Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Um, hello giraffes!

So we touch down in Nairobi, pass through customs, drive across town and show up to Giraffe Manor with average expectations.
I mean, sure, the website photos were great - but how realistic can it really be?

Um. Yeah. This realistic.
Oh, not enough for you? Ok, how about this one.

Or this.

eeeek! I have lost my mind and kissed a Giraffe!

There were warthogs all over the property. Literally the funniest animal I have ever seen.
I can't get "Hakuna Matata" out of my head.

Oh, and the accomodations? Not bad, I guess. They'll do.

So, once we settled in and ate breakfast with the Giraffes (yes, you read that correctly)

We headed out the Giraffe wildlife conservatory for a little more one-on-one with the Giraffes. If it makes it any better, apparently their saliva has antiseptic properties from their diet of Acacia leaves...

After some shopping that afternoon (I may or may not have spontaneously purchased a Kiapu bag big enough to fit a child) , we headed out to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts' Orphan Project.

You ready for some Cuteness OVERLOAD? Pictures don't even do this justice.
They come in to bed in groups of ten

 the littlest one leads the way - with a blanket to keep him warm.

They have a special blended milk that they suck down in seconds.

Oh, you want more pics? Okay fine...twist my arm.

How about some cute baby Rhinos while I'm at it.

In all seriousness, the work they do at this facility is truly incredible. They rescue baby elephants and rhinos who have been orphaned due to poachers, trappers, etc. Rescuing the babies is essential for their survival, because baby elephants are nursed for their first two years of life and literally cannot survive if their mothers are killed. The Wildlife Trust does its best to teach the babies to survive in the wild and acclimates the elephants to real bush conditions so that they can be released back to the wild around age 3.

We adopted two elephants -

Balguda, who is 7 months old and just the friendliest little guy. Here he is with his keeper - they sleep with the babies every night to help replicate the family environment the animals are used to, and wake every 3 hours to feed. Apparently, if the keeper doesn't wake up when the milk is delivered, the babies will come over and nudge them awake. I'll take that alarm clock!

And the other, Kainuk.

Oh, and i made friends with Edwin, the facility director, who i recognized from the "Born to be Wild" documentary (run to the imax to see it; it's the cutest movie EVER).
Obv, We exchanged email addresses (are you surprised?) Once again, my biggest strength is making friends with older gentlemen. Poor Patrick.

That night, we had a candlelit dinner in the manor's dining room and Amanda and I were in bed by 9pm. Exhausted.

The next morning wasn't soo bad - we woke up to hot chocolate and then fed the giraffes from our bedroom window

 Had another breakfast with our favorite hosts

And headed off for our charter flight to Campi ya Kanzi in the Chyulu Hills. 

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