“The Tall and The Beautiful”
What is the most exciting thing you have done this month? Me I (in our very typical Kenyan fashion, using “Me I…” to start a sentence). Anyway, Me I “kissed” the tallest land mammal on the planet! Twice! I “kissed” a giraffe, the Rothschild Giraffe. I did the “kissing” not by jumping or dangling on some acacia tree waiting to ambush this gentle beast, I did it at the Giraffe Center while supporting their protection. I think you should add that to your bucket list.
The giraffe center was started in the year 1979 as a rehabilitation sanctuary for the endangered Rothschild Giraffes, when their number had reduced to threatening levels. Through the efforts of the center in collaboration with African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), the center has been home to more than 700 individuals of this giraffe species some even released to other parks in Kenya. Do you know how many species of Giraffes exist and can you tell the difference?
WHY THE GIRAFFE CENTER STANDS OUT
Giraffe center is a sanctuary for the three types of giraffes we have in Kenya, out of the eight in the world, namely the Rothschild, Reticulated and Masai giraffes. It is also a center for educating the people on the importance of conservation.
HOW TO GET THERE
The center is located in Karen, 20 kms from Nairobi CBD. You can choose to drive there, or use public transport. Through public transport you will have to use matatus headed to Karen- Hardy shopping center. Alight at the bus stop near the Hardy shopping center and you can opt to either walk or take a motorbike to the Giraffe Center.
The charges are very fair for locals. It will only cost you 250 kenyan shillings as an adult and 50 shillings for a child citizen. For non-locals, the cost is $10 and $5 for adults and children respectively. Of course by the time you are reading this the prices might have changed.
WHERE TO EAT AND STAY
There is a bar and restaurant at the location that offers a variety of refreshments and food at a fair price. Not too far from the center is the Giraffe Manor, a unique boutique hotel for those looking for an exquisite location to stay at. However, plenty of hotels can be found all over the city according to your budget.
Okay, where do I start, here? Okay. The last time I visited the Giraffe center I was a child in an old rickety bus accompanied by 30 other tiny children in green school uniforms. Children don’t like taking orders especially when they are about to do mischief. I was therefore exited on this particular trip to finally visit this place on my own, as an adult, without having to take instructions from a school teacher on making queues and whatnot.
After entering the center, I was directed to a small auditorium where I was briefed on the history of the center and the giraffes. Afterwards, I was given a handful of pellets to “feed” the giraffes. I was then directed to a podium, which was tall enough to be able to access the giraffe (no climbing of trees here) and from there I held out my hand holding one pellet to avoid biting. From a safe distance and without touching my new giraffe friend and pen pal (this blog is for you Daisy, that’s her name, Daisy) I took a selfie. I am a responsible traveler, I do not encourage petting of wild animals and forcing them to take selfies. That’s cruel.
At the podium, you can also watch the giraffe walk gracefully in the thicket at the center. There are also tiny warthogs at the center.
There is also a nature trail at the center where one can take and experience the true feel of nature. There is a small stream that runs across the nature trail.
Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world, and the center provides you with an opportunity to not only interact with them but you also contribute to their conservation and get to learn amazing stuff about these tall beautiful creatures. Like did you know giraffes mostly sleep while standing? (I tried that once, but that’s a story for a different blog) Or that giraffes make noise that can barely be heard by us humans? Pay a visit or two to the Giraffe Center to learn even more interesting facts. (Rating 10/10)
Guiding and Interpretation
I learned something from my guide about giraffes, Didn’t I? No Wikipedia info on this blog, Wikipedia should in fact look for my guide. The guiding and interpretation was excellent. I can become a “Giraffist” If such a word exists. (Rating 10/10)
Apart form being a sanctuary for the giraffes, The area of the Giraffe Center was very neat and well kept. The Nature trails were well defined and proper signage was provided. There were litter bins in almost every corner to avoid improper waste disposal and from the picture above, you can see they take how they dispose their waste very seriously. I found this very commendable and I wish every tourist attraction would adapt this.
Worth noting is how hospitable every employee I interacted with was, from the security guard at the gate to every stop I made afterwards. Very impressive
OVERALL RATING 10/10
I definitely recommend a visit to Giraffe Center. Then tell me about your experience as a responsible traveler.
Reviewed by Sharon Wangari
29th March 2018