18 Jan Hotels We Love: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi – Kenya, Africa
Few places in the world encourage feeding the wild animals. This is one that advocates it—in a romantic setting that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped straight into the classic film Out of Africa.
Set on 12 acres of private land within a 140-acre indigenous forest, Giraffe Manor is an ivy-covered 1930s colonial mansion-turned-hotel, filled with stunning art deco details. But the stars of this classic Kenyan home are the rare Rothschild’s giraffes that roam that property—who aren’t shy about sticking their long necks straight through the Manor’s windows, doors, and balconies in search of treats.
>>> See Compass & Passport’s Cool Hunting feature on Giraffe Manor.
It’s an absolutely magical experience to be so close to a giraffe, near enough to see the lighter spots of its pelt and lack of patches on its legs—giving the impression of white stockings—both characteristic markers of Rothschilds’. These particular giraffes are special, and not because they’re some of the last of a giraffe breed that’s dwindled to less than a few hundred in the wild. This herd has been part of a breeding program in place since 1979, a bid to try to save the species established by the former owners of the Manor. As a result, the giraffes have some particular idiosyncrasies—like showing up at the Manor for high tea each day around 5pm, and again for breakfast at 7am.
Guests are given nutritious pellets to feed the giraffes with, a supplement to their natural diets. If you stay in one of the two rooms with an outdoor rooftop terrace (the Daisy or Betty rooms; we stayed in Daisy) you can feed the giraffes in your bathrobe and slippers.
For an even closer encounter, place a pellet lightly between your lips and hold still until an 18-inch-long black tongue nabs it away. (Warning: Sticky giraffe saliva is involved!) The experience is a rite of passage for guests at the Manor—and a thrilling one.
Rooms at the Manor are set up to take advantage of art deco details, with curtained four-poster beds, rows of windows, and many of the original details of the home, like grand staircases and fireplaces. The common rooms and dining areas are richly adorned as well—and in the morning, when the giraffes poke their long necks into the room in search of treats, their heads mingle with the chandeliers.
Rates for a stay at Giraffe Manor start at $525, and include full board, airport transfers, and access to the nearby Giraffe Center.
Keep scrolling for even more photos of this magical place.