One of Nairobi’s best-kept secrets is a beautiful nature park opposite the AFEW Giraffe Centre. It’s where Linda, Amy and I had a picnic to the soundtrack of birdsong in March 2016. Volunteers at the Sunrise of Africa School in Kitengela, Linda and Amy booked a day trip with us to see some of Nairobi highlights. So we visited the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the AFEW Giraffe Centre – two fantastic places where you can get up close to the animals and support conservation efforts carried out by these two organisations.
Kitengela is Kenya’s fastest-growing town and each time we visit Sunrise of Africa School it feels like we have to re-learn the way as buildings go up, roads are built and/or moved and landmarks change. Eventually I found Linda and Amy early in the morning and we headed straight to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.
My opinion is that the Elephant Orphanage is THE best place to visit in Nairobi; if you only have time to visit one attraction here, make it the baby elephants! They spend most of their day out in the Nairobi National Park, under the supervision of the keepers, learning to forage and live in the wild. The intention is for their rehabilitation back to the wild when they are old enough. But for one hour each day they run down to the centre for a milk feed and a play in front of the large number of visitors who come every day. They are fed formula milk from huge bottles – the younger ones need their bottles held by their keeper, but the older ones twirl their trunks around the bottle and hold it high, emptying the milk straight down their throats. The keepers give a talk about the orphanage and introduce each elephant, telling the story of how each orphan came to be here.
Nearby is the Giraffe Centre and opposite the Giraffe Centre is a park with walking trails and hundreds of birds. It is a serene place to spend some time out from the hustle of Kenya’s capital. Linda, Amy and I found some rocks to perch on and enjoy our picnic lunch in the peace of the bush. Only one other group came by as we feasted on salad sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt, and cakes. It sounds a simple lunch for our visitors, but after spending a month eating traditional Kenyan food (beans, lentils, spinach, everything stewed to death, and then the carbs…..), a fresh salad was a welcome change for Linda and Amy.
After lunch, we rejoined the crowds at the Giraffe Centre. Here is where you stand on platform at eye-level with the giraffes and feed them. And get a kiss if you’re really game! The centre is home to several Rothschild Giraffes, one of the most endangered species of giraffe in the world (did you know there are seven species of giraffe, three of which can be found in Kenya?). The staff give a talk about giraffes in Kenya and about the work of African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, the organisation that founded the Giraffe Centre.
Linda left this review on our Trip Advisor page:
“Tracey met us and and took us to the elephant centre, she was warm, friendly and efficient and provided an excellent picnic between the first and second visit. A very relaxed and happy day.”
Would you like to visit the elephant orphanage and giraffe centre in Nairobi? Get this free day trip with your safari when you come to Kenya between February and June! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can start planning your holiday today.