Giraffe Manor: A Unique and Unforgettable Experience

ByAndrea Thompson

February 27, 2024
Looking for a hotel that offers a little more than bed and breakfast?  What about a hotel that offers you the chance of an extraordinary wildlife encounter by being joined for breakfast?  Then a stay at Giraffe Manor Nairobi is the one for you.Looking for a hotel that offers a little more than bed and breakfast?  What about a hotel that offers you the chance of an extraordinary wildlife encounter by being joined for breakfast?  Then a stay at Giraffe Manor Nairobi is the one for you.

Looking for a hotel that offers a little more than bed and breakfast?  What about a hotel that offers you the chance of an extraordinary wildlife encounter by being joined for breakfast?  Then a stay at Giraffe Manor Nairobi is the one for you.

An iconic boutique hotel set in a leafy suburb of Nairobi and now owned by The Safari Collection.  This hotel albeit slightly tired now offers first class comfort. With twelve individually decorated rooms with the feel of staying in an elegant family home.  Each has a terrace or windows that allow the giraffes to poke their heads through and meet you.

This historic building dates back to 1932 designed by Sir Herbert Baker who designed many buildings in Kenya including the Nairobi Club, Parliament House and the State House.  His influence was the Cape Dutch style, whitewashed walls, thatched roofs and gables.  It was originally used as  a hunting lodge by Sir David Duncan, a Scottish businessman and politician.

In 1974 the property was brought by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville who turned their home into a sanctuary for the endangered giraffes, around the same time as visitors started to flock to Africa to enjoy safaris.  With verdant green gardens, courtyards and terraces you could be in a scene from “Out of Africa”.  So much so one of the bedrooms is named after the author, Karen Blixen.

The hotel is not the star of this show but the resident herd of Rothchild’s giraffes who roam the sanctuary and offer guests a unique, once-in-a-lifetime encounter over breakfast and afternoon tea when they poke their long necks into the windows of the dining room waiting for a treat or two.  The giraffes are very gentle and friendly, they can be hand fed and also pose for a perfect photo.

The Rothschild’s species of giraffe was once highly endangered, but the owners of Giraffe Manor have long been passionate about the conservation of these beautiful creatures and started a breeding programme which has successfully grown their numbers in the wild and they also founded the AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) which runs next door to the hotel and supports various community projects in the Country.

In 2009 the hotel was acquired by The Safari Collection, a family-owned company that also has a collection of luxury lodges in Kenya and they have continued the legacy of the Leslie-Melvilles with their projects.

With all amenities including shuttle bus to and from airport, bar, restaurants as well as a wellness centre with pool, spa, sauna/steam and gym.  They can also offer other activities including visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to interact with the orphaned elephants, museums, bead factories and National Parks.  They can also offer tailor-made safari to one of their four lodges.

This should be ticked off your bucket list as it really is a once in a lifetime experience where you will fall in love with these gracious animals and with Kenya and cherish the experience as I did.