Giraffe Manor sounds like something out of a fairy tale: magical, enchanting and just past the realms of possibility. And yet as you can see, its very real indeed.
This unique hotel, which is part of the exclusive The Safari Collection, sits unobtrusively on private land in the middle of a forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi. It’s just 45 minutes’ drive from the airport yet on arrival here you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another era – or even another land.
Inside the magnificent vine-covered building the look and feel is that of an opulent 1930’s colonial manor thanks to the original fireplaces, heavy print wallpaper, gleaming polished wooden floors and sumptuously upholstered furniture, all interspersed with African-influenced statement pieces.
The ambience – helped along by the endlessly helpful and well-informed staff – is altogether luxurious, yet warm and welcoming too. Each of the 12 characterful bedrooms is individually decorated and boasts its own signature touches: think exposed beams, high ceilings, comfy sofas, private balconies and whimsical four-poster beds draped in gauzy curtains. In the main building, there’s a library room for quiet relaxation, a gorgeous light-filled conservatory where you can opt to eat dinner, plenty of window seats with stunning views and snug armchairs perfect for curling up in. Venture outside to the sun-drenched courtyard and it’s all too easy to imagine yourself as a lord or lady of the manor who spends their days ambling around the leafy grounds.
While this is all rather wonderful, the really extraordinary thing about this destination is the very special permanent residents. A majestic herd of Rothschild giraffes roam freely about the forest grounds and pay daily visits to the manor. Depending on the bedroom that you stay in, staff will leave food out on the window sills at night, meaning that the next morning your alarm clock could well be in giraffe form. At breakfast time expect to look up from your coffee and into the inquisitive, long-lashed eyes of a giraffe or two as they poke their graceful necks through one of the large windows and attempt to nibble on a piece of toast or just give you a quick nuzzle. Later on in the day, as you settle yourself out on the terrace and tuck into a decadent afternoon tea complete with beautifully light and crumbly homemade scones, jam and plenty of cream, it’s likely that yet more giraffes will wander by. Toss a pellet of food their way and they’ll demonstrate an impressive level of dexterity by seamlessly catching it in their mouths and the more adventurous can even attempt the giraffe kiss: hold a pellet between your lips and the giraffes will utilise their notoriously long tongues and take it from you.
Spending a couple of relaxing wonder-filled days at Giraffe Manor provides a complete escape from the reality of everyday life. Whatever your age or reason for holidaying – honeymoon, family trip, high-octane adventure – this is an experience that can only be described as utterly entrancing and entirely memorable.
Giraffe Manor, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya
+254 725 675 830 +254 731 914 732
WORDS: SARAH PRICE
PHOTOS: SUKAINA RAJABALI