This centre, which protects the highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, combines serious conservation with enjoyable activities. You can observe, hand-feed or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure, which is quite an experience. You may also spot warthogs snuffling about in the mud, and there’s an interesting self-guided forest walk through the adjacent Gogo River Bird Sanctuary.
In 1979 Jock Leslie-Melville (the Kenyan grandson of a Scottish earl) and his wife Betty began raising a baby giraffe in their Langata home. At the time, when their African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) was just ge
tting off the ground, there were no more than 120 Rothschild’s giraffes (which differ from other giraffe subspecies in that there is no patterning below the knee) in the wild. Unlike the more common reticulated and Masai giraffes, the Rothschild’s giraffe had been pushed to the brink of extinction by severe habitat loss in western Kenya.
Today the population numbers more than 300, and the centre has successfully released these charismatic creatures into Lake Nakuru National Park (home to around 45 giraffes), Mwea National Reserve, Ruma National Park and Nasalot National Reserve.
Take sometime off and mingle with this humble graceful animals as you also learn and support the conservation of this endangered species.