Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel in Nairobi, Kenya that offers the backdrop for some of the most envy-worthy travel photos on the internet. The stately manor is located on 12 acres of private land and is home to a herd of Rothschild’s giraffes who often poke their long necks into the windows in hopes of receiving a treat.
Black Travel Movement family member Jessica Coe, who has visited 41 countries with her husband and six-year-old daughter (@kidwithapassport), gave us the inside scoop on these wildly unique accommodations. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Giraffe Manor.
Giraffe Manor has very strict check-in and check-out policies. You can’t check in before 2:00 PM. So, we got a hotel by the airport at the suggestion of the Giraffe Manor and they sent a driver to pick us up from there. We were like little kids, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and they were there right on time to come get us. They had water and refreshments in the van. And the driver gave us an impromptu tour on our way to the manor.
When we arrived, there were these big wooden doors that have life-like giraffes on them. The guards opened up the wooden doors and it was like a movie. From the moment we got there, we were treated like royalty. They took our bags from the car. They had washcloths and welcome drinks for us.
As soon as we checked in and signed the waivers, they took us up to our room. The Giraffe Manor is all-inclusive. That means all meals and most drinks (house wines, house beers and house spirits) are included with your stay. They even washed my clothes! They brought them back nice, warm, and folded. Taxi service is also provided for local excursions.
The Giraffe Centre:
After check-in, we walked across the lawn to the Giraffe Centre. The Giraffe Centre is where the public can come to feed and interact with the giraffes. A member of the staff accompanied us. He said, “Oh come, this giraffe is over here. You’ll be able to take pictures without people around.” And he kept a pocket full of food to give to us. At one point, he was holding my purse for me so we could take pictures. It was a great VIP experience.
The giraffes come out twice a day; once at tea time which is 4:00 PM and then in the morning for breakfast. As we sat for tea, crumpets, cake, and sandwiches we saw the giraffes crossing the grass coming towards us at the Giraffe Manor. It was amazing!
They have named all of the giraffes and the guides know each giraffe by sight. Every guest had a guide with them so that they could show us how to interact with the giraffes. They take your pictures. They pose you. We stayed out there for about two hours at tea time with the giraffes, just feeding them and everything.
They have a saying, “No food. No friends.” Because the giraffes just want you for your food. They are still wild animals. So, if you don’t have food or if you take too long to feed them, they will head-butt you or walk away.
The food was really good. We’re vegan so that was one of my concerns but they had vegan menus for us and the menus changed every day so you were able to choose what meal you wanted. They had coconut banana pancakes with syrup. They had different soups. They had really good vegan food. The other guests were eating steak and lamb and seemed to enjoy their meals as well.
In the morning, the giraffes come to the house because they are expecting food. They only visit the rooms on the top floor of the manor so I made sure to book one of those rooms. The staff provides bowls of food ahead of time. It was still a little dark outside when I opened up the curtain and there was a giraffe standing right at the window! I screamed! I knew they were coming but I wasn’t expecting these huge eyes to be right there.
First, you eat your breakfast. You’re not allowed to interact with the giraffes until after you eat. Once they clear away your food, they put the giraffe food on the table and that’s when the giraffes eat from the table. That’s what makes them bring their heads in the window. So, they’re not really eating while you’re eating.
When they’re not being fed, the giraffes eat eucalyptus leaves so their breath is so minty. Their breath smells like mouthwash. I’m a big kid. So, I warned my husband and my daughter, “I’m kissing a giraffe.”
They’re like, “That’s fine. We are not kissing a giraffe and you can not kiss us after you kiss a giraffe!”
When they smelled the giraffes’ breath and saw how I was doing it, they changed their minds. Their breath doesn’t stink. It smells better than most humans.
I tell everyone, it’s so worth it! We stayed for two nights but one night is really good enough as long as you’re there by two o’clock so that you can do tea time at four and then have breakfast with the giraffes in the morning. It’s one of the best and most memorable experiences that we’ve had.