By the 1970s, the Rothschild’s species of giraffe was in extreme peril with an estimated population of less than 100 remaining in Kenya. At that time, the manor was owned as a private residence by Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville. Their concern for animals led to the creation of The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) and their decision to start a breeding programme on the manor grounds in the hope of saving this highly endangered giraffe. Their admirable efforts proved successful and, to this day, the manor grounds remain a vital breeding sanctuary which has helped the population of Rothschild’s giraffes grow from roughly 80 to 1000 in 50 years. Many of the giraffe that are born here are returned to the wild to repopulate areas where the species has already gone extinct. The giraffes are not here solely to interact with guests and have not been trained or domesticated in any way; it is simply a fortunate advantage of the breeding programme that the giraffes enjoy being fed by visitors.

The giraffes have 150 acres (the equivalent of approx. 113 football fields) of indigenous forest on which to browse natural food sources. They feed naturally more than they do on pellets as they each require approximately 65 kgs (143 lbs) of food per day. Only a few kilograms of pellets are used to feed the giraffes every day and they choose to visit the manor only when and if they want. As much as they enjoy the pellets, they only have access to them during 12 of every 24 hours and tend to wander off when they have had enough. The amount of pellets we use is strictly regulated as the giraffes’ health and ability to reproduce is everyone’s top priority.

The Safari Collection (parent company of Giraffe Manor) raised over 1.2 million US dollars for conservation and community work in 2019, a huge part of which came from Giraffe Manor. A portion of every guests’ bed night fee also goes directly to AFEW in support of conservation efforts. AFEW’s Giraffe Centre, which operates next door to Giraffe Manor, educates approximately 50,000 Kenyan school children about conservation annually. We believe that the future of Africa’s wildlife depends almost entirely on future generations understanding the importance of preserving these precious living resources. We are proud that our guests and the children of Nairobi can interact with these magnificent, threatened animals as this helps them to appreciate the perilous state of their existence and the importance of their conservation.