AFEW, Africa, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, Betty Leslie-Melville, Carr-Hartley family, Elizabeth Fais, Giraffe Manor, giraffes, Jock Leslie-Melville, Kenya, Lake Nakuru National Park, Nairobi, Raising Daisy Rothschild, Rothschild giraffes, The Last Giraffe
The world’s only giraffe hotel rests in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Yes, giraffe hotel.
Officially called Giraffe Manor, the estate is located near Nairobi, Kenya. Every morning the resident giraffes stroll up to the house, poking their heads through the windows in search of treats.
Can you think of anything more amazing than waking up to giraffes poking their heads through your bedroom window, and then having giraffes join you for breakfast? Seriously. Sign me up!
The Makings of a Very Tall Tale
The original mansion was built in 1932 for a wealthy British family. But it wasn’t until 1974, when the property was purchased by Betty Leslie-Melville and her husband Jock, that the idea for a sanctuary dedicated to endangered Rothschild giraffes blossomed.
The first giraffe the Leslie-Melville’s took in was an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m), 450-pound baby they named Daisy, about whom Betty subsequently wrote the book Raising Daisy Rothschild that was later made into the film The Last Giraffe. So started the journey to protection for the endangered Rothschild giraffes. Giraffe Manor has been home to as many as 12 Rothschild giraffes at one time; currently there are eight in residence. The following image shows Betty Leslie-Melville having a quiet moment with Daisy Rothschild. [image: flicker.com]
In 1983, Betty’s son opened the Manor as a boutique hotel where guests could feed the giraffes from their breakfast table, through the front door, and from their bedroom windows. The Carr-Hartley family purchased Giraffe Manor in 1984 to continue the tradition of offering guests the rare opportunity to hang out with these gentle giants.
The hotel luxuriously caters to the resident giraffes and warthogs, as well the human guests who come from all over the world. A magical stay at Giraffe Manor is not cheap, but the one in a lifetime experience is priceless.
The proceeds generated by the hotel help to support a great cause: the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). Not only is Giraffe Manor a sanctuary for an endangered species, but they also participate in a breeding program which introduces breeding pairs back into the wild.
The Tallest Living Mammals
The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is native to Africa, and is the tallest living terrestrial animal.
Fully grown giraffes are approximately 16–20 ft tall, with an average weight of 2,628 lb) for an adult male and 1,825 lb) for an adult female. Giraffes have a lifespan of up to 25 years in the wild. Because of their size, eyesight and powerful kicks, adult giraffes don’t have any predators, with the exception of man and lions.
There are nine subspecies of giraffe, each with variations in markings that make them distinctly unique. Rothschild giraffes (that live at Giraffe Manor), named for Walter Rothschild, are also known as the Baringo or Ugandan giraffe. This subspecies’ natural habitat range includes parts of Uganda and Kenya. Fewer than 700 are believed to remain in the wild. Their endangered status makes the work done at Giraffe Manor for their protection all the more important. [image: Wikipedia, Rothschild’s giraffes at Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya]
A Sneak Peak at Giraffe Manor
A real-life sneak peek…