This Giraffe Manor Hotel Review aims to let you decide whether or not to visit one of the most intriguing hotels in Kenya.
As the car pulls into the driveway, the gravel scrunches beneath the tyres. The sun settles on the stone-clad ivy and fluffy clouds puff past overhead. The Manor looks straight from Scotland, but the rust red earth betrays the fact that this is Africa.
Well, that and the warthogs scurrying past, tails ramrod straight like lightning conductors.
Giraffe Manor lives on the outskirts of Nairobi amid a 12 acre enclosure that marries sub-Saharan safari with the British National Trust. It’s the perfect stop after the overnight flight from London before further flights and long drives set in.
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Cool white mosquito nets breeze between dark teak cabinets, floors and plum purple rugs. Imposing staircases, open fireplaces and well-stocked bookcases bring a warm sense of grandeur to the place but it doesn’t take too long to spot a motif.
Giraffe mosaics glitter above the bath, giraffe letter holders glint on the desk and through the breakfast and bedroom windows swing the necks of giraffes themselves.
It may not look like it, but these long-lashed, long legged, long necked creatures are under threat. The Rothschild giraffe, as distinguished from the reticulated giraffe with its “white stockings” and creamier whites and more mocha browns, is critically endangered, with only a few hundred remaining in the wild.
And it was the desire to try to save the species that led to the creation of Giraffe Manor in the first place.
They’re curious creatures to see up close, lolloping in a steady yet ungainly rhythm, knees looking ready to buckle at any moment, necks looking stronger than a steel-reinforced boa constrictor.
Staff here know them by name, calling out to their favourites and showering us with instructions and food pellets to entice them in.
I’ve never felt to comfortable feeding animals, I’m embarrassed to say. Each time a horse has chomped its lips near my hand, visions of a quick bite and salivary suction hoovering up my hand to the elbow makes me jitterier than a over-caffeinated crackerjack.
With giraffes, it’s different. A little.
First, their heads look less harmful, til they swoop down at great speed, swerving through the window like a velociraptor resurrected from Jurassic Park.
Without a moment’s pause, they’ve found my hand .
And the pellets.
And they’re biting…
They are…softly tickling.
Like the touch of dry, fluffed velvet, the giraffe tongues snuffle up the pellets, leaving a gloopy trail of saliva that would feel at home on a Ghostbusters film set.
Rapport thus established, I’m encouraged to slide my hand along the top segment of her neck, my hand small against the smoky brown jigsaw.
While a giraffe tongue feels soft, their coat feels tough and wiry, more camel hide than smooth, glossy horse. But their eyelashes simply mesmerise.
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And then, pellets exhausted, the eyelashes and the head that holds them swoops backwards up and out and away.
And their gangly, lumbering yet oddly majestic stroll carries these twiglet-twinned creatures away, across the terrace, across the grass and out of site into the grounds of Giraffe Manor.
And I am left, simply watching.
Giraffe Manor is one of the four stunning safari properties that make up The Safari Collection’s portfolio. You can organise an individual stay here or add it to a bespoke tour of luxury safari lodges in Kenya.
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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