Monday, August 27, 2007

To the Manor Born

I've wanted to travel to Kenya ever since I first saw the movie Out of Africa so I've been saving magazine articles and tear sheets for a very long time. Most relate to safaris and fabulous 5 star accommodations since staying in a tent is not my idea of a vacation but a very special hotel in Nairobi has been catching my eye lately.

Giraffe Manor was built in 1932 by a Scottish lord and was modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge. In 1974, the grandson of a Scots Earl, Jock Leslie Melville and his American wife Betty bought the Manor as their home and soon after moved two highly endangered Rothschild giraffe onto the estate where their future generations have thrived and live today.

"Jock and Betty founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). The Giraffe Centre (AFEW Kenya) was built on the property so that Kenyan school children could learn conservation/ecology and feed giraffe eyeball to eyeball! Visitors touring Nairobi have a chance to visit and pay an entrance to the Giraffe Centre. Profits go to various projects in Kenya. Betty's son Rick has led AFEW USA and AFEW Kenya since 1983."

When Jock died in 1984, Betty returned to the USA and opened her house, now called The Giraffe Manor, to visitors where it is run by Rick and his wife Bryony.

Isn't this the most fabulous place ever?! Ok, I'll admit it's slightly scary to have giraffes poking their heads into the window even if they are cute, just take a look at some of the other photos on their website, but I love any place that has a mission and a purpose. Plus, it's actually not that expensive! But that only matters if you can actually secure a reservation. Apparently, Giraffe Manor is as popular with the tourists as it is with the giraffes!


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