The day I kissed Stacy at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

Together with over twenty travel writers from fourteen different countries, we were invited by the Kenya Tourism Board to experience Kenya’s best in terms of tourism offerings as part of the coming Magical Kenya Tourism Expo that will started on October 12.
The author with a giraffe. / Courtesy
The author with a giraffe. / Courtesy

Together with over twenty travel writers from fourteen different countries, we were invited by the Kenya Tourism Board to experience Kenya’s best in terms of tourism offerings as part of the coming Magical Kenya Tourism Expo that will started on October 12.

Our first day started with a visit to the Giraffe Centre also known as The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya. And low and behold, what an encounter with these majestic, elegant creatures unfortunately endangered not only in Kenya but in most African countries.

 

The Giraffe centre is located on both the edge of the Nairobi National Park and the edge of the residential area known as Karen. It is just 20 kilometres from the city and near the Hardy Estate Shopping Centre. 

 

I simply love the fact that in a vibrant and dynamic city like Nairobi, one can visit a national park and see wild animals such as lions, elephants, hippos, buffalos and many more without having to travel far. In the coming weeks, I will share with you these experiences especially linked to the service industry.

 

The Giraffe Centre is a Non-Profit making organization whose main objective is to provide conservation education for school children and the youth of Kenya. All their education programmes are offered to schoolchildren free of charge. 

The Centre tour gives a completely up close and personal interaction where guests have the opportunity to view giraffes as well as feed them. The centre has rescued, hand-reared and released around 500-orphaned giraffes back into the wild since opening in 1979.

Giraffes are sensational and I have never seen anyone not being impressed being in contact with them. My four-year old son fed one of them when he was two and until today, he still talks about that experience and describes them as amazing giants that walk so gentle and move gracefully.

The Giraffe Centre like many other conservation projects in Kenya derives the majority of its funds from the entrance fee collected and from the sales in the gift shop and derived activities.

Now, back to how and when I kissed Stacy. Stacy is a young, critically endangered reticulated giraffe I met at the Giraffe Centre. For your information, note Giraffes numbers are estimated to have plummeted by as much as 80 percent in less than two decades. The decline of the number of Giraffes is due in part to predators, like lions, and giraffes’ breeding habits. If nothing is done, our children will not live to see them.

The Giraffe centre in Nairobi is a must see sanctuary very well designed for viewing, touching, interacting, feeding and learning more about these spices. You can also see, close at hand in the park, how the giraffes use their long prehensile tongues to remove leaves from prickly acacia branches spread across.

Before kissing Stacy, I was allowed to caress it and feed it. Feeding a giraffe is simple as it can be done by simply putting some food pellets in one’s hands and just giving them one by one to the giraffes that actually never say no to being fed. To be able to kiss a giraffe, one has to put the food pellet on the lip and wait for the Giraffe to come and pick it from your mouth. This is an awesome and lifetime experience seeing the huge lips of the giraffe.

The good thing is that the saliva of the giraffe is antiseptic and makes this experience not harmful. Above the experience of interacting with these giraffes, it is an awesome experience as it brings nature and humans together. 

After that epic moment with Stacy, we were conveyed in a room to learn more about these spices. We were educated on the three different types of Giraffes in Kenya such as the Reticulated Giraffe, the Masai Giraffe and the Rothschild Giraffe.

Visiting the Giraffe centre in Nairobi is surely an excellent way of learning about these spices, and enhancing conservation. Through each visit, the centre educates and creates awareness about fundraising and promoting endangered giraffe protection on the African continent. Each one of us has a role preserving wildlife on our continent.

The writer is a Customer Service Consultant and the Publisher of The ServiceMag

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