Most of the time, my bucket list destinations are countries or cities, towns or islands. They are regions, ruins and stunning parts of nature.
However, some of my bucket list destinations are much more specific. Sometimes these wish-list travel destinations are literally just certain hotels or resorts!
Giraffe Manor was one such bucket list item.
If you have ever (like literally, ever) scrolled through Instagram, there is about a 99% chance that you will have already seen pictures of this hotel.
The history of Giraffe Manor starts in the 1930’s when wealthy European and American people flocked to East Africa to admire the unique African wildlife. The manor was originally established as a private estate, but a number of years ago it was sold and turned into a luxury manor house.
While the house is undeniably charming, what makes a stay at the manor so utterly unique is the family of Rothschild Giraffes that come to visit in the mornings and evenings!
We were picked up from our hotel in Nairobi by staff from the manor and brought to the beautiful outer suburb of Karen. Check in is from 10am, and there is plenty to do during a day at the manor. We were one of the first guests to arrive for the day, so after checking in to our teeny tiny room (more on that later) we wasted no time in heading across the property to the AFEW Giraffe Centre.
This centre is run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, and is one of the best tourist attractions for people visiting Nairobi, and as a guest of the manor, you are free to enter the centre as many times as you like.
Once in the centre, you can learn all about the Rothschild Giraffes that call this area home, and you can even feed them! If a night at the manor is out of your price range, or if it is completely booked up, this is a wonderful alternative that anybody can visit.
After seeing so many giraffes on safari who would run away as soon as the game vehicles got too close, I felt like I was so much more appreciative of being able to interact with these gorgeous creatures.
Dan was even lucky enough to score a little smooch! Any other time I found him kissing a woman named Stacey he would certainly be in big trouble, but I was happy to make an exception for such a special lady!
Eventually it was time to head back to the manor to settle into our room. We spent the night in the smallest room of the manor, the ‘Lynn’ room. This room is the most affordable in the main manor house for a number of reasons. Firstly, it features a significantly smaller bedroom than the other rooms, but it does boast a more spacious bathroom than others. Secondly, the giraffes sometimes visit actual bedrooms in the morning and poke their heads through the windows, however, the ‘Lynn’ is tucked around the back of the house and isn’t visited very frequently. Lastly, it is located directly above the manor kitchen, which does mean a bit of noise in the mornings.
However, the company who runs Giraffe Manor (The Safari Collection) are very open and upfront about these factors, as they may impact your stay. We ended up being very happy with our room, and as it was the most affordable option, we had no issues.
After settling into our room it was time for lunch, and oh what a lunch it was! Our pescatarian diet was catered for perfectly, and the Swahili fish kebabs were absolutely unreal.
The Giraffe Centre closes each day at around 5pm, and once it does, most of the giraffes mosey over to the manor to join guests for afternoon tea.
What I like most about these encounters is that they definitely don’t feel forced. The giraffes have a huge amount of land to explore, and if they don’t feel like interacting with people, they can simply head off in another direction and get some space. For example, we didn’t see the largest male once during our stay, purely because he had decided to venture off into the bush!
As much as interacting with the giraffes at the giraffe centre was amazing, we definitely did get a superior experience by being at the manor. Due to the small number of guests we were able to get much closer to the giraffes and were able to have much longer encounters. With longer encounters, we were able to get a much better understanding of all the different personalities within the group, and it wasn’t long before I started to develop favourites.
For me, Kelly was a true standout. The tallest of all the females and definitely the cheekiest, Kelly is all about the food, and if you don’t have any pellets in your hand she has been known to be a bit of a ‘biter’, and I love a lady with a feisty personality!
Fun Fact: A group of giraffes is called a ‘tower’, unless the group is moving, then they are called a ‘journey’.
This next photo is by far one of my favourites from our stay at the manor, and definitely one of my favourites from all my 2018 travels. The giraffe looks gorgeous, and I think the way I’m looking at Dan is sickeningly sweet.
Majority of guests partake in a communal dinner at the manor, but you can also do a private dinner at no extra cost. We had done quite a few communal dinners prior to this stay, so we were quite keen for a more private affair, The staff ended up setting up a dinner table in the greenhouse, and it was a really special setting for our last night in Africa.
As much as I was sad that it was my last day in Africa, I was also very excited for the morning! If you’ve heard of Giraffe Manor before now, you will probably know that it is most famous for its breakfast set up…
Getting to Nairobi: This international airport is one of the biggest hubs in Africa
Getting to Giraffe Manor: You can organise pick ups with the manor from anywhere in Nairobi
Giraffe Manor: One night in the smallest room (‘Lynn’) goes for $1240 USD and it is worth noting that these rooms book up very far in advance, so it is definitely best to plan ahead! Click here to learn more about Giraffe Manor!
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: The price may be on the steep side, but for a bucket list experience like this, it is totally worth it! Plus, the cost does include all transfers, all food, all alcohol and any laundry services