GIRAFFE CENTER : NAIROBI, KENYA
Living in a country like Kenya, you tend to take some things for granted and don’t realize how unique they are. There’s an endearing vibe in Nairobi. Needless to say, the cheerful people and a myriad of cultures synchronize perfectly to give you what you would unofficially term “swaghili”. It is also in Nairobi that you get to see a bustling matatu culture and of course wild animals like elephants and giraffes up close as you feed them. I had visited the Giraffe Center countless times as a child and it was only when I left for campus that I got to truly appreciate it.
During one of our family vacations abroad, we got to have an eye opening experience. The tour bus stopped and then the tour guide excitedly asked us to look outside at a Kingfisher on a branch. The tourists were so delighted as they took photos to make the memory of the kingfisher sighting last. For us, it was just another bird that you dispel back home for being a nuisance. This made me realize my upbringing, and that of my fellow Kenyans, was not normal.
Giraffe Center is such a beautiful and magical sanctuary founded back in 1979 to protect the endangered species of giraffes, the Rothschild Giraffe by Jock Leslie-Melville and his wife Betty. At the time, Rothschild giraffes in the area were only 120 and were really close to extinction. The number has greatly increased, but the species is still endangered. In Kenya there are three types of giraffes; the Reticulated, the Maasai and the Rothschild giraffe. The Rothschild giraffe seems to have wear socks, while the other species have patterns running down below the knees. The Center has a brief educational lecture where you can learn more about the giraffes and the progress the center is making.
Giraffes are of course the world’s tallest mammals with eye lashes that would give mascara companies a run for their money. They have a kick that can kill a lion and you certainly wouldn’t want to get head-butted by them. Despite their tough persona, they are really beautiful and gentle creatures. At the Giraffe Center, you get to be really close to giraffes. Close enough to feed them from your palms with pellets and close enough to kiss feed them. Yes, you can put a pellet in your mouth and the giraffe will come in for a kiss.
There are also adorable warthogs roaming around freely in the sanctuary.
The Giraffe Center is located on Koitobos Road in Karen, right next to Giraffe Manor. The entrance fee is Kenya Shillings 1000 (US $10) for international visitors and Kenya Shillings 250 for local visitors. The proceeds go towards maintenance and conservation of the sanctuary.
Learn more about Giraffe Center
Check out our visit to the orphanage
Keep you posted till next time