Giraffe Centre Description
The Giraffe Centre has been ostensibly set up as a breeding centre for the endangered Rothschild giraffe, but now operates conservation/education programs for Kenyan school children. There is good information on giraffes available here, and an elevated feeding platform where visitors meet the resident giraffes face to face.
The Giraffe Centre is located at Karen, approximately (12.5 miles) 20 kilometres from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya. It was established in order to protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, that is found only in the grasslands of East Africa.
The Giraffe Centre was started by Jock Leslie-Melville in 1979, the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish Earl, when he and his wife Betty captured a baby giraffe to start a programme of breeding giraffe in captivity at their home in Langata – home of the present centre. Since then the programme has had huge success, resulting in the introduction of several breeding pairs of Rothschild Giraffe into Kenyan national parks.
In 1979, Leslie-Melville added an education centre to his (then still private) giraffe sanctuary. By 1983 he had raised enough money to establish the Giraffe Visitor’s Centre as a tourist destination in Nairobi. The centre has rescued, hand-reared and released around 500 orphaned giraffes back into the wild since opening.
The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform. The centre is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes.
Things to see and do at Giraffe Centre
Feeding the Giraffe: There is an elevated feeding platform that allows you to hand feed the giraffes, which can be an education in itself. You are given small pellets to feed the Giraffes and there are unlimited refills.
Kiss a Giraffe: The centre has a platform where they can exchange kisses with visitors for pelleted food. At the Giraffe Center you are able to site on top of a platform and stand eye to eye with the Giraffes which is quite an experience..
Nature Walk: Across from the Giraffe Center is a small nature walk that features two other giraffes and a variety of unique plants and birds. Make sure that you stay 50 feet (15 meters) away from them.
Giraffe Centre Opening Hours
The Giraffe Center is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm including weekends and public holidays.
Giraffe Centre Entrance Fee
Adults – Ksh. 250
Children/student – Ksh. 50
Adults – Ksh. 1,000
Child/student – Ksh. 500
How to get to Giraffe Centre
By road: Giraffe Centre is located at Langata, approximately 20 kilometers from the centre of Nairobi, Kenya which is about 40 Min drive away from Nairobi City.
From Kencom & Ambassador Buildings
Take the City Hoppa or the KBS (Kenya Bus Service) from the buildings listed above and they will take you directly to the Hardy Bus Station which is near the Giraffe Center. Do not go all the way to the Hardy Bus Station, let the collector know that you want to go to Giraffe Center.
After you get dropped off you will see signs for the Giraffe Center. There will be a very long road that will bend left (you will see a white wooden gate and then the Giraffe Manor) followed by a bend to the right. The giraffe center will be on the right. You can also take a local piki piki (motorcycle) to take you from where you get off the Matatu to the Giraffe Center, should only cost you roughly 50 shillings.
From Nairobi Railway Station
The first will go to Galleria Mall in the neighborhood of Nairobi called Karen and will cost 30 Shillings. Look for Matatu #124/125 (combined number).
The second Matatu will be taken once you arrive at the Galleria mall in Kenya. Walk towards the Galleria Mall and you will see the Matatu station that you will take to the Giraffe Center(20-40 shillings).
After arriving at the Galleria Mall you can find a slew of cars parked on the side of the road. They will try to hustle you for the fare which should be 400 Kenyan Shillings. There is no point to take a taxi to just the Giraffe Center since many tourist attractions in Nairobi are nearby like the Elephant Orphange & Nairobi National Park. I got a group from the local hostel and we shared a taxi for the entire day for 4,500 Kenyan Shillings. The normal rate is 4,500 to 5,000 Kenyan Shillings.
A Map to Giraffe Centre
Giraffe Centre Contacts
Attraction Type: Wildlife
Category: Animal Sanctuary
City / Town: Nairobi Town
Road / Street: Duma Road
Telephone: 254 20 807 0804; 254 734 890952
Entrance Fee: Yes