There are only two types of people in the world: those who have a stay in “Giraffe Manor”:http://www.thesafaricollection.com/properties/giraffe-manor on their bucket list and those who’ve not yet heard of us’ according to Nick the manager of what is a unique, boutique hotel on the outskirts of Nairobi. Why unique? Well apart from the fact it’s like a stately home (all shabby chic), the main attraction is a herd of Rothschild giraffe who, along with warthogs, roam the 12 acre grounds and who poke their heads through the dining room windows early in the morning.
After an overnight flight on Kenya Airways, we arrived in Nairobi early on Christmas Day and because of the timing, the drive to the manor only took 30 minutes. Tony greeted us and immediately gave us a safety briefing: not to step out onto the lawn before 8.30am and not over the lawn’s perimeter at all because the giraffes can pack a punch as can the warthogs.
After checking in and having to enter all our details on an unfamiliar i-pad (a pen and paper would have been much quicker) breakfast was served in a long elegant dining room with windows down one side. Each table had an additional table-level tray containing home-baked muesli in a kilner jar, milk, sugar and a choice of three jams. Excellent passion fruit juice was poured from a giraffe shaped jug and multi coloured fruit skewers brought round. We ordered hot dishes from the breakfast menu (the usual English breakfast favourites).
Giraffe Manor has five rooms in the main building and a further five in a building at the rear which replicates the main building and apparently took only 10 weeks to build. The exterior was covered in creeper with colourful gardens at the back and a front lawn overlooking the parkland. Both the main house and block have a number of communal rooms with books, games and plenty of space for sitting and reading or chatting to other guests. It’s a very sociable place and log fires are lit in the evening.
There are giraffes all over, on the cushions, pictures, ornaments and as we were there at Christmas, there were lots of festive touches with traditional English decorations and even a local tree with baubles. The Christmas theme continued throughout the day with singers, dancers and acrobats performing on the lawn in the morning and an excellent roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings in the evening. We ate at one big table with Nick encouraging everyone to mix. I sat next to a Russian couple (the only non English speaking guests) who looked at their meal in amazement particularly when gravy was poured all over it. Home-made Christmas crackers (with giraffe paper and individually wrapped, giraffe themed gifts) proved to be equally bamboozling.
Our room, Arlene, a superior room in the rear block was very spacious. The leaded windows opened out and we had good view of the main house and park. There was a huge double bed with mosquito net, a sofa, chair, hairdryer and room safe (there are no tea and coffee facilities but as this is an all inclusive place, you can go across to the main building at any time). The bathroom was also large with bath, huge shower and what can only be described as a throne of a loo (but with a rather difficult flush system).
On Boxing Day we got up at 6.30am to see giraffe wandering up to the house and poking their long necks through the open windows to be hand fed from bowls of pellets. It was the most amazing experience ever. The giraffes also come up from the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife breeding centre which borders the manor, when it closes around tea time. Feeding the giraffes and feeling their long, raspy tongues as the sun sets was something that everyone should experience. Have a look at the “website”:http://www.thesafaricollection.com/properties/giraffe-manor, my photos and I’m sure it will soon be on your bucket list (even though it’s not very cheap)!