Nairobi, Kenya - Classic 4
Giraffe Manor, built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, is situated on 120 acres of forested land just eight miles from the city centre of Kenya's modern capital, Nairobi. In 1974, Jock Leslie-Melville, grandson of a Scottish earl, and his wife Betty, bought the house and founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). They translocated five babies of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe to their property and are the only people ever to have successfully raised wild giraffe, which have now grown and have babies of their own. The Education Centre for AFEW is right next door to Giraffe Manor so guests may observe the work being done at first hand.
When Jock died Betty decided to open her house to visitors. Exclusive, spacious and elegant, it is the only place in the world in which you can feed giraffe from your second floor window, over the lunch table or at the front door. Four double rooms within the Manor are complemented by two spacious rooms in the annexe. All the rooms are beautifully decorated. One bedroom is rather romantically furnished with Karen Blixen's furniture, which she gave to Jock when she left Africa. The upstairs hall has the bookcases Denys Finch-Hatton made for her. The children's room, specially decorated for younger visitors, is enchantingly sunny and bright, and has giraffe patterned bed-linen - wonderful as Giraffe Manor is for adults, it is absolutely magical for children.
The exquisite cuisine at the Manor is prepared by a gourmet chef and served in an elegant dining room panelled in rich, dark wood. A light, airy sun room looks out over the grounds and is the perfect spot in which to take afternoon tea. It is no wonder that Giraffe Manor is a mecca for "the great and the good": Johnny Carson, Richard Chamberlain, Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, and Brooke Shields are just a few of those who have succumbed to its charms.