Nairobi ⌲ Solio ⌲ Giraffe Manor ⌲ Sasaab
Lauren’s birthday was coming up and I wanted to surprise her with something a little different (trust me that ain’t easy when we go to new places every month!)
After a few weeks of brainstorming I was left with an obvious choice – The Giraffe Manor in Kenya.
A beautiful vintage looking Manor turned into a hotel, and home to a number of endangered Rothschild giraffes. It was available for 2 nights which was perfect, but Kenya is at least a 17 hour flight from Bali so it made sense to venture out to other parts of the country whilst we’re all that way.
The Giraffe Manor is part of the Safari Collection, and they have 3 other beautiful lodges scattered across Kenya, I picked Solio for 2 nights and Sassab for 4 nights.
We kicked off the trip with Solio. A beautiful lodge with a view of Mount Kenya! It’s the only lodge in the whole reserve so the experience with the wildlife was real intimate. To get there we flew from Nairobi in a tiny plane which was fun, it took around 30 minutes. Neither of us had ever done a safari before so we didn’t really know what to expect, maybe we’ll see a giraffe every now and again, possibly an elephant if we’re lucky?
A plane to ourselves!
Once we landed we got straight into our ride and set off to the lodge. Within 30 minutes we saw more wildlife than I expected to see on the whole 2 nights! Our driver asked us what animal we hoped to see the most, we both really wanted to see a lion but didn’t get lucky on our way in.
After a long day of travel we planned to spend the evening at the lodge. A bubble bath, red wine and snacks sounded perfect! Just as the sun set our driver called and told us he had spotted some lions so plans quickly changed and we went back out. It was pitch black by the time we got to the lions, but still, what an insane experience to be so close to the king of the jungle and his pride in the wild.
The following 2 days we saw countless giraffes, zebras a cheetah, some more lions (this time a pride of around 15!) and of course herds of rhinos which Solio is famous for. We woke up for sunrise each day because that’s prime time for seeing the animals, not to mention the only time of day to get a clear view of Mount Kenya from our room!
Our first encounter with a lion!
On the morning of Lauren’s birthday we took the same tiny plane back up to Nairobi to spend the next 2 nights in giraffe paradise! I booked us a room at the top with a balcony because the giraffes literally come tapping on the window early in the morning to give you a wake up call!
We were given little giraffe biscuits to feed them (basically dried up grass) which they seemed to love! After feeding them from our bedroom window we got dressed and headed downstairs to enjoy a birthday breakfast with the giraffes! This was a morning I’ll never be able to compare!
After breakfast when the food is gone the giraffes quickly loose interest and wonder off back into the bush. They come back at around 4 30pm for afternoon tea at the front of the Manor. Tea, scones, and sloppy giraffe kisses.. it doesn’t get much better haha.
This hotel is hands down the best place I’ve ever stayed – a weird and wonderful experience i’ll never forget!
For our last four nights at Sasaab I invited our good friends Louie and Raya to join us which was really fun! We met them at the airport and again took the tiny plane down to Sasaab. This time it took a hour. On our way to the lodge a majestic African elephant crossed the road right in front of us. I’d never seen an African elephant before, so this was a new and very cool experience for me!
The lodge itself was so beautiful and had a Moroccan vibe to the decor. Our room had a private plunge pool and a view overlooking the river, it had been dried up for months due to us arriving at the very end of dry season. On our 2nd night the rain finally came down and we saw the river fill up, which we’ve been told is a very rare sight to see! After the rainfall it was pretty common to watch herds of elephant bathing in the new river from our rooms.
On our last day we drove out to a local nearby village. The village was completely raw and real, not one of those fake villages set up for tourists to buy souvenirs. This was a raw as it gets and an eyeopening insight of how these people live.
They were real friendly and interested in our camera equipment. Louis put up the drone and the kids went crazy! I guess it’s a pretty alien object to them, which explained why they ran around fanatically chasing and jumping up at it! This was one of my favourite days of the whole trip.
A room with a view at Sasaab
Local kids reacting to the drone
Shocked at snapchat filters haha
A village lady looking at her polaroid portrait
This trip was one of the best I’ve done – if you’re considering a safari check out The Safari Collection!
If you have any question feel free to comment below!