Meet Jane Gachiri. Our Senior Accountant at Giraffe Manor and mother figure in the office team. She’s the fifth born in a family of 11, so knows a thing or two about large families! Helping people come together is one of her passions and she’s been involved in counselling young couples at her local church since she herself got married.

On a month like this in 1994, Jane was a young girl seeking employment in a family home in Karen. This was a home that was transitioning into the business that is now Giraffe Manor. Her son was four years old. Three months into her employment, the then owners felt that there was no business coming in and there was nothing left for it but to shut down operations and transfer all their employees to the AFEW Giraffe Centre next door. Jane was not ready to move and felt determined they could make the business work. Her optimism was rewarded. If you told Jane that the 12 employees then would be part of a company with over 250 employees today, she wouldn’t have believed it. Her son is now 32.

‘There is more to Giraffe Manor than just a business’ ~ Jane.

Enjoying a well-earned tea break!

Standing tall with the giraffe

When the previous owners were selling the place, the kind of investors they were looking for were the ‘conscious about conservation’ type. Having set up the AFEW Giraffe Centre as a breeding programme for the then highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, they had no interest in a business that would interfere with that. They also wanted all twelve of their employees retained.

Therefore, when Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley visited with a viable business idea that not only invested in giraffe conservation but also in the environment and communities at large, they fit the bill perfectly. They also cared about making a positive impact on employees, which was just what they were seeking. That sense of family is what Jane still feels today and what has kept her here 28 years later.

For Jane, no year has been the same at Giraffe Manor. There is always something new to learn and a different experience. When asked what advice she would give to anyone starting out in their career, Jane smiled as she said, ‘Own your mistakes…we can only learn through those mistakes!’ Unsure of whether she should be telling us this particular story or not, she described how she once accidentally double-booked guests at the Manor who were unable to change their travel dates. Panic ensued and they had a year to find a solution and make everything right. In the end, her mistake gave birth to the addition of the Karen Blixen Suite – a beautiful family room with a spacious balcony allowing guests to feed the giraffes in the early morning hours. We celebrate you, Jane!

Visit our Footprint to discover how The Safari Collection gives back to communities, conservation and the environment.