Just to the west of Nairobi is a town called Karen. Home to the super rich of the greater Nairobi area, it also has some of the most exciting attractions in Nairobi. We headed out for a day last weekend and took in three of the main events all at once.
1- Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
Before I got to Kenya, Layne visited the Elephant Orphanage and sent me photos that made me squeal with envy. The orphanage takes in baby elephants that have lost their mothers, some to natural causes but more often to poachers. They keep them until the elephant is about 3 years old, and then spend 5-10 years reintegrating them into the wild. Elephants live to be 60-70 years old, so with just a few years of care they are restored to long, healthy, happy lives. The orphanage is open to visitors every day from 11-12, and you get to watch as they feed the elephants.
I was astounded to see how much personality all the elephants had. Watching them rough house with one another, or throw themselves down and roll in the sand was hilarious. Some elephants would even walk right up to you and allow you to pet them; all that is between you and the elephants is a line of rope. Being so close to these giants is absolutely breathtaking, and I was captivated the entire time. An hour is not nearly enough!
They had also recently rescued some ostriches, and the giant birds and elephants fed together in harmony.
If you adopt an elephant for just $50, you are able to come at 5 p.m. and have even more interaction with them before they go to bed. Layne had gone the first time with someone who had adopted, and he was able to have the elephant drink right from his hands. So - yeah - I WILL be back.
Also - fair warning - warthogs run wild around the park. They look nothing like Pumba; those things are freaking scary!
Part 2 coming tomorrow. SPOILER ALERT: I hold a crocodile and feed a giraffe. You know, if that's your thing. (Have I convinced you yet that Africa is amazing?!?!)