I’ve traveled to Africa a number of times, but it’s always been to West Africa where there aren’t the animals that one typically associates with Africa, like giraffes, elephants, lions, etc. Last weekend I got back from a week-long trip to Kenya, and on Saturday we had a chance to go see some of the sites around Nairobi. And by “sites” I mean cute wild animals!
First we went to a giraffe sanctuary on the out-skirts of Nairobi, where maybe about 8 giraffes live. If I were a giraffe, I would want to live here. They said the sanctuary is about 40 acres, it’s fenced in and there are no predators– the only thing the giraffes have to worry about is being over-fed by all the tourists. The staff there don’t do a very good job of explaining the origin of the sanctuary or telling the individual stories of the giraffes– they’re basically there to show you how to pet and feed the giraffes. Case in point:
That giraffe is named Daisy and she’s 18 years old! Most giraffes in the wild don’t survive quite that long because of predation. This little guy is named Patrick:
There was also a little warthog family! Lion King references were being thrown around like nobody’s business. Did you know that in Swahili people really do say hakuna matata? At least that’s some dude in the market told me… he could have just been trying to be friendly so I would buy his wares.
After the giraffe sanctuary we headed to the elephant orphanage, which was definitely the best part. You know something is great when you take 250 pictures in 45 minutes! The orphanage takes in elephants from all over Kenya- many were found abandoned after their mothers were poached; some were found at the bottoms of wells, where they were looking for water and then fell in and couldn’t get out; and a number were victims of human-wildlife conflict (i.e. an animal tramples on someone’s crops so they try to kill the animal). Every day the elephants come out between 11-12 for feeding and playtime, and that’s when you can see them. The first group out is the younger bunch, the youngest of which was maybe 6 months old (that’s a guess) and the oldest was maybe a year and a half. First they get their bottles:
And then it’s playtime! Is that not one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen?
After the baby elephants come the adolescent elephants. The oldest in that group are about two and half years old. They’re a little more independent, but still need to be bottle-fed, however they can hold the bottle themselves.
This young lady is actually the oldest in her group, so she is the matriarch. It’s interesting that even within their peer group the oldest elephant is still in charge! You can see that she’s beginning to get tusks, and they said that within a couple of months she will be released into the Tsavo National Park, where she will join up with an existing elephant herd, but will continue to be monitored by the orphanage.
This is the end of my work-related travels until January, so hopefully I’ll be able to actually do some food-related posts between now and then. Maybe I’ll even post about something that isn’t a dessert! (Doubtful.)