Safari update 26 Aug – Giraffe Center, Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya

Clear skies in the early am, with smog and heavy haze developing soon after 1100.

Today was another full day after our overnight at the Fairview Hotel.  The Fairview is my favorite hotel in Nairobi. Not easy to get to and located next to the Israeli Embassy, I think it is one of the most secure hotels in Nairobi – which is not a bad thing. The grounds are lush and the architecture is aged red brick with classic overtones from the days of the British.  Departing early, we were off to Giraffe Center to get a special kiss from a Rothschild Giraffe. The three most common species of giraffes in Kenya are Masai, Reticulated, and the rare Rothschild.  The Rothschild are best identified by their white ‘boots’ that they wear.  By this I mean they have white coloration (no markings) on their feet from the top of their hooves to just below the kneecap.

The Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi)  is among the most endangered giraffe subspecies with only a few hundred members in the wild.[1] All of those that are living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda.[1]  Recently it has been proposed that the Rothschild Giraffe is actually a separate species from other giraffes and not a giraffe subspecies.[2]  While giraffes in general are classified as Least Concern, the Rothschild Giraffe is at particular risk of hybridisation, as the population is so limited in numbers.  There are very few locations where the Rothschild Giraffe can be seen in the wild, with notable spots being Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya and Murchison Falls National Park in northern Uganda.  From  Giraffe Center and at a given age, the Rothschild Giraffes are re-introduced into an area near Lake Naktau. While inter-breeding can occur, they are taking great care to insure the continued success of the Rothschild.

After spending time at Giraffe Center, it was time for lunch at Utdamani, opened by Dr. Leakey in 1960. Utdamani is a wonderful place for lunch and previewing the native products from across Kenya, not to mention a great place for some last minute quality shopping.

Steve captured a couple of fun snaps from the day. Enjoy and when your travels take you to or through Nairobi, please take time to visit this wonderful conservation facility.

Randy Getting a Special Giraffe Kiss

I Love her Facial Expressions

References: [1] Not one but ‘six giraffe species’”. BBC News Online. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2007-12-27, Wikipedia; [2] Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds (2005). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0


Cheers and happy photo’ing