The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya (A.F.E.W Kenya Ltd) also known as the Giraffe Centre was established by Jock Leslie-Melville in order to protect the endangered Rothschild Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, that is found only in the grasslands of East Africa. The late Betty, Jock's American born wife, had earlier discovered the sad plight of the Rothschild giraffe and there were only 120 left on an 18,000 acre ranch in Western Kenya that was scheduled for sub-division and settlement. The first effort to save this sub-species was to bring two young giraffes to their property in Langata and later Betty founded AFEW USA.
In 1979, Leslie-Melville added an education centre to his (then still private) giraffe sanctuary. By 1983 he had raised enough money to establish the Giraffe Visitor's Centre as a tourist destination in Nairobi. The main attraction for visitors is feeding giraffes from a raised observation platform. Visitors get an opportunity to come into close contact with these tall graceful animals. The centre is also home to several warthogs which freely roam the area along with the giraffes.
It is located approximately 10 kilometers south of the centre of the city, with only a fence separating the park's wildlife from the metropolis. The park is 117 sq kms and it is the only park in the world within the proximity of a capital city with a wide variety of animals and bird species to co-exist. Indeed, the proximity of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between the animals and local people and threatens animals' migration routes.
Visitor attractions include the park's black rhinoceros, diverse bird species, cheetah, hyena, leopard, and lion. Other attractions are the wildebeest and zebra migrations in July and August, the Ivory Burning Site Monument, and the Nairobi Safari Walk and animal orphanage. Inhabitants of Nairobi visit the park and thousands of African children on school field trips visit the park each week.
At the entrance of the park is the Nairobi Safari Safari Walk, established in 1964 as a refuge for wild animals found abandoned, orphaned or injured throughout Kenya. The orphanage's main objective is to foster and then release the animals back into the wild. However, over the years, it has evolved into a mix between a zoo and an orphanage because some of the animals are not fit to be released into the wild. Visitors can walk along the raised board walk, through the different habitats and observe from close range the wonderful variety of wildlife in each eco-system. Meandering through 27 acres of wilderness the safari walk offers a neatly encapsulated foot safari.
The David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage is situated on the edge of the Nairobi National Park. It was founded in 1977 by Daphne Shedrick in honour of her husband and famous naturalist, David Leslie William Sheldrick. It took her 28 years of trial and error to perfect both milk formula and the complex husbandry which together are essential to the successful rearing of baby elephants. The David Sheldrick Trust is the first to successfully hand-rear new-born elephant orphans and rhinos and returned them to the wild when grown. Here they are given 24-hour care by their keepers who become their replacement 'family'.
Since the orphanage opened, they have successfully hand-reared over 70 infant elephants that would otherwise have faced certain death. The orphanage is a charitable organization, and it is open to visitors daily between 11 am and midday when the orphans have their mud bath. This is really a heartwarming experience not to be missed.
Karen Blixen Museum was once the centre piece of a farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills owned by Danish Author Karen and her Swedish Husband, Baron Bror von Blixen Fincke. Located about 20 minutes drive away from the city centre, the Museum belongs to a different time period in the history of Kenya. The farm house gained international fame with the release of the movie 'Out of Africa' an Oscar winning film based on Karen’s an autobiography by the same title.
The Museum is open to the Public every day (9.30 am to 6pm) including weekends and public holidays. Guided tours are offered continuously. A museum shop offers handicrafts, posters and postcards, the Movie 'Out of Africa', books and other Kenyan souvenirs.
Nairobi National Museum is located at the Museum Hill, approximately 10 minutes drive from the Nairobi city centre. It houses some of the most celebrated collections of history, culture and art from Kenya and East Africa. The museum is the epitome of a rags to riches story and aims to interpret heritage of Kenya to stimulate appreciation and learning. Once a dear mausoleum of a place, untouched since 1930, the museum’s reincarnation boasts an ultra-chic mosaic portico and a spacious central piazza with gift shops, cafes, stylish brasseries and challenging sculptures. It has been transformed into a magnificent piece of architecture that puts it in competition with other world class museums.
The artworks, the materials used in the fabrication of outdoor sculptures, the landscaping and the botanic gardens, link to the three pillars of Kenya’s national heritage i.e. nature, culture and history. A welcoming ambience of harmony between the galleries, the non gallery spaces, the museum landscape and its entrances, make museum visits more exciting.
The galleries have been re-organised to interpret the heritage of Kenya to stimulate appreciation and learning. To capture the feel of diversity and interactivity, there are mixed galleries to show the personality of the new museum. Under the nature pillar, there are 5 exhibitions. These are Human origins, Mammalian Radiation, Ecology of Kenya, Natural Diversity and Geology. Under Culture, the exhibitions include Cycles of Life, Cultural Dynamism and Creativity. The history pillar has two exhibitions: Kenya Before 1850 and History of Kenya.
The Snake Park is situated adjacent to the National Museum. Built in the early 1960s, for educational purposes to visitors and the public about snakes and the common reptiles of Kenya. Today, the Snake Park is home to over one hundred reptiles displays and all in the rang of East African snakes that are viewed in glass cages.The Snake Park has a variety of collected features some of the deadliest snakes in Africa including black mamba and the puff adder.
This museum is open daily (including public holidays) from 0830hrs -17300hrs.
Lake Nakuru National Park Tour is a full day trip to the rift Valley escarpment, 160kms from Nairobi. It is one of the most scenic parks in East Africa, a bird and rhino sanctuary and is home to a wide range of animals including lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck and rhino, the only notable exception being the elephant. The park is also a bird watcher’s paradise, with 400 known species having been spotted here. Vegetation ranges from savannah to various indigenous forests. A world heritage site, Lake Nakuru is most famous for its million-plus grand pink flamingo population.
Crescent Island is situated on the western side of Lake Naivasha, 80 kilometres from Nairobi. It is a small crater lake that is home to a number of hippos. From its wildlife sanctuary, take an exciting walk on the Island to watch a number of mammals grazing in the surrounding lake environs, such as zebra, impala, buffalo, giraffe, Kongoni and, at night, hippos. The Island hosts a wide array of bird species including fish eagles, ospreys, lily-trotters, black crakes and a variety of herons. A boat ride at the lake is an exciting experience offering a close view of swimming hippos, breathtaking sceneries of the Great Rift Valley walls and the surrounding wildlife.