You have two opportunities to visit the orphanage, as I foster a baby elephant called Lima Lima I was lucky enough to be able to visit twice in one day.
There is an open viewing in the morning 11.00 – 12.00 where you get to see the babies/young elephants feed, play in the red mud of the park, some of them are very playful and try to spray the viewers with water. This visiting time is very busy with up to 200 people at a time. It is advisable to wear a hat and bring your own water as this is a very hot time of the day and there is no shade. I simply loved this time to see the playfulness of the younger ones, watch how they interact with each other, and the caring nature of the older ellies to the younger ones. Also of course the keepers themselves.
The second visit is from 4 -5 pm and this is reserved for people who support the charity by adopting an elephant. So when we went there were about 20 of us. You get to meet Max first who is a blind rhino and was rescued many years ago, he has his own enclosure and for obvious reasons will always be protected and taken care of at the orphanage.
You then wait for the youngsters to return from the park for bed and feeding time. It is a sight to see, they come running up as fast as there little legs can carry them, big ears flapping as they know it is time for there extra large bottles of milk. This is the opportunity to meet your own adopted elephant and the keepers. You can walk around the sleeping quarters, and the sleeping arrangements are the same for the elephants as they are for the keepers. They are never left to sleep alone.
I was moved to tears by the sheer dedication and commitment of all the staff there, they have a real connection with the elephants.
It is without doubt the best place you could visit if you are in Nairobi, worth the time it takes to get there through the awful Nairobi traffic.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa.
You can help support their work, learn about their work and once you see the baby elephants you cannot help but be moved by the sheer dedication of the keepers and the resilience of these beautiful creatures who have witnessed horrors.