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Los Angeles, California
December 25, 2004
The Langatta Giraffe Center is about 6 to 7 minutes from Blixen House. This was more interesting. At first I thought it was just going to be a quick stop for a photo opportunity showing us feeding the giraffes. But the guide at the Center was quite knowledgeable, not only on the Rothschild Giraffes, but on a wide variety of flora and fauna. Of course he told us how to hold the food to feed the giraffes, but he also showed me how to hold a piece in my mouth so the giraffe could kiss me. It's not as bad as it sounds. We learned that the giraffe's saliva is antiseptic. The reason for that is that the acacia trees, which they are so fond of, have thorns. When they happen to chomp down on a thorn and it pierces the inside of their mouth or their tongue, their saliva will help heal the wound. There were lots of little warthogs around too, which were funny to watch. They get down on their front knees to eat. The two giraffes that came to greet us were Daisy and Laura. Laura is pregnant, so the male giraffe had to be kept across the road in a different enclosure to keep the baby safe when it is born. We were taken across the road to the Nature Trail, where the guide told us of the different trees and animals. In all, we were there about 45 minutes. Giraffe Manor, the hotel where you can feed these same giraffes from your upstairs bedroom window, was just across a large lawn from the Giraffe Center. I felt this visit alone was worth the time and the cost of the tour.
From journal A Heavenly Kenyan Safari
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
November 1, 2005
The Giraffe Centre is located in the wealthy suburb of Langata in the grounds of the magnificent colonial mansion Giraffe Manor. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was founded in 1979, and has been instrumental in saving the beautiful Rothschild giraffe sub-species from extinction, breeding new groups to be released into the national parks, as well as providing essential environmental education to the public.
The small group of resident giraffes emerge from the bush to be hand-fed, the sociable adults walking boldly up to the visitors, the bashful baby giraffes lingering in the background. Visitors climb up to a wooden platform, at a level heading with the adult giraffes, where knowledgeable guides pass around buckets of feed and answer any questions. There is an education room which contains fascinating facts on the Rothschild giraffe along with information on conservation practices which have been put in place to preserve its numbers. This is not just a superficial animal petting centre - every visitor, whether environmentally minded or not, will gain a valuable experience here.
Below the platform is a small wall where warthogs vie for attention from the visitors and some food. They are very tame and permit themselves to be stroked and pose for photos, but they are able to leave at any time. There is also a small pen of tortoises and a large gift shop. One of my very favourite souvenirs was purchased from a woodcarver in a small hut behind the platform, who fashions intricately detailed Maasai warriors complete with blanket, wildebeest hair whip, and tiny beaded jewellery.
Entry fee - 500 Kshs / $6.80
Opening hours – 9am – 5:30pm
From journal The Green City in the Sun