A Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip in Kenya: Giraffe Manor

Pool at Giraffe Manor © Brian Siambi

By Allie Murray

Giraffe Manor is more than just a name—located in Nairobi, Kenya, Rothschild’s giraffes have freely roamed its lawns since the 1970s. The house—built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan of the Mackintosh family, famous for Mackintosh Toffee—was later reopened as a hotel in 1994 and has captivated the interest of travellers ever since.

Giraffe Manor is one of four hotels run by The Safari Collection, run by husband and wife duo Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, who took over ownership of the hotel in 2009. As fourth-generation Kenyans, the pair have a passion for the area, not only wanting to show tourists the beauty the region has to offer but also to show how the precious lands and wildlife need to be protected.

By uniting tourism and conservation, The Safari Collection has partnered with local charities, many of which are dedicated to giraffe conservation and other wildlife native to Nairobi. Giraffe populations in Africa have dropped by almost 30 per cent since the 1980s, with some giraffe species—one of which is the Rothschild’s giraffe—sitting on the critically endangered list.

As part of their conservation efforts, Giraffe Manor encourages visitors to share their giraffe selfies on social media with the hashtag #BehindTheSelfie, along with facts about giraffes to raise awareness about the endangered animal.

giraffe manor
© Robin Moore
© Courtesy of Giraffe Manor

With a stay at the luxury hotel, there are countless opportunities to get up close and personal with not only giraffes, but many other animals in the area. On the Migration Extravaganza tour, guests can watch wildebeest migration or look for fossils on the unique Fossil Hunting tour.

Similarly, created exclusively for guests of Giraffe Manor, The Retreat offers a haven of wellness and relaxation against a backdrop of nature. There are a wide array of wellness packages to choose from, including a soak in the luxurious 21-metre infinity pool, which overlooks the giraffe sanctuary. Other offers include a spa, gym, and rooftop gardens.

After a day of wildlife viewing, lay your head in one of the manor’s six rooms—the Karen Blixen Suite, named after the Danish author, Betty Superior Room, Jock Superior Room, Lynn Superior Room, and Daisy Superior Room, named after giraffes who have once called the grounds of Giraffe Manor home, and finally Marlon Superior Room, which is the combination of what used to be two small children’s bedrooms when the house was originally built in 1932.

To meet demands of the popular hotel, the Garden Manor was built in 2011 as a replica of the original manor house. It also features six rooms—Helen Superior Room, Kelly Superior Room, Arlene Superior Room, Salma Superior Room, and Edd Superior Room, all named after giraffes, and Finch Hatton Suite, named after the late partner of author Karen Blixen.

© Thandiwe Muriu

With a trip to Giraffe Manor, visitors can not only enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but also give back to the endangered species with their reservation. Giraffe Manor works closely with the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife to support conservation and breeding of Rothschild’s giraffes, and for every guest that stays at the hotel, The Safari Collection donates $10 to the organization. The success of the program has seen wild Rothschild’s giraffes recover from the brink of extinction.

© Courtesy of Giraffe Manor
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