Giraffe Manor is a peaceful retreat to start or end a safari in East Africa and has become an icon of Nairobi’s historical landscape.
Located in the leafy suburbs of Langata on a 140 acre sanctuary, Giraffe Manor offers a unique opportunity to meet the resident giraffe, all of whom are of the endangered Rothschild species.
Close up encounters with the semi-habituated giraffe as they put their heads through the windows at breakfast creates an unforgettable memory for guests. The giraffe are always keen to be hand fed!
Betty-the-giraffe was born in 2000 and came to Giraffe Manor in 2002. She is one of the smallest and prettiest giraffes here but she is also the shyest. Betty is named after Betty Leslie-Melville, otherwise known as “The Giraffe Lady”. Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock purchased the manor in the 1970s and she always said that the purchase of the stately home in a leafy suburb of Nairobi changed her life. The same week that the couple moved in to the manor, they learned about the plight of the Rothschild Giraffe and decided to do whatever they could to conserve them. Today, the breeding & conservation program that continues on the grounds of the manor remains Betty’s legacy.
In the room named after Betty, you will find Betty’s portrait hanging on the wall. It is a lovely, 32 square-metre south-facing room in the original manor house which was built in 1932. It has a king-size bed, fireplace and adjoining balcony from which the giraffes can be fed. The en-suite bathroom remains to this day in its original, quirky Art Deco style. We have opted not to modernize it as we prefer to embrace the period feel and protect the heritage of the building since so few tributes to Kenya’s past architecture remain. This room cannot be made into a twin and is therefore ideal for couples.
Daisy II was named after the original Daisy Rothschild, who was hand-raised by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. Her last calf, Ibrahim, was born in October 2011. Helen, her daughter, was born right here in front of the Manor in August 2009. She also had other calves like Frank who was released at two years of age into Lake Nakuru National Park in December 2008. The Leslie-Melvilles wrote a book about their experience with the first giraffe, “Raising Daisy Rothschild”, which became an international bestseller and helped to raise money to move the last of the extremely endangered Rothschild herd to the safety of Kenya’s national parks. There have since been two more Daisys at the Manor and it is Daisy IV who remains with us today. She was born in August 2009 and is identifiable by her right ear which is missing its pointed tip.
Daisy’s room is approximately 24 square-metres in size and has westward views toward the Ngong Hills. It is one of only two rooms at Giraffe Manor with a balcony from which you can feed the giraffes when they visit in the early morning looking for treats. The room can accommodate either a couple or two singles (can be a double or a twin). The en-suite facilities consist of twin sinks and a spacious shower.
Jock-the-giraffe was named after Jock Leslie-Melville; he lived to be 22 years-old, 19 feet-tall and was responsible for fathering over twenty calves, most of which have now been successfully released into Kenya’s national parks. He sadly passed away in July 2009. This lovely south-facing room is still frequented by giraffes looking for treats in the early morning hours. There are pellets in the room from which the giraffes can be fed from the window just like the Leslie-Melvilles once did with the very first giraffes they raised at the Manor. From Jock’s room you can also see the Giraffe Center, headquarters for the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), which was founded by Jock when he bought the Manor in the 1970s.
Jock’s room is approximately 28 square-metres in size and can accommodate either a couple or two singles (double or a twin). It has a fireplace and both a bathtub and shower in the en-suite facilities as well as twin sinks.
