Giraffes and Elephants in Nairobi

​Our tour concluded by bringing us back to our starting point in Nairobi. We got up, packed our tents for the last time, and drove back to the hotel we stayed at when we first arrived. Randie and I had a little bit of time to explore Nairobi before our flight home, and there were a few things we were told we had to experience before we left.
The first was a restaurant called Carnivore. We booked this restaurant for the evening we got back, along with many others from our tour group.

Carnivore restaurant is $35 for a 3-course set meal. They describe it as a buffet where you don’t have to leave your seat. Servers come around offering various meats. Very much the same as Brazilian steakhouses. Everyone eats until full. Aside from meat, salad and dessert are included. What makes Carnivore interesting is that they serve game meat, with the menu changing depending on availability. Standard meats were offered (beef, pork, lamb, chicken) and were all amazing. The exotic meat section of the menu listed “ostrich meat balls” and “ox balls” when we went. We all wanted to try the ostrich meat balls, but they were sold out by the time we arrived. None of us were interested in the ox balls (not meatballs, actual ox testicles) but most of us tried a bite. It was horrible, and the only thing I didn’t like that night. The amazing passion fruit cheesecake at the end made up for it.

The following day most of the group either flew out or continued to Tanzania. Randie and I went to the giraffe center and the elephant orphanage, which were both highly recommended.

The Giraffe Center is a conservation program aimed at breeding the endangered Rothschild giraffes. The program has resulted in numerous pairs of giraffes being introduced into the national parks.

If I wasn’t already in love with giraffes, I certainly am now. They’re so completely wonderful. The Giraffe Center has grass pellets that visitors can feed to the giraffes, and the giraffes are demanding! They headbutt people who stop giving them attention and pellets. I dodged their swinging heads a few times.

Groups of children would come through to feed the giraffes, as the center also provides educational trips for underprivileged children. Many of the children would be scared of the goraffes, and the trainers would say, “Giraffes are gentle. Oh no, move, they headbutt!” Clearly very gentle animals.

But they are goofy and sweet. Visitors are allowed to pet the giraffes and get giraffe “kisses.” I put the pellet between my lips and the giraffe licked my face with its gross, slobbery tongue. The trainers promised that their saliva has antiseptic properties, but I made sure to wash my face well after.

The giraffes all have their own personalities, too. Daisy only wants food and will headbutt anyone and everyone. Eddie and Betty are much gentler and are the two who do kisses.

I learned that female giraffes grow to be about 4.3 meters tall, and male giraffes grow to about 5.5 meters. I learned that their pregnancies last for about 15 months. I also learned that Rothschild giraffes have become endangered due to human developments encroaching on their natural habitats.

Randie and I could have stayed at the giraffe center all day, but we had to get over to the elephant orphanage if we wanted to see some baby elephants.

The elephant orphanage is the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. It is a wildlife conservation center that rescues orphaned baby elephants from the wild and raises them to be rehabilitated into the wild. Visitors can go to see the baby elephants from 11am until noon.

The baby elephants are absolutely adorable. The youngest of the elephants was approximately 6 months old. The trainers fed them with giant baby bottles filled with milk. The older elephants would hold the bottles themselves with their trunks.

The elephant babies rolled in the mud, pushed each other around, and spent the hour being impossibly cute.

The elephant orphanage is almost entirely funded through donations, and people can sponsor baby elephants to help cover the $900/month that each elephant requires. For anyone interested, fostering elephants can be done online HERE.

As we watched the baby elephants, a trainer told the story of how each baby elephant came to be at the center. Some were orphaned by illness or predators, but many were orphaned due to poachers. The center reminded everyone not to purchase products made with ivory. The elephants start growing tusks at about 15 months, and their little baby tusks were so adorable. It breaks my heart to think that they risk being killed for those tusks.

I spent most of the hour taking photos and videos of the elephants. It was such a wonderful way to spend the morning.

The afternoon was spent packing and getting ready for our early morning flight to Amsterdam.

This trip has been a dream. I have wanted to visit Africa for years. Now I am already dreaming about how to come back. I would visit again in a heartbeat.

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