Giraffe Manor

Giraffe Manor is a peaceful retreat to start or end a safari in East Africa and has become an icon of Nairobi’s historical landscape.  Located in the leafy suburbs of Langata on a 140 acre sanctuary, Giraffe Manor offers a unique opportunity to meet the resident giraffe, all of whom are of the endangered Rothschild’s species.  Close up encounters with the semi-habituated giraffe as they put their heads through the windows at breakfast creates an unforgettable memory for guests. The inquisitive giraffe are always keen to be hand fed! The Garden Manor is the newer part of Giraffe Manor built in 2011. The Garden Manor was created to provide accommodation exclusively for guests of our collection, so that the main house can be kept as open and accessible to all. Our resident giraffes regularly enjoy visiting both parts of the manor for treats. This means that you can book the Garden Manor if you are also booking another one of our properties for the same group.

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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’s giraffe and decided to do whatever they could to conserve them. Today, the breeding and conservation programme 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 sized 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 modernise 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. This room cannot be made into a twin and is therefore ideal for couples.


Daisy II was named after the original Daisy Rothschild, who was hand-raised by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. Her last calf, Ibrahim, was born in October 2011. Helen, her daughter, was born right here in front of the manor in August 2009. She also had other calves including Frank who was released at two years of age into Lake Nakuru National Park in December 2008. The Leslie-Melvilles wrote a book about their experience with the first giraffe, “Raising Daisy Rothschild”, which became an international bestseller and helped to raise money to move the last of the extremely endangered Rothschild’s herd to the safety of Kenya’s national parks. There have since been two more Daisys at the manor and it is Daisy IV who remains with us today. She was born in August 2009 and is identifiable by her right ear which is missing its pointed tip.Daisy’s room is approximately 24 square-metres in size and has westward views towards the Ngong Hills. It is one of only two rooms at Giraffe Manor with a balcony from which you can feed the giraffes when they visit in the early morning looking for treats. The room can accommodate either a couple or two singles (can be a double or a twin). The en-suite facilities consist of twin sinks and a spacious shower.


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 African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) Giraffe Centre and headquarters, which was founded by Jock when he bought the manor in the 1970s.Jock’s room is approximately 28 square-metres in size and can accommodate either a couple or two singles (double or a twin). It has a fireplace and both a bathtub and shower in the en-suite facilities as well as twin sinks.


Back in 1932 when the manor was first built as a private residence, the rooms were naturally created according to the original family’s needs and in keeping with the style of a traditional Scottish hunting lodge. Some rooms were large and stately, whilst others were more modest in size. Marlon’s room is a combination of what used to be two small children’s or nanny bedrooms. Once upon a time, these two rooms were known to our guests as Lynn and Marlon. However, in June of 2019 we removed the wall in order to create a delightfully spacious single room that is now the new and upgraded Marlon.This 36 square-metre bedroom has twin beds that can be converted into a large double bed. There is also an adjoining sitting room with a sofa that can convert into a bed for a child. An east-facing balcony at the foot of the master bed offers guests the opportunity to feed our elegant, long-necked friends as they pass by. It’s the perfect giraffe friendly height! The spacious master bathroom has a shower and there is another compact shower and toilet at the opposite end of the room, ideal for an accompanying child. Guests who stay in Marlon enjoy the privilege of staying in the room named after one of the manor’s original giraffes. Her namesake was everyone’s favourite godfather, Marlon Brando, a friend of the previous Giraffe Manor owners.


Lynn’s room is named after a giraffe who was, for many years, the guardian of our herd of Rothschild’s giraffes. Born in 1996, she was blessed with five calves whilst here at the sanctuary. We loved her kind, solid and reliable nature. Lynn-the-giraffe, who sadly died in 2015, was named after Lynn Sherr, an award-winning news correspondent for the ABC news programme 20/20. An avid admirer of giraffes, she has often stayed at the Manor. Sherr’s book, ’Tall Blondes’, illustrates her love and knowledge of the animals and, in our view, is the definitive work on giraffe.The room of the same name is located on the ground floor of the main manor and, though one finds it hard to imagine now, it was once the original manor house kitchen. The space was cleverly converted into a beautiful 47 square-metre room in 2019 with a decadent en-suite bathroom including bathtub, shower and twin sinks. The bed can convert between a double or two singles and the room can be accessed via the old service staircase or from the ground level for guests who may have mobility issues. There is a small veranda with access to a larger, covered outdoor seating area where guests can enjoy feeding the giraffes who amble past.


Karen Blixen came to Kenya from Denmark to marry her friend, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke, and start a dairy farm. However, when she arrived in the country 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 who toiled so hard alongside her, 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 113 square-metre Karen Blixen room at Giraffe Manor is located on the top floor of the main manor house. Its spacious balcony enjoys lovely south-facing views and provides guests with the opportunity to feed the giraffes in the early morning hours. This two-bedroomed suite – the largest of all the rooms at the manor – was rebuilt and moved to its new location in 2019. Each bedroom has its own en-suite facilities with bathtub, shower and twin sinks. The master bedroom has a king-sized four poster bed, whilst the second bedroom has two single four poster beds and a small daybed which can accommodate a young child. The room also has a spacious lounge with a fireplace and a writing desk. This delightful suite is adorned with a little piece of history; a dressing table and wardrobe that were both from Karen Blixen’s original guest bedroom. 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.