Back in 1932 when the manor was built as a private residence, the rooms were naturally built according to the original family’s needs and in keeping with the style of a traditional Scottish hunting lodge. Some rooms are therefore large and stately, whilst others are more modest in size. Marlon’s room is a small standard double/twin room, measuring approximately 92 square-feet in size. It is a side-facing room in the main manor and is not dissimilar to the sort of hotel room one would find in a major European city like Paris or Rome. Historically, Marlon did not have its own en suite facilities and, like many homes of the day, children or guests would use the water closet across the hall. This separate washroom with full-length bath still exists and Marlon’s guests are welcome to use it, but we have also added a small 30 square-foot lavatory to the room. It has a lovely shower, small sink and compact toilet. Lynn and Marlon are located next to each other and are often used to accommodate families of four since together they work well for a couple with young children. Marlon is also ideal for single guests, short stays and anyone who is not perturbed by compact spaces. Guests who stay in Marlon will also enjoy the privilege of staying in the room named after one of the manor’s original giraffes whose namesake was everyone’s favourite godfather, Marlon Brando, a friend of previous owners of Giraffe Manor. Kindly note that the giraffes do not have access to this room but you will enjoy interacting with them during the breakfast & tea services whilst staying here.
Lynn’s room is named after a giraffe who was, for many years, the guardian of our herd of Rothschild’s Giraffes. She was born in 1996 and was blessed with five calves while here at the sanctuary. She was kind, solid and reliable. Lynn, who sadly died in 2015, was named after Lynn Sherr, the award-winning news correspondent for the ABC news programme 20/20, who is also an avid admirer of giraffes and has often stayed at the Manor. Sherr’s book, “Tall Blondes”, illustrates her love and knowledge of the animals and, in our view, is the definitive work on giraffe. The room of the same name is located on the top floor of the Main Manor and, back when the residence was built in 1932, it would have served as the room for a nanny, child or visiting guest. The bedroom itself is relatively small at 15 square-metres with a beautiful, four-poster king-sized bed dominating the space. The en-suite bathroom is a spacious 10 square-metres and is equipped with a large shower and double sinks. It is important to note that Lynn’s room is situated directly above the manor kitchen so, whilst the chef and his team are always careful to prepare meals as quietly as possible, it is possible that both the sounds and smells of the daily cooking routine are discernible from Lynn’s room. The compact size of the bedroom, its proximity to the kitchen and the fact that the giraffes rarely visit Lynn are reasons why it is sold at the lowest price point of the complement of Giraffe Manor rooms. Though the room is as beautifully-appointed as the others and perfectly comfortable, we do prefer to make these attributes known in advance in the spirit of transparency and disclosure. Lynn is best reserved for guests who are staying at Giraffe Manor for only one night and who are not in need of the largest or quietest accommodations.
Karen Blixen Suite
Karen Blixen came to Kenya from Denmark to marry her friend, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke, and start a dairy farm. When she arrived in the country, however, she found, much to her surprise, that the Baron had invested in coffee instead. Whilst her attempts at growing coffee heartbreakingly failed, her courage, incredible fortitude and kindness to her Kikuyu workers, as well as her amazing grace in defeat, earned her enormous respect from the local people. As the area in which she once lived became more developed, the district of Karen was named after her. The Danish government gave Blixen’s house to the Kenyan government as an independence gift in 1964. In 1985 when her autobiography, “Out of Africa”, became an Academy Award-winning Hollywood film, the house was turned into a museum. The dressing table and cupboard in the Karen Blixen Family Room at Giraffe Manor were part of Karen Blixen’s original guest bedroom suite. The mother of Jock Leslie-Melville (who bought the manor in the 1970s) was a friend of Karen’s and the furniture was given to her as a parting gift when Karen returned to Denmark in 1931.
This 61 square-metre room is situated on the ground floor of the main manor house behind the kitchen and adjacent to the outdoor terrace where lunch is usually served. It has a king-size bed on the ground level and two single beds on a loft level accessed by a small spiral staircase. A small day bed can also be added to this room to accommodate a young child if required. The room has a large fireplace with seating area as well as shared en-suite facilities with a bathtub and shower. Much like traditional British homes of the same period, the room has a separate water closet with toilet. It is important to note that the giraffes do not have access to this room and it does not have a view of the sanctuary.
