Who says there is nothing to do in Nairobi?

View Black Rhino, cuddle baby Elephants and hand-feed Giraffes… who says there is nothing to do in Nairobi?

by Donna-Marie MacKay
Like most people I originally planned to make my stay in Nairobi as short as possible.  “Get in and get out” is what most of our clients request, but if you stay awhile you might be pleasantly surprised… Adorable Elephants
Photo by Lisa Rose
The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is home to baby Elephants rescued from all over Kenya.  Many of the babies brought to the orphanage are only infants, perhaps found trapped down a well or victims of poaching or attacks.  But whilst their stories are hear breaking, the orphanage is far from a sad place. The orphanage opens daily to the public for a tiny entrance fee but for $450 you can book a totally private session where the babies are bottle-fed before embarking on an Elephant-mud-wrestling show as they take their daily dip!   Hilarious & heart-warming we watched these precious darlings for nearly an hour and were able to play with them using the hose-pipe, stroke their crusty ears and bodies, and interact with them as they flicked mud up us!  I will never forget watching them run down towards to the mud pool like excited children and the noise they made when the bottles were taken off them …. yes Elephants really do throw tantrums just like toddlers!   I would visit the orphanage again in a heartbeat and it was a pleasure to meet our very own OPULENT AFRICA foster-baby Muruit as well as several others fostered by family members and clients. Robust Rhinos Did you know you can see both Black and White Rhino just 20 minutes from the Airport?   If your safari is in the Masai Mara you might not see any Rhino but you fly right past them when you arrive into Kenya!  Highly recommended is a night at the Emakoko Lodge which is located right in the heart of the Nairobi National Park.  Bringing the bush to the city the guides at Emakoko take you on private game drives where you can expect to see not just Rhino but Lions, Giraffe, Zebra, Antelopes, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Buffalo and much more.  Or if you have a day to pass in Nairobi at the end of your safari then why not spend it in the bush and extend your game view experience in luxury! Glorious Giraffe In truth I booked a stay at Giraffe Manor for my mom and sister who were desperate to see the Giraffes up close.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about having Giraffes on the grounds of a luxury manor house and could not imagine letting a slobbery Giraffe anywhere near my face….. ewww!  But how wrong I was.  Giraffe Manor and the Giraffe interaction ranks as one of my all-time best Africa accommodation and experiences. Nothing can describe the feeling of a rare Rothschild Giraffe gently kissing you as it delicately plucks a food pellet from between your lips, or their long 18” tongues twisting expertly as they pick up pellets from your hand.   Far from wet and slobbery their mouths are dry and furry (kind of like a horse) and their lips are soft.  I spent literally HOURS feeding them on the lawn in the shadow of the beautiful manor with neither of us getting tired of it! A night at the manor is an extravagant splurge but honestly worth every penny.  Not just for the Giraffe interaction but for the beauty of the grounds and manor itself.  The food and staff are wonderful and it is the most bizarre experience having a three-course lunch outside in total luxury as you glance over to the lawn not three feet away where Giraffe and Warthog wander freely! More than a pretty place, the manor is part of a sanctuary breeding and releasing the endangered Rothschild Giraffe into the wild to help restore numbers and is to be commended for their conservation work.  Those interested in the plight of the Rothchild Giraffe can also walk to the bottom of the manor grounds and freely enter the Giraffe sanctuary & education centre where the public can also have their moment with these most elegant of animals.