Giraffe Manor (owned by The Safari Collection), is a 12 bedroom, quaint boutique hotel, located in the Nairobi suburb, Langata. Each room is named after a giraffe, except the Karen Blixen suite and the Finch Hatton suite.
I reserved the Marlon room. This room was named after one of the original giraffes; however, the giraffe was named after the previous owner’s friend, Marlon Brando. The Marlon room is perfect for Solo Travelers or anyone comfortable in small spaces, as it’s one of the smallest rooms in the main Manor, with two standard twin beds.
Although the property is beautiful, the main attraction is the Rothschild’s Giraffes. The giraffes spend most of their day roaming the forest sanctuary or entertaining guests at the Giraffe Center, but twice a day they visit the manor.
Anyone can pay to visit the Giraffe Center, but only guests of the Manor can feed the Giraffes, while dining, at the Manor.
If you do it right, you only need one night at the Manor, to get the full experience,
I highly recommend arriving by check-in time (11:am). Arriving at 11:00 allows enough time to check-in, get settled in your room and briefly visit the Giraffe Center before lunch (1pm).
The FoodOne can not think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well ~ Virginia Woolf
Second to the giraffes, the food is the next best thing about Giraffe Manor. The resident head chef, David Kisevu caters to all dietary needs. His passion for his craft is demonstrated through presentation and the combination of flavors in every dish served.
All reservations are full-board (aka all inclusive). It includes all of your meals and unlimited alcohol and beverages, 24 hours per day. There’s a self service bar, with premium liquor, as well as a full service kitchen.
Lunch and dinner exceeded my expectations.
Lunch (1pm): The Chicken Chimmichangas was delicious, paired with a glass of Rose’ and ending with fruit sorbet and Kenyan tea. I couldn’t get enough of the Kenyan tea.
Afternoon Tea (5pm): this is the final giraffe feeding of the day.
Afternoon tea is not a formal tea sitting. Self service includes cookies, fruit, tea and assorted tea sandwiches, scones and pastries.
Dinner (7:30pm): It was pretty dark by the time dinner started, so I didn’t get great photos; however, the candlelit ambiance was perfect. Families and/or friends were grouped together and there were mini heaters at each table; which, helped with the bugs and the cool night air.
My dinner favorite was the Creamed Cauliflower Soup with Burnt Cumin Seed & Chili Butter and the Caramelized Banana. The Grilled Chicken, Root Vegetable Gratin and Asparagus paired very well with Sauvignon Blanc.
Breakfast (6am): It’s highly recommended that you plan to arrive downstairs for breakfast between 6:00 and 6:30 if you want to feed the giraffes in the main dining room.
Each room has a container of giraffe pellets sitting on the window sill because the giraffes approach the manor windows looking for food around 5:30 am, according to the staff.
Before going and on arrival I received mixed messages on how to obtain a window seat. Some said arrive early because it’s first come, first serve and others said the tables are reserved for specific guests (guests in the more expensive suites). Nonetheless, I made sure I was assigned to one of the tables and I arrived early to ensure I covered both basis to secure a window seat. This is where most of the Instagram photos you’ve seen happen.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take time here to talk about the phenomenal service provided by the staff. The gentleman that assists with your bags on arrival, become your photographer, giraffe instructor, dinner servers and they are available for anything else you need. The gentleman assigned to me, secured my table, videotaped and photographed me at breakfast with the giraffes.
For the first hour or so, there are light snacks sitting out for breakfast, i,e., fruit, pastries, tea and coffee. However, no one was eating because we were all feeding the giraffes. Once the giraffes start to wander away from the dining room windows and all of the photo ops have taken place, formal breakfast is served.
After breakfast, I headed back to my room to pack and relax for an hour before checkout time.
If you didn’t make it to the Giraffe Center after check-in, you can still go after you checkout.
THINGS you should know before you go:
- There are no televisions in the room
- Wifi works well
- You can only lock the door on the rooms when you’re in the room; otherwise, it’s unlocked so lock your valuables in the safe or carry them with you
- Giraffe center accepts credit cards and Kenyan shillings
- Bring cash to tip your servers / guides
Overall Giraffe Manor exceeded my expectations; however, I have two improvement recommendations:
- The giraffes might enjoy a cold shower, but I don’t. The water in the shower was cold and considering the cool temperature at night it was not fun taking a cold shower before bed.
- Giraffe Manor offers car service to/from their property, as part of your room reservation. I spent the night the day before and after Giraffe Manor, at the luxurious Hemingways. I was quite surprised at the old beat up car that they sent to pick me up. I don’t even think the car had air conditioning because the driver kept the windows open for the entire ride. Had I known this to be the case, I would’ve had one of Hemingway’s drivers pick up and drop me off. For 5 star accommodations, I expected better transportation.