Helen the Giraffe was born in front of the Manor on 1 August 2009 but she sadly passed away in May 2015. Helen was a natural leader but she was also extremely naughty! She was the daughter of Daisy II. Helen was named after a catholic sister who was a friend of Betty Leslie-Melville who bought the manor with her husband Jock in the 1970s and began the giraffe breeding program. Sister Helen was based in Tanzania and was responsible for bringing Betty to Africa for the first time. At 43 square-metres, this large corner room in the Garden Manor is one of the most spacious and is often visited by hungry giraffes looking for treats in the morning. Guests who stay here are most welcome to feed them from Helen’s windows before breakfast. The room has two four-poster beds which can be put together to make a large double bed or separated for two singles. The room is large enough to accommodate a small extra bed for a child or baby cot if required upon request. The en-suite facilities consist of twin sinks, a bathtub and shower. Helen’s room has views towards the Ngong Hills to the west as well as southward views over the giraffe sanctuary & forest. On a very clear day, one can even see Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak in the distance from this room.
Kelly-the-giraffe was born in Nakuru National Park and was brought to the Giraffe Center in 2002. She is nicknamed Grace Kelly due to her aloof and graceful nature! She is easily recognizable due to her light coat and large ossicone on her forehead. She is often the first to arrive for treats and the last to leave and she has become infamous as the resident “head-butter” so one needs to be careful to always stay in front of her. Kelly was named after Kelly O’Connell, an avid US-based wildlife supporter and one of the directors of The African Fund Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). Kelly’s room is located upstairs in the Garden Manor, is approximately 45 square-metres in size and is beautifully appointed with traditional cane furnishings and a striking stained-glass wall in the bathroom. The room has three single beds, two of which can be put together to accommodate a couple if preferred. It also has a fireplace and views towards the south over the sanctuary forest. The en-suite facilities consist of a bathtub, shower and twin sinks. Guests can feed giraffes from Kelly’s window as they often come to visit this room in the early morning hours before breakfast.
The giraffe named Arlene was born in June 1994 but sadly passed away due to natural causes in early April 2012. She was petite in size but that did not deter her from sharing her affection with visitors. Arlene was named after Arlene Burzinski who was head of the British Airways Conservation projects which provide the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) with a tremendous amount of funding and support. Although Burzinski has left British Airways, she continues to be on the board of directors at AFEW. Arlene’s room is approximately 28 square-metres in size and is located on the upper floor of the Garden Manor. Its quirky-shaped bathroom with bathtub, shower and vintage toilet, along with its cozy feel, make it a favourite of the Giraffe Manor staff. The room has a king-size four-poster bed so is ideal for couples. It overlooks the courtyard between the main manor house and the garden manor with views beyond to the sanctuary forest. The giraffes do not have access to Arlene but the room offers wonderful views of the giraffes when they come to the manor for breakfast in the morning.
Salma-the-giraffe was born here at Giraffe Manor in November 2011. She is Betty’s daughter and although she is friendly, she is also a bit shy and we attribute this to the fact that she was attacked by a lion that had wandered away from Nairobi National Park when she was only a year old. Salma still bears the scars of this attack and is one tough lady who has also survived the unfortunate loss of two calves, both of whom died shortly after they were born. Salma’s room is amongst the newest rooms at the manor having been recently built and added to the Garden Manor section of the property in April 2017. It is located on the top floor of the Garden Manor section of the property and enjoys south-facing views over the lunch courtyard & sanctuary forest beyond. The room is 35 square-metres and can be either a double or a twin. It also has a sofa which converts to a bed that is suitable for a child if needed. The en-suite facilities consist of a bathtub, shower and single sink. Salma has a private balcony with chairs and table from where guests can enjoy wonderful views of the giraffes approaching the manor in the early morning. Although the giraffes do not have access to Salma’s room, it is a quiet room offering privacy and understated comfort to guests who also need to catch up on some rest after a long flight or busy safari. It is worth noting that the stairway up to Salma’s room is a little bit steep and thus not ideal for guests with mobility issues.
