Our ten-day safari through Tanzania and Kenya ended in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. There was one thing I knew we couldn’t miss while in Nairobi and that was a visit to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
I discovered this amazing wildlife charity through Facebook a few years ago and I always wanted to visit them one day, to see their amazing work firsthand.
So, on our last day in Africa, we made it happen and it couldn’t have been a better way to finish up what had already been such an unforgettable holiday.
What is The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust?
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a highly rated wildlife charity. They are mostly known for being one of the most successful elephant orphan rescue and rehabilitation programs in the world. At the centre, orphaned elephants are not just sheltered, but lovingly cared for and eventually, returned to the wild.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded by Daphne Sheldrick in 1977, to honour her late husband David, a naturalist and founding warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.
Since then, the program has been greatly expanded over the years to include multiple conservation projects, including an elephant orphanage, anti-poaching unit, mobile veterinary units, and habitat preservation.
The orphan elephants are in the care of the foundation for many reasons. Sadly, the most common cause is poaching. However, other reasons include human conflict, drought, starvation, and sickness.
Since Daphne’s passing in 2018, her daughter Angela Sheldrick has overseen the foundation.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi is open to the public and is a very special experience that we highly recommend.
How to get to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust?
You can take a taxi or Uber there from your hotel in Nairobi. The cost will depend on where you are staying in Nairobi. Another way to get to Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is by booking a tour, which is what we did. Our tour combined the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre. We booked our tour with Perfect Wilderness Tours & Safari. You can check them out here.
Daily feeding time!
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust allows the public to visit and see first-hand how they care for the elephants. Every day (apart from Christmas day), at 11am, they hold a public feeding. During the public feeding time, you’ll see the elephants being fed by their caretakers. You will also learn information about each elephant. You’ll learn how old they are, how they ended up at the shelter, and how they are going.
You’ll be quite close to the elephants. They are separated from you by a rope, but they do come close, and some may brush up against you. Don’t wear fancy clothes! They love their milk and it’s so funny to see them run into the clearing to grab their bottle. After their feed, they like to play with each other, roll around in the red dust and get dirty. They are so cheeky, and we had such an amazing time watching them.
One of the funniest moments ever was when an orphan came up really close to another group of tourists next to us, turned around to point his bum at them and then farted so loudly that it startled them! I couldn’t stop laughing for hours afterwards and even as I write this, I’m laughing just thinking about it!
The current price for the public feeding time is $15 USD per adult and $5 USD per child. The public feeding is capped at 100 people per day and you MUST book ahead of time with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, unless you are with a tour, in which case they will organise this for you.
Adopt an orphan
After feeding time, you can adopt one of the orphan elephants at a cost of US$50 per year. We fell in love with all of them, so we struggled to pick one but, in the end, we chose Kerrio as she spent a lot of her time feeding near us.
If you are not going to Nairobi in the near future but would still like to help the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can adopt an orphan online; just click here.
The Giraffe Centre
The second half of our tour was a visit to the Giraffe Centre, which is just fifteen minutes drive from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Jock Leslie-Melville and his wife, Betty, started the Giraffe Centre’s work in 1979. When they realised that the Rothschild Giraffes were severely endangered (with fewer than 180 Giraffes left in some areas), they brought two giraffes to their home in Langata near Nairobi, with the aim of breeding them.
Since then, over forty pairs of breeding giraffes have been released into the wild. The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife was set up and in 1989, the Giraffe Centre was born.
During our visit to the centre, we saw the beautiful Rothchild Giraffes up close. As we walked in, we were greeted by these tall beauties, who wanting nothing more than to feed from our hands! A raised platform allows visitors to interact with them at head height.
Pellets of corn, wheat, grass, and molasses were handed to us at the entrance. The Giraffes gracefully took the pellets from our hands; they were so gentle and sweet. We saw a few adults and a baby giraffe who was almost not tall enough to pass his head through the fence to reach the food. Poor baba!
The Giraffe Centre also has a gift shop, a café, and an information centre, which provides a great source of information for visitors.
The cost for entry is around US$12 per adult and US$6 per child. The Centre is open daily from 9am till 5pm.
Read more about the Giraffe Centre here.
Accommodation in Nairobi
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