Travels with my Art

Paintings and Photographs inspired by Travels Around the World

Sketching at the Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

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.”

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  1. ansh997x February 2, 2019

    This is a really great way to travel to a place. I would love to contribute to a place like this. Thanks for giving me more insights about travel and making time worth it.

  2. Akid Zolkifli February 2, 2019

    This is really adorable. I love that the elephants are so mischievious!

  3. Bilal Hussain February 2, 2019

    It must be so amazing to see an elephant in person! there are such magnificent beasts. Your drawings are so good, keep it up

  4. Lou Does Travel February 3, 2019

    Both these places have been on my bucket list for so long especially the David Sheldrick Elephant centre! Loved all your photos and your drawings! Hopefully I’ll be checking them out for myself soon. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Rajat Kumar February 3, 2019

    It’s good to know that there are still some places where I can visit and see giraffe. Thanks for the info.

  6. Jasmine Buckley February 3, 2019

    Haha! I’m not so sure I would want a giraffe’s kiss either! Absolutely love these experiences! Elephants are my favourite animals and to see them like this at a conservation park would be a dream come true!

    Thanks for sharing,

    • alidunnell February 8, 2019 — Post Author

      Visiting the elephant orphanage is a great experience, I hope you manage to make it there one day 🙂 Ali

  7. resrutt February 3, 2019

    I’d love to visit the Giraffe Centre. Your notes and tips are all extremely valuable, thanks!

  8. Corina February 3, 2019

    hey your sketching is really good, well done. this is a great place, are you sketching all over or was this just a special place?

    • alidunnell February 8, 2019 — Post Author

      Hello Corina – I love sketching and travelling and take my sketchbook and camera everywhere I go. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Ali

  9. Alex Trembath February 4, 2019

    I always enjoy your blend of storytelling and art. The sketches are wonderful and it’s a compelling experience to read about! Beautiful animals 🙂

  10. dreambookandtravel February 4, 2019

    I am always happy to hear such success stories! Elephants and giraffes are amazing creatures, it is beautiful to still have them around! great art work!

  11. FS Page February 4, 2019

    Both elephants and giraffe are my favorite animals. The elephant orphanage is doing a great job protecting and feeding the baby elephants. I am sure it must be fun to great water sprayed by the elephants. My kids would love it.

    • alidunnell February 8, 2019 — Post Author

      It was such a great experience and we all had such a great day out. Thanks for commenting on my blog 🙂

  12. WithCaitlyn February 4, 2019

    I love it! I spend a day in Thailand with elephants and they are so fun! Never thought that it is also possible in Nairobi. Guess I have to cuddle some more elephants!

    • alidunnell February 7, 2019 — Post Author

      There are so many African elephants in Kenya, so you’ll have to add it to your places to visit 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

  13. Adventuresfromwhereyouwanttobe February 5, 2019

    What beautiful sketches, do you like to draw other things as well, or do you prefer animals?

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