If you’re looking for a memorable and magical stay in Nairobi, Kenya, you might want to consider Giraffe Manor. This boutique hotel is not only a historical and elegant place to relax, but also a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, who roam freely around the property and often visit the guests during breakfast and tea time.
First built in 1932, the hotel was modeled after a Scottish hunting lodge, with stone fireplaces, wood paneling, and spacious rooms. It was later bought by Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock Leslie-Melville in 1974, who turned it into their home and a guest house.
The Leslie-Melvilles started by adopting an orphaned giraffe named Daisy, who became a regular visitor at the manor. They later brought more giraffes to the property, which is adjacent to a 140-acre forest that serves as their natural habitat. The giraffes became accustomed to interacting with the human guests and developed a habit of poking their heads through the windows and doors to get some treats.
Today, Giraffe Manor is owned and operated by The Safari Collection, a luxury safari company that also runs other properties in Kenya. The manor has 12 individually decorated rooms, each named after a giraffe that has lived or lives in the sanctuary. The rooms are furnished with antique furniture, four-poster beds, and original artworks. Some of the rooms have balconies or terraces that offer stunning views of the forest and the city skyline.
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The gentle giants usually visit the manor twice a day: in the morning, when they join the guests for breakfast at the sunroom or the terrace; and in the afternoon, when they come for tea and snacks at the front lawn or the courtyard. The guests can hand-feed them with specially provided pellets, or even get a kiss from them if they are lucky.
The giraffes are not the only wildlife that can be seen at Giraffe Manor. The property is also home to some warthogs, bushbucks, dik-diks, and more than 180 species of birds. Guests can enjoy watching them from their rooms or from the various lounges and gardens around the manor. They can also take a walk in the forest, where they can learn more about the flora and fauna of Kenya.