Langata Giraffe Centre

April 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm Leave a comment


This weekend we visited the Langata Giraffe Centre – and loved it.

The centre, run by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya (AFEW), who work to conserve the endangered Rothschild giraffe. This sub-species of giraffe  was once common across East Africa, but is now extinct in Sudan with only 670 remaining in the wild across Kenya and Uganda.

One of their distinguished features is their pale legs. As a result they are sometimes called ‘white socks’, because they look like they’re wearing a bus-drivers knee high white socks.

On arrival you are given a handful of pellets that can fed to the giraffes from a viewing platform (a sign reads “Giraffes on a diet. Two handfuls of pellets per person.”) The platform is actually for the benefit of the giraffes not the tourists, as it saves them from having to strain their necks  when they bend down to be fed.

Three of these beautiful creatures had wandered over to be fed when we arrived. I carefully held out a pellet with my thumb and forefinger as instructed (or risk losing a finger) and soon I was joyously shovelling pellets into my new friend. Two warthogs hung around at the giraffe’s feet hoping for scraps.

Meanwhile, my companions decided they were going to go for the ultimate giraffe feeding experience – holding a pellet between you teeth so the giraffe will kiss you with its 45 cm tongue. We were assured by staff that giraffe saliva has anti bacterial qualities, but I passed on the pash nonetheless.

Caitlin gets intimate with a white socked giraffe
Photo Credit: Dean Rizzetti

We also spent 10 minutes in the auditorium, listening to a presentation on giraffes. While I normally pass on presentations, when they passed around the(enormous, heavy) giraffe bones it made it worthwhile.

To prove I was paying attention, here are some giraffe facts:

  1. Giraffes can run at 56km an hour to escape predators, but risk their lives when they do. If they trip, it’s all over. That said, their kick can kill a lion, provided the lion hasn’t brought his mates along.
  2. Mother giraffes gestate for 15 months, but can hold off the pregnancy for up to 18 months if there is a drought or some other kind of danger. Wow.
  3. Giraffes sleep only 5-30 minutes a day. Sounds awful.

All in all, I really rate this place. They’re doing excellent work on conservation and education, and it’s a lot of fun.


Entry filed under: Nairobi, Tourism. Tags: , , , , .

Meatless is murder To Hell’s Gate (and back again)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Radio Nairobi is written (and photographed) by Jesse Dean, as she spends 12 months in Nairobi



Follow me on Twitter

Flickr Photos

%d bloggers like this: