How to book a trip to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Kenya

How to book a trip to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Kenya

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) is world-renowned for its incredible work rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned baby elephants and rhinos. Located in Nairobi National Park, the SWT Nursery is where these orphans begin their journey back to the wild. This guide will help you navigate the process of booking a visit to this remarkable sanctuary, ensuring a seamless and unforgettable experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Booking Your Visit

1. Plan Your Visit in Advance

Visiting the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage requires careful planning due to its popularity and limited daily capacity. The orphanage offers a public visit daily, except on 25th December, from 11 am to 12 noon.

2. Pre-Booking Requirements

Advance Booking Only

Access to the Nursery is strictly by advance booking. Reservations must be made for visits within the next three months, as it is not possible to book further in advance or make same-day bookings.

How to Make Your Booking

To book your visit, contact the Nairobi office via email with the contact form on their website. To get to the contact form, select "visiting" and then scroll to the bottom of the page. Under "Global Office you'd like to contact", select "Kenya". In the contact form, enter your details for:

  • Date you wish to visit
  • Number of adult and child tickets
  • Names of each adult and child attending, with the age of each child
Contact form for the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Confirmation of successful bookings will be emailed to you. Bring this confirmation with you, either in digital or printed form, on the day of your visit. Allow at least two business days for a response, and check your spam folder if you do not hear back in time.

Warning: Only booking confirmations issued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are valid. Third-party bookings from platforms like Viator, GetYourGuide, or Tripadvisor are not accepted.

3. Entry Fees

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) Entry Donations

The minimum, and madatory, donations for entry to the Nursery are:

  • Adults (12 years and above): $20 USD per person, or Ksh 2,000 for residents (proof of residency required).
  • Children (under 12 years): $5 USD per child, or Ksh 500 for residents (proof of residency required).

Entry donations are payable in cash as USD or Kenyan shillings on the day of your visit and are separate from the KWS National Park fee.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Park Fees

As of September 19, 2023, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) mandates that all visitors to the SWT Nairobi Nursery must pay Nairobi National Park entry fees. These fees are separate from the SWT entry donation and must be paid via the eCitizen platform ( before your visit.

Steps to pay KWS fees:

  1. Create or log in to your eCitizen account.
  2. Select "National Park Entry" and choose "Nairobi National Park".
  3. Complete the application process and pay the fee.

Note: You may need to enable pop-ups on your browser in order to access the payment confirmation screens.

KWS eCitizen portal

4. Prepare for Your Visit

  • Arrive Early: Arrive at least 30 minutes before your visit to allow time to pass through the KWS Mbagathi Gate.
  • Bring Your Confirmation: Have your booking confirmation ready.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Follow On-Site Protocols: Smoking, vaping, and mobile phone use during the visit are prohibited. Photography and video for personal use are allowed.'

5. Enjoy Your Experience

During your visit, you'll be immersed in the daily lives of the baby elephants. Listen to the caretakers' stories, observe the playful antics of the elephants, and gain a deeper understanding of the Trust's conservation work.

Additional Tips

  • Combine with Other Activities: With your park fees already being paid for Nairobi National Park, it is a great opportunity to experience a game drive in the park on that day. Additionally, the Giraffe Centre is only a 15 minute drive from the Elephant Orphanage and gives you an incredible chance to see giraffes up close and feed them.
  • Support the Cause: Consider purchasing souvenirs from the gift shop to further support the orphanage.
Feeding at the Giraffe Centre

Visiting the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a unique and rewarding experience that contributes to wildlife conservation. By following this guide, you can ensure a smooth and memorable visit to one of Kenya's most cherished sanctuaries. Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or seeking a unique adventure, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a must-visit on your Kenyan itinerary.