I am almost late for breakfast even though it’s still dark outside the windows of the Denys Finch Hatton suite in Giraffe Manor, near Naiorobi, Kenya. I dress quickly, brush my teeth, grab my camera and head outside.
The guests are already there and I can just make them out in the gloom of morning. Two—or maybe it was three—are standing outside and have their heads stuck in the windows of Giraffe Manor. This is what I’ve come to see.
|Nothing like coming upon a giraffe or two in the dark....|
|But at least it's a frendly one.|
I needn’t have worried that our breakfast guests would be late because they almost never sleep. Adult giraffes sleep about a half hour a day, in small minutes-long naps. Young giraffes sleep in naps that amount to about two hours a day.
I enter the small breakfast room. Several giraffe heads are sticking through the windows. The animals are eating their beloved pellets and the hotel guests are happily obliging. This is why people come to Giraffe Manor, to interact one on one with these beautiful creatures.
Later, we are escorted to a different dining room and seated for a lovely breakfast. In no time at all, I feel a warm breath on the back of my neck and a steward hastens over with pellets. I hope it wasn’t Kelly the head-basher, or Daisy, who is also known for love taps. Ed would be nice, and I’m not sure, but I think it is Ed.
The giraffes have new boundaries for breakfast. The low gate is open and the rock ledge means nothing. The giraffes are free to roam where they like and mooch pellets from each and every window that opens to them. In a few places where hotel guests walk, there are very low fences, about a foot high, and the giraffes respect those boundaries, too. Not so the warthogs.
Thankfully, we do not run out of pellets for the giraffes while we eat breakfast. Seated with my back to the open window, I frequently feel that exquisite warm breath on the back of my neck, and—remembering Kelly’s head bashing impatience—am quick to respond to the hints.
|This one knows what's in the stainless steel bowls.|
|Greg swapping spit with a giraffe.|
|The lounge by day.|
Soon, though, it is time to check out of this exquisite boutique hotel and go off on another adventure. In fact, our whole day will be full of adventures until, late at night, we catch our plane for the journey home.
In the main lobby, we sign the guest book and say one more goodbye to a giraffe.
We pause at the gate for photos and then are off to visit some orphans and I am so looking forward to that!
|Charlie, left and Greg.|
|Farewell, Giraffe Manor.|
|The room where we had breakfast is at left on the first floor. Our suite is just visible beyond that.|
|This guy loved what I did. Got his email address and sent it to him.|
|Carlie and Greg|