraffe friends, where they will feast from your plate or your hand.
There is no need to rush as you can enjoy the experience at your own leisure. The Giraffe often hang around after breakfast has finished so you can sit out on the terrace, enjoying and watching them. However, it must be said the Giraffe that visit Giraffe Manor are wild and therefore you cannot be guaranteed interaction, although the Giraffe are as intelligent as they are beautiful and won’t be far from a rather delicious food source.
New to Giraffe Manor is The Retreat. A little haven of wellness, a space for relaxation against a breath-taking backdrop.
Exclusive for guests staying at any of The Safari Collection properties makes for the perfect beginning or ending to any African Safari. You will find yourself surrounded by nature and submerged into an exquisite wellness experience. Located only 80 metres to the left of the main Manor House, it shares the same tranquil outlook over the forested Giraffe Sanctuary.
As a guest at Giraffe Manor you are able to use all the wellness and fitness facilities within The Retreat and can book (for an additional cost) the use of a Day Room if you have an early arrival or late departure, these rooms are not available to book for an overnight stay unfortunately. The Day rooms are beautiful and modern and spacious in style. It is also worth noting that dining at The Retreat is also for an additional cost.
There is a beautiful immersive pool, sundeck and hot tub where you can wile away an hour or two. Karen and James visited Giraffe Manor over Valentines and the pool and sundeck area had been adorned with cushions and blankets and a cinema screening set up which was a really lovely added extra.
The Giraffe Centre
The AFEW Giraffe Centre is a short walk across the lawn from Giraffe Manor and this is where they host the breeding programme of the endangered Rothchild’s Giraffe. Since the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) was founded, wild Rothchild’s Giraffe numbers have risen from 100 to around 1,800 and over 50 Giraffe have been returned to the wild.
The Giraffe Centre is open to guests and visitors. As a guest you can stroll across the lawn with your guide through a private entrance, where you can feed the Giraffe from a specially built platform. There is a lot of information on display about Giraffe conservation in Kenya, as well a short nature walk and gift shop, proceeds of which go towards Giraffe conservation in Kenya. You will also learn about how you can help support the work this amazing foundation is carrying out and the projects they are involved in.
Footprint Foundation is the The Safari Collection’s charitable foundation that unites all of their community, conservation and environmental projects.
Did you know that Giraffe are becoming highly endangered across much of Africa? Many people don’t realise that the wild Giraffe populations have declined dramatically in the last few decades, as habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict has continued to shrink their territory. Giraffe Manor was purchased in 1974 by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville, who then began a campaign to save the highly endangered Rothchild’s Giraffe. The success of this programme has seen the wild Rothschild’s Giraffe recover from the brink of extinction.
Just by staying at Giraffe Manor you are actually contributing to the conservation of these majestic, beautiful gentle giants. For each guest that stays at Giraffe Manor, The Safari Collection donates to the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). The fund was founded back in 1979 by the Leslie-Melvilles, an amazing legacy that is still working tirelessly to protect the wildlife of Africa.
You can support and ‘stand tall for giraffe’ by sponsoring one of the endangered Rothchild’s Giraffe at Giraffe Manor. For more information on this please visit the Footprint Foundation.
Did you know?
The Experience and what to expect
Don’t rush and don’t panic. The whole concept and experience is really well organised and sympathetic to the Giraffe at all times. Everybody gets a turn and the resident hosts and guides are extremely accommodating. You will get everything and more from your experience, whether that is sitting back, relaxing and taking it all in or hitting your Instagram with five different outfit changes and a Giraffe.
How many nights to stay – One night is enough, however, many people do stay for two nights, which is perfect if you want to make use of The Retreat and its wonderful facilities also.
Wondering what to pack? Dress code – anything goes, shorts, t-shirts really whatever you are most comfortable in. People tend to dress up for the photo opportunities but don’t feel that you have to.
Giving tips – You don’t tip individual staff members. There is a main tip box within the reception area where you can leave your tip as you depart, this is shared out amongst all the wonderful staff that collectively make your stay the most memorable and comfortable experience and often exceeding your expectations.
Dining – The food and wine is amazing and for those special occasions, Champagne and glasses are often presented. You have a choice from a set menu – the menu isn’t extensive but is delicious and plentiful.
Giraffe Manor - Top Tip
Availability at Giraffe Manor can be tight and is booked up way in advance. However, if you book a stay with one of the other The Safari Collection properties you will get priority booking at Giraffe Manor and can often get availability when others cannot.
Kissing the Giraffe
Be brave and give a ‘giraffe kiss’ a go by offering a pellet between your lips – giraffe saliva contains antiseptic properties.
Breakfast with the Giraffe
When feeding the giraffe it is better to give them one pellet at a time. This helps with their digestion and ensures that the experience lasts longer.
A Giraffe’s tongue can grow up to 20 inches long.
The Karen Blixen Museum is nearby and a must visit if you are a fan of the movie or book ‘Out of Africa’. Located 10km outside of Nairobi and is the former African home of Danish author Karen Blixen, famous for her 1937 book ‘Out of Africa’ which chronicles life at the estate.
The Magic of Giraffe Manor
The Safari Collection properties
Embark on a Kenya luxury safari for the journey of a lifetime and be guided to some of the most epic wildlife locations on earth. Experience close encounters with Africa’s ‘big five’ – lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo and feel the essence of the continent running through your veins. So why not team up your Giraffe Manor stay with any of the other The Safari Collection properties and benefit from special discounted rates and priority booking and availability.
The Safari Collection is made up of luxury lodges and camps in Kenya’s finest locations.
- Giraffe Manor and The Retreat in Nairobi
- Sasaab in Samburu
- Solio Lodges in Laikipia
- Sala’s Camp in the Masai Mara