© 2011 Dave 1 month old orphan elephant

Day 3…Giraffes and Elephants

Today was our first full day in Africa. We woke up to breakfast and giraffes…both at the same time. The giraffes and warthogs are fed by the guests and staff so they come right up to the house and even into the dinning room for their meals. Their table manners leave something to be desired but then so do those of most kids. There are 12 Rothschild Giraffes here right now and 5 of them are babies. A full-grown giraffe eats about 65 kilos of food a day so even with all the pellets they are fed, the still eat vegetation including the bushes around the hotel and the plants growing up the walls.

Several of us forgot to pack some items and I was having a mysterious computer issue so it was off to the “mall” after breakfast. I use quotes because it was not like any mall I have ever gone to before. First it was rather small in terms of the number of stores although it was 2 stories and air-conditioned. The anchor store was sort of a very miniature discount store that sold everything a Kenyan could need. I went to the Apple Authorized Reseller but unfortunately, it was closed for Christmas holiday on December 23. Back home it probably would have been open late on the 24th to catch those last-minute shoppers. The computer problem is not that major so it will wait until I get home and I have worked out a back-up plan with Derek our guide just in case it gets major later. The interesting thing about the mall and much of this area of Kenya is the amount of security. At the entrance to the mall (there were no doors) there were 2 guards and they checked everyone coming in. There were more guards walking around inside and then some of the stores had more guards. When we left, there were about 8 guys in camo and berets carrying AK 47’s! All the large houses have tall walls and large gates and many have security guards as well. I am not sure what they are protecting against, but they are sure serious about it.

When we got back from the mall, Eileen and John had arrived completing our group. We had lunch on the patio and they Derek arrived to take us to the elephant orphanage run by the David Skeldrick Wildlife Trust. This is in the Nairobi National Park and rescues orphan elephants. They keep them until they are about 3 years old the spend 5 more years with them reintroducing them into the wild. They walk with them in the park everyday, never leaving them alone. They are feed soy based infant formula out of 3 liter bottles. At night, they each have a separate stall and a man sleeps in a bunk bed above them! Hell of a way to make a living. They are totally supported by contributions and it cost $800 a month per elephant. They had 18 there today ranging in age for about 3 years to 1 month old. Every couple in the group “adopted” an animal for $50 for the year. They also had a blind rhino that will be with them for life as it can’t be released. Nancy adopted him.

We then went to Derek’s home in Karen for cocktails. The town is named Karen because it is on the land of the old Karen Blixen estate from the movie “Out of Africa”. We did stop at the Karen Blixen Museum but didn’t go in, just looked at the outside of the building and visited the gift shop. We returned to Giraffe Manor for a dinner and to write this blog. Tomorrow we are leaving for the bush.

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