Giraffe Manor, Kenya
The Wedding World Tour continued from the USA wedding — an outrageously fun and beautiful party — on 11 February 2011, to our incredible, spiritual, loving wedding in Lampang, Bangkok on 18 February … and now on to Kenya for our Maasai ceremony on Wednesday, 23 February.
We took an overnight flight Sunday night from Bangkok to Nairobi. We flew Air Kenya (the only leg of our flight not on our favorite airline), and I have to say … it was terrible. Never have I been so cold on a flight; it must have been 50 degrees in our seat, and the flight attendants were downright sour about just about everything. I slept with the one blanket I could get covering my head, only my nose sticking out, and 2 jackets piled on me, two pairs of socks … it must’ve looked hilarious, but certainly wasn’t funny.
We arrived about 5am, to be picked up by our host fromÂ Giraffe Manor (historyÂ here). In case you’ve never heard of it, Giraffe Manor is a world-famous guesthouse which has 11 rare Rothschild giraffes living on property, along with warthogs, birds, and the family dog (yes, a standard canine).
I’d chosen it based upon it’s nearly 70 ridiculously happy reviews on Tripadvisor … but to be honest it was our one big splurge, and somewhere down I didn’t believe that it could actually be worth the exorbitant price.
I was wrong.
It wasn’t just the giraffes — which in itself was an unbelievable experience — but also the incredible staff which attends to every need. Heavenly French-pressed Kenyan coffee? Yes … about 6 times in our 24-hours. A fine drink from our always-open liquor cabinet? Again, yes … several times. Food beyond compare? Yes … 3+ times a day. The company of interesting hosts and fascinating guests? Again … yes, yes yes. Giraffe Manor was heaven. It felt as if we had gone 100 years into the past, staying as kings and queens would at a colonial mansion in Kenya, surrounded by wild nature.
Our morning started early, with the famous Giraffe Manor breakfast. With giant giraffes poking their head into the window of our breakfast nook, it was hard to eat the delicious food … but we did, and had seconds to boot (as well as taking hundreds of photos!).
Next, we got the official tour of the manor by Nigel. He showed April how to put a pellet of giraffe food into his mouth, and the giraffe — with her 18-inch long tongue — would take the pellet out of his mouth. Then came April’s turn … and quite possibly my favorite series of photos from our trip:
Yes … a classic moment. April went up for a nap, and I went outside and got a massive sunburn (to be seen later in all the Maasai wedding pictures) from the high altitude (about 4,500 feet), and the equatorial sun. I couldn’t help but stand out there, having a Tusker beer, talking with the staff, and throwing pellets into Lynn’s mouth.
Lynn was one of our favorite giraffes — and also the namesake for our room — and she loved to play “catch.” One person would throw a pellet in, which she would amazingly catch … then she would turn her head and stare at the other person, awaiting the pellet from them. I have no idea why, but it was incredibly fun to go back and forth, taking turns throwing pellets into this giant’s mouth.
I must’ve spent an hour playing with Lynn and a couple of the other giraffes, and watching Nigel’s dog chase the warthogs. (She’d run up to them, nip their butt, then run in a feigned panic when they turned around in [real] anger at her.) It was hilarious to watch.
We had an amazing, amazing lunch — definitely among the best meals of our Wedding World Tour …
… followed by more giraffe-time…
…more social time, and a long, long meeting with a reporter from Kenya’s newspaper, The Standard. The reporter, Crystal, was quite nice, and we talked for several hours.
Soon it was time for dinner. We had the choice to eat outside or in; and although outside looked incredible …
… we chose to be indoor, as it was a communal affair. As we were introducing ourselves, I said “This is my wife — whoa!!!! –Â April!” I realized it was the first time introducing her as wife. (She, of course, then introduced me as her husband … and we explained the funny looks on both of our faces.) The dinner was candlelit, filled with joyous conversation, laughing, incredibly amazing food, and followed by desert and drinks and more talking in the main hall. It was the perfect end to a truly perfect day.
Below … some more pictures — some of them amazing in their own right but with no more room to post. Next up on the blog … a few more Giraffe Manor pictures from our next morning, plus our elephant orphanage Â … and our meeting of Sekerot and the Maasai!