Helen-the-giraffe was born in front of the manor on 1 August 2009 but she sadly passed away in May 2015. Helen was a natural leader but she was also extremely naughty! She was the daughter of Daisy II. Helen was named after a catholic sister who was a friend of Betty Leslie-Melville who bought the manor with her husband Jock in the 1970s and began the giraffe breeding programme. Sister Helen was based in Tanzania and was responsible for bringing Betty to Africa for the first time. At 43 square-metres, this large corner room in the Garden Manor is one of the most spacious and is often visited by hungry giraffes looking for treats in the morning. Guests who stay here are most welcome to feed them from Helen’s windows before breakfast. The room has two four poster beds which can be put together to make a large double bed or separated for two singles. The room is large enough to accommodate a small extra bed for a child or baby cot if required upon request. The en-suite facilities consist of twin sinks, a bathtub and shower. Helen’s room has views towards the Ngong Hills to the west as well as southward views over the giraffe sanctuary and forest. On a very clear day, one can even see Mount Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak in the distance from this room.


Kelly-the-giraffe was born in Nakuru National Park and was brought to the Giraffe Centre in 2002. She is nicknamed Grace Kelly due to her aloof and graceful nature! She is easily recognisable due to her light coat and large ossicone on her forehead. She is often the first to arrive for treats and the last to leave and she has become infamous as the resident “head-butter” so be careful to always stay in front of her. Kelly was named after Kelly O’Connell, an avid US-based wildlife supporter and one of the directors of The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). Kelly’s room is located upstairs in the Garden Manor, is approximately 45 square-metres in size and is beautifully appointed with traditional cane furnishings and a striking stained-glass wall in the bathroom. The room has three single beds, two of which can be put together to accommodate a couple if preferred. It also has a fireplace and views towards the south over the sanctuary forest. The en-suite facilities consist of a bathtub, shower and twin sinks. Guests can feed giraffes from Kelly’s window as they often come to visit this room in the early morning hours before breakfast.


The giraffe named Arlene was born in June 1994 but sadly passed away due to natural causes in early April 2012. She was petite in size but that did not deter her from sharing her affection with visitors. Arlene was named after Arlene Burzinski who was head of the British Airways Conservation projects which provide the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) with a tremendous amount of support. Although Burzinski has left British Airways, she continues to be on the board of directors at AFEW. Arlene’s room is approximately 28 square-metres in size and is located on the upper floor of the Garden Manor. Its quirky-shaped bathroom with bathtub, shower and vintage toilet, along with its cosy feel, make it a favourite of the Giraffe Manor staff. The room has a king-sized four poster bed so is ideal for couples. It overlooks the courtyard between the main manor house and the Garden Manor with views beyond to the sanctuary forest. The giraffes do not have access to Arlene but the room offers wonderful views of the giraffes when they come to the manor for breakfast in the morning.


Salma-the-giraffe was born here at Giraffe Manor in November 2011. She is Betty’s daughter and although she is friendly, she is also a bit shy and we attribute this to the fact that she was attacked by a lion that had wandered away from Nairobi National Park when she was only a year old. Salma still bears the scars of this attack and is one tough lady who has also survived the unfortunate loss of two calves, both of whom died shortly after they were born. Salma’s room is amongst the newest rooms at the manor having been recently built and added to the Garden Manor section of the property in April 2017. It is located on the top floor of the Garden Manor and enjoys south-facing views over the lunch courtyard and sanctuary forest beyond. The room is 35 square-metres and can be either a double or a twin. It also has a sofa which converts to a bed that is suitable for a child if needed. The en-suite facilities consist of a bathtub, shower and single sink. Salma has a private balcony with chairs and table from where guests can enjoy wonderful views of the giraffes approaching the manor in the early morning. Although the giraffes do not have access to Salma’s room, it is a quiet room offering privacy and understated comfort to guests who need to catch up on some rest after a long flight or busy safari. It is worth noting that the stairway up to Salma’s room is a little bit steep and thus not ideal for guests with mobility issues.


Edd-the-giraffe, son to Jock and Lynn, was born here at Giraffe Manor in July 2011 and is now the dominant male and father to all the young calves presently roaming the sanctuary grounds. He enjoys being fed from Jock’s room more than anywhere else and is a gentle giant who will happily welcome a hug in exchange for a few pellets. He is easily recognisable as the largest giraffe here and by the way his offspring hurry out of the way in deference to him when he arrives on scene. Edd’s room is amongst the newest rooms at the manor having been recently built and added to the Garden Manor section of the property in April 2017. It is a ground-floor room of 39 square-metres with striking stained-glass windows above an enormous super-king-sized bed. There is also a sofa in the room which can pull out into a bed for a child if needed. The en-suite facilities consist of a corner bathtub, a large double shower and twin sinks. Although the giraffes do not have access to Edd’s room, guests can enjoy the room’s outdoor veranda area furnished with its own private bar.


In 1911, Denys Finch Hatton travelled to British East Africa with money left to him by his deceased uncle. He bought some land on the western side of the Rift Valley near to what is now Eldoret. He met Karen Blixen at the Muthaiga Club in 1918 and when Karen got divorced in 1925, Denys moved into her house where he lived until a few weeks before his final flight in May 1931 when he crashed his beloved Gypsy Moth in Tsavo National Park. As per Finch Hatton’s wishes, Blixen buried him in the Ngong Hills. The room named after him is on the ground floor of the Garden Manor from where you’ll often see the legs of our spotted residents when you open the curtains in the early morning as they come looking for treats from the rooms above and the adjoining dining room. This ground-floor room of 74 square-metres has a king-sized bed and two single beds in a loft area which is accessed by a small spiral staircase. There is also a small day bed which can accommodate a third child if needed. The en-suite facilities have a uniquely large double-headed shower, twin sinks and a bathtub. There is a fireplace which keeps the space wonderfully warm on the chillier Nairobi nights and a small seating area.