Giraffe Manor Opens After Refurbishment
Giraffe Manor is known for its quirky design and authentic 1930’s furnishings. The owners of the Manor recently decided to redecorate as well as invest in some structural enhancements to ensure all rooms have quality en-suite facilities. The fresh new look has further cemented its reputation as one of East Africa’s finest boutique hotels. Travellers from all over the world now make Giraffe Manor a part of their east African safari.
Giraffe Manor dates back to the 1930’s and was built by Sir David Duncan. It is surrounded by 140 acres of forested land and offers giraffe lovers a unique experience. It was home to Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville who committed themselves to the preservation of Kenya’s Rothschild giraffes. In 1974 two of these endangered giraffes were moved onto the land and they have thrived ever since.
The home has six bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, welcoming staff and excellent cuisine. The grounds are surrounded by indigenous forest that in addition to the giraffe is home to other species of game and birdlife. It is an ideal family location in which to begin a Kenyan adventure.
A stay at Giraffe Manor combines well with a safari in the Masai Mara or at one of the camps at the Meru National Park.
The Masai Mara Reserve is one of east Africa’s best known game viewing areas and adjoins the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania. A land of undulating hills and rolling grasslands, this magnificent park supports a huge animal population. It is perhaps the only region left in Kenya where the visitor may see animals in the same super abundance as existed a century ago. Covering some 700 square miles, the Mara offers wonderful scenery, breath taking vistas and panoramas of vast rolling plains, hills and woodland groves.
The Mara is home to the largest population of lions in Kenya, these magnificent beasts spending most the day sleeping in the shade of acacia trees. Vast herds of buffalo, zebra and wildebeest roam the plains. The waters of the Mara River are renowned for huge numbers of crocodiles and pools of hippo, whilst the acacia woodlands and riverine forests are favoured by leopard and elephant.
The Meru National Park is located east of Mount Kenya and has rich areas of open savannah, woodland and regions of swamp. In the distance are ranges of hills which receive considerably more rainfall than Meru and from which flow fifteen rivers and streams, which pass through the park, providing abundant water for the wildlife and birds.
Meru is a success story of conservation. As during the early 1990’s the area was at the mercy of poachers who dramatically reduced the animal numbers there. Subsequently, with the arrival of Elsa’s Kopje and under the energetic guidance of the park warden, Mark Jenkins, international funds have been raised to protect the national park and the animals are flourishing again and growing in numbers in this fertile and attractive location.
You can expect to see lions, herds of elephant, over a dozen types of antelope ranging from eland to dik dik, buffalo, giraffe and a wide range of other creatures. Game viewing is carried out by open vehicle, during the day and at night, when a spot light is used, and you can also enjoy walking safaris from the lodge with an armed guide and national park scout.
There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Nairobi. Flights are only 6 hours long – making it the ideal destination for families, especially with younger children. It also means that you will spend less time flying and more time on your much deserved holiday.
Light aircraft flights to and between the various camps. There are also direct regional flights and combines well with a few days relaxation in Zanzibar or Mauritius.
Kenya is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and two hours ahead of British Summer Time.
Passports and visas
All passports must be valid for at least six months after you leave Africa. British, USA and European passport holders require a visa to enter Kenya and we recommend that you obtain your visa before you travel, although it is also easy to obtain on arrival. If you are in Kenya for a few hours en route to another country, or staying overnight, a transit visa is required at a cost of £10 (which can also be purchased direct at the airport). For stays of 48hrs or longer, a Single Entry visa is required at a cost of £30. The Kenya High Commission can be contacted on 020 7636 2371.
Other passport holders should seek advice from Africa Exclusive or by contacting the Kenya High Commission. Those who have visited the Republic of South Africa for more than three months in the last twelve months will need visas irrespective of nationality.
The Kenyan climate is very pleasant with warm days and cool nights for most of the year. The temperature generally sits in the high-twenties (centigrade), whilst in the Highlands and Rift Valley it is not unusual to experience temperatures of 30 Centigrade during the day, dropping down to below 10 Centigrade at night. Coastal regions can be humid.
For most of Kenya, the main rains normally occur during the period March to May, followed by a short rainy period towards the end of October, lasting until early December.
No vaccinations are mandatory, although a certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required if you are travelling from an infected country; visitors entering Kenya from, for instance, Europe, the United States, South Africa or Zimbabwe will not need a certificate. Immunisation against Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid are recommended but you should consult your doctor for advice. Malarial mosquitoes are not present in large quantities inland due to the high altitude of the country, but there is a higher risk on the coast. We recommend that you take anti-malarial tablets as a precaution.
As Kenya has no national welfare scheme; visitors are responsible for their own medical expenses. In the event of an emergency, visitors may telephone or go directly to the casualty department of any General Hospital in the large cities or any hospital in the smaller towns.
Although water is safe to drink throughout Kenya, in some areas the water does have a high mineral content (usually magnesium and fluoride) and if drunk in large quantities by those unaccustomed to it, it can cause stomach upsets. For the first few days, we suggest that you limit your intake of water, other than bottled, which is free of these minerals and readily available at reasonable cost.
The people of Kenya are made up of many different ethnic tribal groups. Their languages are many, over 1200, but the official language is Kiswahili. English is widely spoken.
The monetary unit is the Kenyan Shilling, divided into 100 cents. There are virtually no currency restrictions in operation. It is inadvisable to take Kenyan Shillings out of the country, as they are difficult to exchange except in neighbouring countries.
The US Dollar is widely accepted (US$ 1, US$ 5 and US$ 50 notes are recommended). We recommend that you take travellers’ cheques in small denominations (US$ 10 or US$ 20) which can be exchanged at most lodges. When changing money to local currency, please make sure that you have your currency declaration form stamped and that you obtain an official receipt of the transaction.
Airport departure tax
A departure tax for domestic flights from government airstrips such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kusumu, Malindi, is applicable (Kshs300 per person / approximately US$ 4). There is no departure tax from private airstrips. Usually Africa Exclusive will include any relevant taxes in your holiday costs. If any extra charges are applicable to your itinerary, your tour operator should advise you.
Drinks are included at most of the camps and lodges.
All meals are usually included at the camps and lodges.
Due to the light aircraft flights your baggage allowance is usually limited to between 12kg and 15kg per person. Laundry is included at most of the camps but it should be noted that it is not culturally allowed for the staff to wash underwear.
A tip of US$ 10.00 per guest per day for guides is usual. Camp staff are tipped at your discretion, most camps having a central kitty system for kitchen and cleaning staff. US$ 3/5.00 per guest per day is an ample tip.
The amount of any tip is obviously at your discretion but there is little pressure on you to tip. However, we would advise that the following amounts are considered appropriate:
– Porters – US$ 1
– Waiters – US$ 2
– Drivers – US$ 3
– Driver/guides – US$ 5 -10 per guest per day
– Camp crew – US$ 5 per guest per day (to be divided between staff)
At hotels, it is customary to tip the various services as they are provided. Whilst at lodges or on safari, the tip should be given as one amount when you leave.
The electricity supply is 240-volts/50 Hz. Outlets are usually 13-amp square-pin (UK plug). Power cuts are common, though most hotels and lodges have their own generator.
If you need to have your video battery re-charged, this can often be done whilst you are out on an activity. You will need to take a spare battery for use whilst the other is being charged.
Related Africa Travel Articles