By Nichola Zed, Travel Editor
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would wake up to a Giraffe peering into my bedroom window, or sticking its neck into the dining room to ‘pinch’ my breakfast! Like a scene from Jumanji, Giraffe Manor is stunning in both scenery and spirit. As a winner of the Best Family Hotel in Africa – Travel and Leisure’s prestigious 2014 World’s Best 50 – we were expecting this hotel to be unique; actually it was much, much more. Located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Giraffe Manor is the proud home of a sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild Giraffe. This friendly herd of eight Rothschild Giraffe, greet guests of the hotel in the morning and evenings, thrilling them as they poke their long necks through the windows before venturing out in their sanctuary.
The Manor boutique hotel is one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings, dating back to the 1930’s, in a style reminiscent of the early days of Europeans in East Africa. The hotel has 10 rooms, all named after important individuals with their own distinct personalities who have helped the Manor through the years.
Boasting green gardens, beautiful sunny terraces and delightful courtyards, and sitting on 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest, the Manor is the passion of Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley. They manage a portfolio of exclusive luxury lodges and camps (including Giraffe Manor) across Kenya called The Safari Collection, acting as a tour operator to arrange bespoke itinerates for guests visiting their properties. Excursions include an adventure into Rwanda to trek through a forest looking for Gorillas, travel to the desert of Samburu to ride on camels, and a safari in untouched Masai Mara. Conservation and community are key pillars of the Carr-Hartley’s ethos, while tours and guided adventures carry these hallmarks and are educational and inspiring. The dedicated members of staff are committed to community and preservation, which you can understand when you spend time looking out onto the wonder of the landscape to realize how fragile it is. More than many places I have personally visited the eco tourism commitment of Giraffe Manor was impressive, dedicated to maintaining and enhancing this incredible landscape.
Africa is known for its wildlife and unique landscapes, and Giraffe Manor was the perfect place to stay and experience everything about this amazing part of the world. The respect shown for these majestic creatures was to be admired, and I wanted to engage with them forever. I will never forget being part of the giraffes’ daily lives and bonding with them, and I left Nairobi inspired by its stunning vistas, vibrant colors and magical animals in the wild, having experienced the trip of a lifetime.
Photo Credit: Giraffe Manor