Giraffe Center in Nairobi: Trip Report
I ncluded in the safari package in Kenya which I purchased was a trip to the Giraffe Center — whose actual name is the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya limited, which was established in 1979 by a married couple comprised of a Kenyan citizen of British descent and an American citizen — in Nairobi.
The vision and mission of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya limited — “A Kenyan Population in harmony with nature and living sustainably” and “To promote sustainable environmental conservation through education for the youth in Kenya” — greets visitors at the entrance to the nature conservation education center, which is famous throughout the world.
Note that this giraffe is not a Masai giraffe — such as the ones I saw roaming in the wild while on safari in Masai Mara National Reserve in southern Kenya — but rather a Rothschild giraffe, which is an endangered species. Fewer than 700 are believed to still remain in the wild; and greater than 450 are kept in zoos and other captive environments. You can tell the differences between the two types of giraffes by the patterns on their coats.
This sign displays information as to the precise location of the Giraffe Center.
“The Masai giraffe — indigenous to southern Kenya where the Masai Mara National Reserve is located — is identified by the pattern of reddish-brown jagged irregular patches throughout its coat of short yet rough bristles of fur.” I knew how the fur felt from petting the giraffes at the Giraffe Center…
…but there is a reason why there is a sign warning to “please watch out for headbutts.” Giraffes are typically not social animals. The only reason why the ones at the Giraffe Center allow you to pet and touch them is so that they can be fed by you — and they give you a very limited window of opportunity to pet and touch them.
I did not witness anyone receiving a head butt from a giraffe.
Giraffes apparently have long tongues. This one tries to reach for pellets of food in the hand of a visitor.
The giraffes have plenty of space in which to roam freely — a nature sanctuary which comprises 95 of approximately 120 acres of land, to be more precise — as well as other animals with whom they share the terrain.
The feeding platform — which is not very large — is the highlight of a visit to the Giraffe Center, where visitors can interact with the giraffes as they feed them.
You are being watched at all times. I will stick my neck out on this one; but somehow I do not believe this Wells Fargo company is affiliated with the finance and banking corporation of the same name based in the United States.
If there were a fashion magazine specifically for giraffes, this photograph would be interesting for its cover.
This giraffe gently eats a handful of pellets from the hand of a new friend. Yes, you can have these giraffes literally eating out of your hand. The texture of their tongues are like mild soft wet sandpaper.
This fellow just swooped in out of nowhere behind me, still lunging for some food as I swept around to catch a quick photograph.
“The endangered Rothschild giraffe breeding programme started with the inception of the Giraffe Centre back then in 1979”, according to the official Internet web site of the Giraffe Center where you can learn more about the specific giraffes and their names and histories; “….and the young calves born at the centre are introduced back into the wild at the age of 2 years. The giraffes at the centre are closely observed and monitored by AFEW staff and when need be their natural diet is supplemented with Lucern Grass, salt blocks and carrots. Ever since the breeding started, the centre has handled over 50 Rothschild giraffes and most of them have been introduced back into the wild in selected Kenya’s protected areas.”
Tortoises also comprise of the residents at the Giraffe Center.
Yes, I am talking about you. Smile for the readers.
Other than the physical interactions with the giraffes as well as a perspective of viewing them as up close as you like — both of which I truly enjoyed — I could not help but feel that visiting the Giraffe Center is slightly disappointing after observing giraffes out in the wild on safari.
That is not to say that I would rather not have visited; but I probably would have preferred that the visit was prior to the safari. In fact, I would highly recommend a visit which the whole family will enjoy.
You can stay for 30 minutes if you just want to feed and touch the giraffes; or you can stay for the entire day if you want to take your time and take in everything which the Giraffe Center has to offer.
The Giraffe Center is located on Duma Road in Nairobi; and is open daily between 9:00 in the morning through 5:00 in the afternoon, seven days per week — including weekends and public holidays.
Rates for tickets are valid for the entire day within operating hours. Tickets include entry to the Giraffe Center; as well as access to the nature sanctuary across the road. You are requested to kindly carry your ticket with you at all times, as random spot checks may be conducted at time
|Guest Category||Entry Fee Cost|
|Non Resident Adult||1,000 Kenyan shillings or $9.41|
|Non Resident Child or Student||500 Kenyan shillings or $4.70|
|Resident Adult||250 Kenyan shillings or $2.35|
|Resident Child||50 Kenyan shillings or 47 cents|
- A student is defined as an individual younger than 23 years of age and sponsored by a recognized learning institution with a valid student identification
- Children are persons from a minimum of three years of age but younger than 12 years of age
- Residents refer to the citizens and residents of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with proof of residency or citizenship of the stated countries
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.