Nairobi Girraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre is one of the top tourist attractions for visitors to Nairobi. Don't miss the
opportunity to spend time with these wild giraffes. As well as a chance to learn all about giraffes
in Africa, you will get the chance to feed a giraffe by hand and if you are lucky, even kiss one.
Jock Leslie-Melville and his wife, Betty, started the Giraffe Centre's work in 1979. This
inspiring couple came to realize that the Rothschild Giraffes were severely endangered, with
fewer than 180 Giraffes left in some areas. They brought two giraffes to their home in Langata
with the aim of breeding. Since then, over 40 pairs of breeding giraffes have been released into
the wild. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was set up and in 1989 the Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre has evolved into one of Nairobi’s most popular tourist destinations. The
Giraffe Sanctuary is a huge protected site where giraffes are able to wander free and safe.
Opposite the sanctuary is a 12-acre area of bush where the Giraffe Centre and infamous Giraffe
Manor are located. The Giraffe Manor was bought from the Melvilles in the 1990s and has
morphed into one of the premier luxury hotels in the world.
The Giraffes are wild but have learned that visitors to the Giraffe Centre mean food. They spend
the night in the bush, but every morning at sunrise you will find them line up at the sanctuary
gate to cross the road into the Giraffe Centre. If you drive past the Giraffe Centre for about 100
meters you will see the gates either side of the road and may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse
of the giraffes patiently waiting.
As you walk in, you are greeted by the towering forms of giraffes eating from the hands of their
human admirers. A raised platform that allows you to interact with them at head height or you
can stand at their feet and marvel at their lofty heights. Pellets of corn, wheat, grass and
molasses are handed to visitors which the Giraffe gracefully take from your hand. Those that are
dropped are greedily gobbled up by the warthogs that dance between the giraffe's legs.
The Giraffe Sanctuary entrance is opposite the centre. The sanctuary stretches all the way right to
Nairobi National Park, separated by Magadi road. It is home to many differ
ent species of bird and loads of warthogs. You can wander down to the Gogo River or view the
Ngong Hills from the viewing platform. The many warthogs live in deep black holes, so be wary.