Nairobi Elephant Orphanage : The Ultimate Guide : The elephant and rhino orphanage in Nairobi is simply incredible, and it has to be one of the best things to do in Nairobi. You will not only have the opportunity to spend an hour watching some of the most adorable creatures on the planet have the time of their lives, but you will also be donating to a worthy cause.
You will be pleasantly surprised by the high levels of animal welfare demonstrated in Kenya, and you will see many examples of how towns and villages are working together to protect this country’s diverse and spectacular range of wildlife during your visit.
Nairobi Elephant Orphanage is just one example of how people are doing everything they can to save the lives of animals that have become endangered due to human activity.
A LITTLE HISTORY
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, founded and run by the Sheldrick family, runs the elephant orphanage in Nairobi. The Sheldrick family works on a wide range of conservation issues. While the baby elephant orphans project is central to what they do, it accounts for only a small portion of the trust.
In addition to the orphanage, they have anti-poaching programs and mobile veterinary units to get to animals in need quickly. They run community outreach programs to educate locals about living alongside wildlife, as well as a project to help save wilderness areas so that animals always have a safe place to live.
VISITING NAIROBI’S ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
It’s a popular destination (for obvious reasons!). So try to arrive early so you can get in and find your spot. If you enter from the left, you will be able to get a spot near where the elephants enter and exit, allowing you to see them as they come in. Stand behind the cordoned-off area; it’s there for a reason. Before the baby elephants arrive, one of the rangers will go over the “rules.”
The rangers are strict with the audience, making sure they know how to behave around the elephants in the orphanage, and it is clear that these elephants are loved by both the staff who care for them and the tourists who come to visit them.
The elephants are only out for a short time and are obviously accustomed to crowds. They are free to roam and are treated more like children than elephants!
When it’s time, the elephant orphans rush into the feeding area, where you can see them being bottle-fed and playing in the mud baths. It really is the cutest thing!
While you’re watching them play, the rangers will tell you a little bit about each elephant so you can get to know them better. Each elephant at the orphanage has its own keeper, who looks after it and lavishes it with affection. The keepers even stay with the babies overnight to make them feel safe and loved.
You’ll want to have your camera fully charged and ready, because these are some seriously adorable animals!
Top tip: Don’t wear your best white clothes; the elephants don’t care what you’re wearing and will spray mud all over you if they want to!
NAIROBI’S ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE: FACTS AND FIGURES
- Roughly 60% of baby elephants rescued under 2 years of age survive.
- About 98% of the elephants at the orphanage that reach age 2 survive.
- Every baby elephant sleeps with a person every night.
- Elephants “choose” when to go back into the wild.
- An elephant will remember its keeper for life (an elephant never forgets!).
HOW TO GET TO NAIROBI’S ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
Unfortunately, you cannot reach the elephant orphanage using public transportation alone. The orphanage is about 30 minutes away by taxi (about 2000 Kenyan shillings roundtrip = $23).
Combining this trip with another nearby attraction, such as the giraffe sanctuary or the Karen Blixen Museum, will allow you to make the most of your day.
Get Your Guide recommended this six-hour Kenya Safari tour of the National Park and Nairobi’s Elephant Orphanage. You get transport, a guide, and a game drive for only £43, which is a fantastic deal considering you would pay nearly half that just for transportation if you went alone. You can make a reservation here.
If you want to save some money, you can take a matatu to the Galleria Mall. When you arrive at the Galleria Mall, you will notice taxi drivers parked on the side of the road, with whom you can negotiate a rate.
WHERE TO STAY
Nairobi, like any other capital city, has a variety of accommodations to suit every need. You shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to stay, but you might have trouble deciding!
There is no obvious center in Nairobi, and the attractions are spread out, so you will most likely have to travel regardless of where you stay. Here’s a rundown of some of the areas you should look into when looking for a place to stay, as well as some to avoid if at all possible.
Milimani/Dennis Pritt: Central and Cheap
The location is central, and there are some reasonably priced options. This district is close to the CBD but much less expensive. It is also close to many museums and some of Nairobi’s most popular nightlife spots. However, it is a long distance from the airport. Casablanca Villas is a cheap, welcoming, and safe option.
Upperhill: Central and Upmarket
Again, this is a very central district that is within walking distance of the CBD. It is Nairobi’s most exclusive neighborhood, with mostly 4- and 5-star hotels, though there are some budget options if you look around. Yaya Towers Hotel is one of the most well-known and expensive hotels in the area. Alternatively, the aptly named cheap accommodation is a low-cost option in this area.
It is also very convenient to get around by public transportation (Kenyatta National Hospital bound bus), which stops literally at the front door of every building in the area.
Kilimanjaro: cheap and cheerful
This is the least expensive district listed so far. There are many restaurants and places to eat nearby, and it is also close to several major shopping malls. Buses to the city center are easily accessible. Palm Valley is located in a quiet neighborhood and has a welcoming atmosphere.
- Entrance will cost you 500 shillings (approximately $7). Make sure to bring cash with you.
- Opening hours: You can only see the elephants from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., so arrive early to get in line. Every day (except Christmas!) the orphanage is open.
- How can you assist? You can adopt a baby elephant from the orphanage for $50 per year. This will be used to provide milk and care for the elephants while they are in the orphanage.
“Thank you for reading, and I wish you a wonderful visit to the Nairobi Elephant Orphanage!”