It is not unusual, these days, to vacation in rural areas with all the amenities of a five star hotel. Ecotourism is no longer an exception to the rule. In fact, one can find traditional farms almost everywhere in the world where guests can get in contact with nature and the local cultures, but … What about a vacation in a carefully maintained state where, instead of pets, you find yourself surrounded by giraffes? What if instead of a typical native house you found a luxury hotel located in a noble Victorian mansion? This is what Giraffe Manor offers in Eastern Africa, 20 miles from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
Giraffe Manor can be considered a luxury boutique hotel for its special characteristics, unique location, splendid architecture and design and excellent personal service. Located in a pristine forest of 345 acres, the original building was commissioned in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, following the usual style of Scottish country houses and retains the charm and flavor of the time.
The hotel has 10 luxurious double rooms with spacious bathrooms, large four-poster beds, antique furniture and African art. These ideal holiday rooms have direct access to a beautiful patio where guests can sit and enjoy a delicious English tea while admiring one of the best and most beautiful sunsets in the world.
The Karen Blixen suite is one of the most coveted by admirers of the popular novelist, known internationally for her book Out of Africa, where she narrates her experiences in Kenya with the love of her life, British adventurer Dennys Finch Hatton, until his untimely death in a plane crash. Her memoirs were superbly brought to the big screen in the award-winning movie of the same title, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep.
During her stay in Kenya, between 1917 and 1931, Blixen lived at the foot of the majestic Ngong Hills in a house, now turned into a museum, close to Giraffe Manor.
But the main attraction of this hotel is the wildlife that makes the surrounding forest their home. Boar, antelope and over 180 species of birds live a few yards from the house. Certainly, the most attractive and curious are the Rothschild giraffes that delight adults and children as they approach the large hotel windows, the front door, the bedrooms, or the breakfast room, looking for cuddles, caresses and also food.
The elegant living room, with large windows, offers captivating views of the Ngong Hills that so impressed Karen Blixen. It is an ideal setting for relaxation in the midst of nature.
The hotel kitchen serves an exciting and rewarding combination of the best European cuisine and the vibrant flavors of Africa. In fact, here you can taste the best tea and coffee from Kenya, considered by experts the best in the world. Giraffe Manor prepares exceptional meals to complement your stay: freshly baked muffins, meats, homemade pastries and native fruits purchased in local markets. You can choose to dine by candlelight in the spectacular dining room, or at your own table under the stars, surrounded by the magical glow created by lanterns and candles on the terrace.
After dinner, the fire of the living room fireplace will warm your body and soul while you enjoy a friendly conversation with the hotel owners and the other guests over a glass of whiskey or cognac and listen to stories and anecdotes of a continent that will both overwhelm and excite you.
Additionally, the proximity to the capital allows guests to visit the city without problems. Nairobi–Enkare Nyorobi in Masai language means the place of cool water–is one of the largest and fastest growing cities in Africa. Its citizens are a colorful mixture of different cultures. This cosmopolitan metropolis, also nicknamed “Green City in the Sun“, has numerous tourist attractions, including the National Museum of Kenya, diverse local markets, restaurants and shops.
Nairobi National Park, located practically next door to Giraffe Manor, is an invitation to indulge in a full day trip to see lions, cheetahs and rhinos from a short distance. Also nearby are the Bomas, small traditional villages where guests can learn the history, dances, and lifestyle of Kenya’s indigenous peoples, including the proud Masai warriors.
Giraffe Manor hotel is a delightful place where visitors from all over the world can experience the essence of a unique continent. ■