When I first moved to East Africa and heard about the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, I knew I had to go there to do some sketching.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre are not only a must for animal lovers, but for all visitors to Kenya’s capital city.
Orphaned elephants are rescued from National Parks in Kenya and brought to the Trust for rehabilitation. Founded in 1977 the centre is one of the world’s most successful conservation projects for elephants.
Everyday the baby elephants are led out in to a big muddy watering hole, where they are fed milk from bottles and given a mud bath.
But be warned, don’t wear your best clobber. Not only do the little elephants push themselves to the viewing fence hoping to get their muddy backs scratched by eager members of the public and but they also intermittently like to spray jets of water into the air.
Details about Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The David Sheldrick Trust is located about 10 km from the centre of Nairobi in the southern part of the city, just inside the Nairobi National Park. The Trust is open from 11 am to noon most days and it costs 500 Kenyan shillings per person (aged 4 and above). The entrance fee must be paid in cash.
My sketches of the elephants
The Giraffe Centre in Nairobi
The Giraffe Centre is another of Nairobi’s conservation success stories. In 1983 the centre, created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, was set up to help protect the endangered Rothschild giraffe, which are indigenous to the grasslands of East Africa.
You can feed and pat the giraffes and there is a raised viewing platform which really puts you on eye level with these beautiful gentle creatures. Although I must admit I felt a little bit perturbed at the behaviour of some of the visitors to the centre, who like to actually kiss the giraffes, or rather let the giraffe’s tongues kiss them. I like giraffes, but not that much.
Details about Visiting the Giraffe Centre
The Giraffe Centre, which is also south of the city, but further out in the district of Langata, is open from 9 am to 5 pm seven days a week.
The entrance fees depend on whether you are a resident or non-resident in Kenya. If you live in Kenya it is significantly cheaper to visit the centre, so if you have a residency visa, then sure to remember your passport.
My sketches of the giraffes
Meeting the elephants and giraffes
As you would imagine, there was lots of excitement from my three children while they were patting baby elephants and feeding giraffes.
Finally an elephant doing the hokey cokey, well not exactly, but you get the idea – “You put your whole trunk in, your whole trunk out, in, out, in, out, you shake it all about, you do the hokey cokey and you turn around, that’s what it’s all about.”