Upon arrival in Nairobi, transfer to the House of Waine, a boutique hotel in the tranquil suburb of Karen. Set on 2.5 beautifully manicured acres on the outskirts of Nairobi, this elegant property was originally a lavish private estate. Later acquired by a local family, it was carefully refurbished to create this distinctive inn offering personalized Kenyan hospitality.
Day 2: Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage / Karen Blixen Museum / Giraffe Center
After a full breakfast, enjoy a relaxed morning among the gardens and grounds of the estate before visiting several of the most popular wildlife and cultural highlights of Nairobi. Mid-morning, meet your guide in the reception area and depart for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which operates the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. The trust's pioneering programs (for rhinos, too) are a leading inspiration for conservation work in East Africa, with numerous wildlife and habitat protection successes to tout. We spend over an hour at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, learning about its history and mission, how the baby elephants ended up there, and what their care involves until they can be released back into the wild. We'll meet their keepers, watch a feeding, and likely observe some mud bath play as well.
Then it's on to the Karen Blixen Museum, honoring a well-loved denizen of local history. Tour the former home of Baroness Karen Blixen—the Danish author also known by her pen name Isak Dinesen—who gained fame for her memoir Out of Africa, chronicling the story of her life on a colonial coffee estate in the early 20th century and her relationship with aristocratic English adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton. The 1912 home, now part of the National Museums of Kenya, was once the centerpiece of a 4,500-acre farm at the foot of the Ngong Hills, 600 acres of which were planted in coffee.
Surrounded by a lush green garden, enjoy lunch among the largest display of wildlife bronzes in Africa at Matbronze Cafe, part of Kenya's first bronze foundry founded in 1987. The casual international menu features dishes sourced with fresh local ingredients, including vegetables grown in the on-site greenhouse.
The afternoon is devoted to Nairobi's famous Giraffe Center, established in 1983 to protect the endangered Rothschild's giraffe found only on the grasslands of East Africa. The Giraffe Center is the creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, a Kenyan non-profit whose main purpose is to provide educational programs for Kenyan schoolchildren and youth about the country's wildlife and environment, and to offer visitors a chance to come into contact with the world's tallest species, the giraffe. The center has introduced several breeding pairs of Rothschild's giraffe into Kenyan national parks. You’ll stand up high on platforms to engage eye-to-eye with these gentle giants, and a chance to feed them by hand is lots of fun.
Return to the House of Waine in time to meet your Expedition Leader and traveling companions at a welcome dinner this evening, marking the start of your group's safari.