Friday, April 3

High Tea with Giraffes

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high-tea-with-giraffesProbably the best kept secret in town: high tea at the Giraffe Manor. It had been raining quite hard in Nairobi, but nothing dampened our spirits as we headed to the outskirts of Karen and Hardy to be at the Giraffe Manor at 5.00pm promptly.

The sky was turning orange as the sun began its descent when we were warmly welcomed by the gracious Manager Edgar as he escorted us from the parking up to the veranda. The service team were quick to provide refreshments for my girls, my husband and I. Our girls quickly realized that the grass pellets were for the Giraffes who had sauntered up to the veranda of the Giraffe Manor with warthogs in tow. I gathered up some pellets and popped them onto the Giraffe’s tongue, which was long and black and popped out quicker than I could pick a pellet.

The giraffe closest to our table was called Kelly and obviously cared a great deal for the pellets. As the first bowl disappeared another was brought out to my girls delight. They quickly got the hang of it and continued feeding Kelly until she had her fill, after which she made her way back to the tree-line.

I sat back as the elegant English high tea – a selection of scones and sandwiches – was brought out. It was one of those heart-warming moments when everything has turned out just right. Edgar even showed us the new rooms at the Garden Manor which is a smaller replica of the Giraffe Manor built in 2011. What an amazing labour of love it clearly is to keep this place running. The Giraffe Manor was built in 1932, before electricity and the dining room has maintained the rustic atmosphere by hosting dinners by candlelight only.

In 1974, Jock and Betty Leslie- Melville bought the Manor House. At this time the Rothschild Giraffe were under serious threat. Jock and Betty made it their mission to provide a sanctuary for this beautiful creature. They created what is now AFEW (African Fund for Endangered Wildlife) at Giraffe Manor, initially their family home. However, since 1984 Giraffe Manor has been open as a hotel, primarily to raise funds for AFEW, with each guest contributing to the running of AFEW as part of the standard rate.

We had a fabulous high tea but the Giraffe Manor also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as excellent accommodation. Every part of this Manor steeps in a special kind of history.

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