Call of the Wild
LOVE Dubai as we do, the best holidays we've had as a family are those that take us far from cosmopolitan city scenes. They have been those that introduce us to a different pace of life, authentic and warm people and a beautiful interaction with nature. We enjoyed all in abundance on our special holiday to Kenya last week.
With no previous safari experience and repressed romantic, Out of Africa yearnings, I’d wanted to visit The Safari Collection’s most famous property, Giraffe Manor, since I’d first heard of it. The vine covered, 80-year old story book manor and its beautiful ungulate residents did not disappoint.
The Manor, which has homed giraffes and wart hogs in its ground’s since the 1970’s can host a maximum 24 guests at a time. Built over 80 years ago, in the style of a Scottish hunting lodge, the old stone house is like something from a fantastic dream from my childhood.
Giraffes roam freely around the grounds, waking you up, their noses at your window for pellets in the morning, munching from your table at breakfast and grazing treats from your cocktail free hand at sundown. They are a truly magnificent animal and alongside the the gorgeous Kenyan people who work at the Manor and the superb chef who caters guests nine equisite courses a day, it has to be one of the most delightful destinations in the world!
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Although many of the guests stay only shortly at the Manor, relaxing on the grounds for a few days before setting off on a Safari Collection extravaganza, there's lots to do nearby.
Upon advice of the Sarafi Collecrtion team, the Manor's drivers took us to feeding time at the elephant orphanage, the National Park, where my husband and I got to feed lions and cheetahs, to Masai craft centres and a idyllic gallery and cafe with a big garden in which we played for hours.
Had we been more organised, we would have taken the National Park safari tour at dawn, when it is most likely to see the 'Big 5' (minus giraffe, conveniently enough), in the wild.
A few people have suggested to me that safaris are the most wonderful family holiday experiences and after this brief but magical experience, I think we definitely have the bug already. The Safari Collection offers a range of safari options across Kenya, including R&R orientated itineraries, to horse back or all-action helicopter packages. All of their resorts are luxurious, full character. The group offers packages to suit all, including options for younger families that do not involve lots of driving and waiting.
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We flew to Nairobi via Air Arabia from Sharjah and bought our visas on arrival at Nairobi.
Thanks to everyone at the Manor. Especially to Brian, who my sons adored, who played football with them as my husband and I ate and kept their giraffe feed bowls always full. Thanks so Julius, George, Safari, George and Kamau, Nik, Hen, Eddie, Kent and Edgar. Thanks to Lawrence, who gives the best Nairobi National Park orphanage tour. And thanks to Kelly and your giraffe gang.