Nairobi Wildlife: Sheldrick Trust & Giraffe Centre

Baby elephant being fed at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

In the evolving landscape of wildlife conservation in Kenya, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Giraffe Centre stand out not only as sanctuaries for some of Africa’s most iconic species but also as accessible havens for education and interaction with nature. These conservation gems, nestled close to Nairobi, provide unique opportunities for visitors to engage with wildlife conservation efforts firsthand. Here’s a closer look at how to plan your visit, including details on park fees, opening times, proximity to Nairobi, and the distance between these two conservation centers.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: A Sanctuary for Elephants and Rhinos

Location and Proximity to Nairobi: The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is located in the leafy suburb of Karen, approximately 20 kilometers from Nairobi's city center. Its location makes it an easy day trip for those staying in Nairobi, offering a serene escape into the world of wildlife conservation.

Visiting Hours: The SWT is open to the public for one hour every day from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. During this time, visitors can watch the orphaned elephants as they enjoy a mud bath and feeding session, a sight that is both entertaining and heartwarming.

Park Fees: In order to visit the SWT, you need to pay park fees for Nairobi National park and a seperate donation that will go directly towards the conservation and care efforts of the Trust. Visitors are encouraged to book their visit online through the official Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website to secure a spot, as the viewing is popular and space is limited.

Baby elephant being fed at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

Giraffe Centre: A Home for the Rothschild's Giraffe

Location and Proximity to Nairobi: The Giraffe Centre is also located in the Karen suburb, making it conveniently accessible for those exploring Nairobi. It’s situated just a short drive from the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, approximately 5 kilometers away, allowing visitors to easily combine both destinations in a single day trip.

Visiting Hours: The Centre is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, offering ample time for visitors to interact with the giraffes, learn from the educational displays, and even enjoy a guided nature walk in the adjacent sanctuary.

Park Fees: Entry fees for the Giraffe Centre are $15 (USD) for adults and $7.50 (USD) for children. These fees contribute to the conservation and education programs of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), the organization behind the Giraffe Centre. Tickets can be purchased upon arrival, and there is no need to book in advance.

Giraffe at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi

Planning Your Visit

Best Time to Visit: Both the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre can be visited year-round. However, the dry seasons from July to October and January to February offer pleasant weather, making your visit more comfortable and enjoyable.

Getting There: The most convenient way to visit both locations is by car. Visitors can use taxi services, including Uber, which are plentiful in Nairobi. For those interested in a more guided experience, numerous tour operators in Nairobi offer half-day or full-day tours that include both the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre, along with transportation and a guide.

Combining Your Visit: Given their close proximity to each other and to Nairobi, it’s feasible to visit both the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre in a single day. A typical itinerary would start with the elephant viewing at SWT at 11:00 AM, followed by a visit to the Giraffe Centre in the afternoon. This allows visitors to experience two of Kenya’s most successful conservation stories in just a few hours, all while supporting the vital work these organizations do.

Supporting Conservation

Visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre not only provides a memorable experience but also contributes directly to the welfare of the animals and the ongoing efforts in wildlife conservation. The entry fees and donations help fund anti-poaching patrols, veterinary care, educational programs, and habitat restoration projects. By choosing to visit, you play a part in ensuring that these sanctuaries continue their crucial work, safeguarding the future of Kenya’s wildlife heritage.

In conclusion, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Giraffe Centre offer more than just a glimpse into the lives of their resident animals; they provide a deeper understanding of conservation and the importance of preserving our natural world. Conveniently located near Nairobi and each other, these sanctuaries are must-visit destinations for anyone looking to connect with nature and support conservation efforts in Kenya.