Kenya Trip: Giraffes, Elephants, and Shopping!

After Kilgoris, we had a day in Nairobi before we left for Mt. Kenya. I had fond memories of visiting giraffes at the Giraffe Center in Langata, a suburb of Nairobi, so I decided to arrange another visit there. I hit up Kelvin our driver and he picked me up from the Sarit Centre Mall where the Zawadisha crew was doing work. Langata and Karin are these peaceful, somewhat bucolic areas of Nairobi bordering Nairobi National Park. Walking into the Giraffe Center, I met Ed and fed him some pellets gave him some pets.

The scene at the Giraffe Center


Ed, the giraffe


Ed’s eye. Giraffes have huge heads and eyes… and great eyeliner!


My high school visit to the giraffes

My high school visit to the giraffes


My adulthood visit to the giraffes. I’m not sure I’ve changed, at all!


Since I was one of the only people there, I was able to spend quality time with the giraffes and then leave by 10:30 to head over the Elephant Orphanage. David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage has daily programs from 11 to 12 PM where you can meet all the orphans, ranging from 3 months to 2 years old and hear all their stories. You can even touch them and watch then drink out of bottles and eat. It is cuteness overload the best $6 I spent! Additionally, it is for a great cause. Most of these orphans are so because of poaching. Elephants live to be 70 years old, have 6 sets of teeth in their lifetime, and really do have an amazing memory. After the elephants are released into Tsavo National Park, there are stories of them remembering their caretakers 30 years later!

A group of the orphans coming out to visit.

Just getting some water.


Elephant pile up!


Just some elephants doing a secret handshake.


After an amazing morning visiting animals, Kelvin and I picked up the others and headed over to Amani Ya Juu for lunch and shopping. Amani Ya Juu means “higher peace” in Swahili. It’s a fair trade sewing and economic development program for marginalized women in Africa and was started by displaced women sewing placemats. They have an incredibly beautiful selection of handmade household items, baby stuff, women’s clothing, and bags. We met with an Amani worker Maggie, who also receives a Zawadisha loan and had lunch and then Judi and I went to town shopping for Christmas gifts. It’s always nice to be able to buy unique gifts that support empowerment. You should shop there now!

Maggie explains Amani Ya Juu’s story to Judi. Judi looks smart.


We finished the evening with some Ethiopian Food at a restaurant popular with Nairobi’s many NGO workers. Nairobi has quite a few gems and I was happy to have the day to see quite a few of them. The hardest part is navigating the “public” transportation and traffic!

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