Edd-the-giraffe, son to Jock & Lynn, was born here at Giraffe Manor in July 2011 and is now the dominant male and father to all the young calves presently roaming the sanctuary grounds. He enjoys being fed from Jock’s room more than anywhere else and is a gentle giant who will happily welcome a hug in exchange for a few pellets. He is easily recognizable as the largest giraffe here and by the way his offspring hurry out of the way in deference to him when he arrives on scene. Edd’s room is amongst the newest rooms at the manor having been recently built and added to the Garden Manor section of the property in April 2017. It is a ground-floor room of 39 square-metres with striking stained-glass windows above an enormous super-king-size bed. There is also a sofa in the room which can pull out into a bed for a child if needed. The en-suite facilities consist of a corner bathtub, a large double shower and twin sinks. Although the giraffes do not have access to Edd’s room, guests can enjoy the room’s outdoor veranda area furnished with its own private bar.
Finch Hatton Suite
In 1911, Denys Finch Hatton travelled to British East Africa with money left to him by his deceased uncle. He bought some land on the western side of the Rift Valley near what is now Eldoret. He met Karen Blixen at the Muthaiga Club in 1918 and when Karen got divorced in 1925, Denys moved into her house where he lived until a few weeks before his final flight in May 1931 when he crashed his beloved Gypsy Moth in Tsavo National Park. As per Finch Hatton’s wishes, Blixen buried him in the Ngong Hills. The room named after him is on the ground floor of the Garden Manor from where you’ll often see the legs of our spotted residents when you open the curtains in the early morning as they come looking for treats from the rooms above and the adjoining dining room. This ground-floor room of 74 square-metres has a king-size bed and two single beds in a loft area which is accessed by a small spiral staircase. There is also a small day bed which can accommodate a third child if needed. The en-suite facilities have a uniquely large double-headed shower, twin sinks and a bathtub. There is also a fireplace which keeps the space wonderfully warm on the chillier Nairobi nights and a small seating area.
Activities & features:
The most unique breakfast
Share your breakfast with the giraffe popping their heads through the window.
AFEW Giraffe Centre
Included in your stay at the Manor is access to the AFEW Giraffe Centre, which is a gentle stroll across the front lawn of the house. The centre has some interesting back ground information on the rare Rothschild Giraffes and also a small nature trail that can be good for stretching your legs.
Adopt an Elephant
Visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi where you can adopt a baby elephant and see them feed from a bottle. You can adopt an elephant for US$ 50 (for two people) and visit them at 5 pm where you’ll see your baby put to bed. Or you can go at 11 am when the orphanage is open to the general public and pay a US$ 7 donation. Both experiences are very special. Transfers from Giraffe Manor are included at no extra cost.
Karen Blixen and Nairobi National Museum
Step back in time at the Karen Blixen Museum. Once the farmhouse of Baroness Karen Blixen, the museum provides guided tours of the beautifully serene grounds and gives you a sense of the style of Karen Blixen’s home with a number of original pieces of furniture still in place. Entrance into the museum is KES 800 or US$ 12. Open 9am to 6pm. Transfers from Giraffe Manor are included at no extra cost.
Visit the Nairobi National Museum for an education in Kenya’s wonderfully rich heritage. After which you can enjoy the Museums botanical gardens and something to eat or drink from the restaurant/food hall. This activity takes up half a day. Transfers can be included in a half day hire of a vehicle and driver. Five hours costs US$ 180 – for anything less than five hours please ask for a quote as we can be flexible. An entry fee of KES 1200 or US$ 14 is payable directly to the museum. Open 8.30am to 7.30pm.
Our treatment room offers a selection of massage and beauty treatments designed to restore your body’s natural balance and soothe away your stresses.
Painting in the orchid house
For the creative lot, head to the orchid house and make use of our easel, canvas and paints.
Croquet and boules
Boules and croquet are on hand at Giraffe Manor and kids can dodge the resident warthogs while challenging each other to a few rounds of these classic garden games.
Snuggle up inside next to the fire in the evening and sip on a zingy dawa whilst settling down for a game of chess.