Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel, set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi. As one of Nairobi’s most iconic buildings, Giraffe Manor has extraordinary appeal, that harks back to the 1930s when European visitors first flocked to East Africa to enjoy safaris. With its stately façade, elegant interior, verdant green gardens, sunny terraces and delightful courtyards, guests often remark that it’s like walking into the film Out of Africa: indeed, one of its twelve rooms is named after the author Karen Blixen.
However, the most fascinating thing about Giraffe Manor is its herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffe who may visit morning and evening, sometimes poking their long necks into the windows in the hope of a treat, before retreating to their forest sanctuary. Giraffe Manor can be booked for the night or as part of a complete tailor-made safari with The Safari Collection.
Giraffe Manor was built in 1932 and was modelled on a Scottish hunting lodge. The history of elegant-legged giraffes on its lawns dates back to the 1970s when Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville first adopted an orphaned Rothschild’s giraffe, Daisy. Tanya and Mikey Carr-Ha
The fantastic thing about the Manor is that many of the suites & rooms are named after guests that have stayed and became part of the history behind Giraffe Manor and as far as accommodation goes the rooms & suited here are absolutely amazing Below is a description of just 3 rooms that will give you an accurate picture of just how amazing the rooms are at Giraffe Manor.
Karen Blixen Suite - Karen Blixen came to Kenya from Denmark to marry her friend, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke, and start a dairy farm. When she arrived in the country, however, she found, much to her surprise, that the Baron had invested in coffee instead. Whilst her attempts at growing coffee heartbreakingly failed, her courage, incredible fortitude and kindness to her Kikuyu workers, as well as her amazing grace in defeat, earned her enormous respect from the local people. As the area in which she once lived became more developed, the district of Karen was named after her.
The Danish government gave Blixen’s house to the Kenyan government as an independence gift in 1964. In 1985 when her autobiography, “Out of Africa”, became an Academy Award-winning Hollywood film, the house was turned into a museum. The dressing table and cupboard in the Karen Blixen Family Room at Giraffe Manor were part of Karen Blixen’s original guest bedroom suite. The mother of Jock Leslie-Melville (who bought the manor in the 1970s) was a friend of Karen’s and the furniture was given to her as a parting gift when Karen returned to Denmark in 1931.
This 61 square-metre room is situated on the ground floor of the main manor house behind the kitchen and adjacent to the outdoor terrace where lunch is usually served. It has a king-size bed on the ground level and two single beds on a loft level accessed by a small spiral staircase. A small day bed can also be added to this room to accommodate a young child if required. The room has a large fireplace with seating area as well as shared en-suite facilities with a bathtub and shower. Much like traditional British homes of the same period, the room has a separate water closet with toilet. It is important to note that the giraffes do not have access to this room and it does not have a view of the sanctuary.
Betty's Room - Betty-the-giraffe was born in 2000 and came to Giraffe Manor, in 2002. She is one of the smallest and prettiest giraffes here but she is also the shyest. Betty is named after Betty Leslie-Melville, otherwise known as “The Giraffe Lady”. Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock purchased the manor in the 1970s and she always said that the purchase of the stately home in a leafy suburb of Nairobi changed her life.
The same week that the couple moved in to the manor, they learned about the plight of the Rothschild Giraffe and decided to do whatever they could to conserve them. Today, the breeding & conservation program that continues on the grounds of the manor remains Betty’s legacy.
In the room named after Betty, you will find Betty’s portrait hanging on the wall. It is a lovely, 32 square-metre south-facing room in the original manor house which was built in 1932. It has a king-size bed, fireplace and adjoining balcony from which the giraffes can be fed. The en-suite bathroom remains to this day in its original, quirky Art Deco style. We have opted not to modernize it as we prefer to embrace the period feel and protect the heritage of the building since so few tributes to Kenya’s past architecture remain.
Jock's Room - Jock-the-giraffe was named after Jock Leslie-Melville; he lived to be 22 years-old, 19 feet-tall and was responsible for fathering over twenty calves, most of which have now been successfully released into Kenya’s national parks. He sadly passed away in July 2009.
This lovely south-facing room is still frequented by giraffes looking for treats in the early morning hours. There are pellets in the room from which the giraffes can be fed from the window just like the Leslie-Melvilles once did with the very first giraffes they raised at the Manor. From Jock’s room you can also see the Giraffe Center, headquarters for the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), which was founded by Jock when he bought the Manor in the 1970s. Jock’s Room is a front-facing Superior room in the main manor with giraffe feeding access. Double or twin beds and fire place. En-suite bathroom with shower and bath.
Breakfast with a Giraffe
Giraffe Manor is part of a collection of four luxury boutique camps and lodges in the finest locations in Kenya. Tanya and Mikey are fourth generation Kenyans descended from settler families, each of which carved out their own paradise in an un-spoilt wilderness. It is this pioneering spirit from which The Safari Collection was born. The energy and passion of our dynamic team flows through everything that we do. Our authentic, first hand knowledge expands the entire region helping us to create unique, cutting-edge experiences.
The collection of properties: include Giraffe Manor, Sasaab, Solio Lodge and Sala’s Camp. Each has its own unique environment and distinct features, bringing Kenya’s glorious wildlife together with history, culture and an unrivalled guest experience. Why not arrange stays with their partner properties elsewhere in the region as part of a bespoke itinerary. Whether it is a family of four with young children, a honeymooning couple or a work incentive trip. Let us organise everything from the perfect accommodation to private transfers by air or land and add experiences from an endless range. Choose from horse riding, hot-air ballooning, fly camping under the stars, camel trekking and visiting local villages to learning about their traditions. The options are almost limitless and for those that just want to relax there is always the spa and so much more to make this an unforgetable journey for the whole family.