Honeymooning In Kenya, Part IV: Giraffe Manor!

Date: October 23, 2015 at 9:09 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 20

Our Kenyan honeymoon was so special and wonderful and amazing and I’ve loved looking back and reliving all of it.

All those emotions.

All those emotions.

  • First we flew for 138 hours, spent a quick night in Nairobi, and then flew to Samburu for our first safari adventure.
  • Next, we flew to Masai Mara for more safari-ing and to see lots of baby animals and big cats.
  • Then, we flew to the coast, near Diani, where we chilled out and ate a lot and I got viciously eaten by sand flies and mosquitoes and hopefully I don’t have malaria.

And then, just when I thought it was time to pack up and head home, Brian told me he had “one last surprise.” Because of course he did.

He knew something I didn't know...

He knew something I didn’t know…

In the spirit of saving the best for last (and also in the spirit of writing chronologically in a way that makes sense), here we go. Giraffe Manor.

LEG GOALS.

LEG GOALS.

Giraffe Manor is a magical boutique hotel where giraffes roam the grounds and you can interact with them, and it books up years in advance (though you can also just visit the adjacent Giraffe Centre, which is open to the public during the day), so I never in a billion years thought we would get to go there. Brian even told me we weren’t going there because it was “all booked” (My husband is a liar! I love it!), but I still had hopes for getting to visit the Centre before our flight out of Nairobi.

EYELASH GOALS.

EYELASH GOALS.

Prepare for lots of OMGs and all-caps and exclamation points.

OCTOBER 13

OMG OMG OMG. We just landed at Wilson Airport in Nairobi for our “free day” and got picked up by a GIRAFFE MANOR VAN BECAUSE THAT IS WHERE WE ARE GOING WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE GIRAFFES AT GIRAFFE MANOR!!! Brian isn’t saying much but I know that’s what’s happening because the van says Giraffe Manor on the side!!!

HERE WE GO!

HERE WE GO!

The flight was delayed about an hour and I am now a highly skittish flier it seems. Every bump or dip had me gripping Brian’s leg, convinced we were about to plummet to our deaths.

YAY more flying! We love to fly!

YAY more flying! We love to fly!

BUT WE SURVIVED AND BRIAN IS THE BEST AT SURPRISES AND I AM FREAKING OUT WHILST TRYING TO PLAY IT KEWL.

I HAVE A FEELING I KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING.

The very definition of “playing it cool.”

UPDATE: We are not just visiting Giraffe Manor, we are RESIDENTS AT GIRAFFE MANOR!!!!!!!!!

I thought maybe we were just STOPPING BY, by then they unloaded our bags from the vehicle and brought them inside and everyone was expecting us and knew it was a surprise for me!!!

I thought maybe we were just STOPPING BY, but then they unloaded our bags from the vehicle and brought them inside and everyone was expecting us and knew it was a surprise for me!!!

JUST A SIMPLE HOME FOR TWO.

JUST A SIMPLE HOME FOR TWO.

Brian surprised me with everything!!! This place is the most amazing place I have EVER been! There are warthogs and baby warthogs walking around and also THERE ARE GIRAFFES JUST WALKING AROUND. I CANNOT CONTROL MY EMOTIONS.

HAPPIEST TEARS.

HAPPIEST TEARS.

Too many emotions. Could not process them all.

Too many emotions. Could not process them all. My hair is naturally 50 shades of whatever.

Baby Pumbas!

Baby Pumbas! So small!!!

UPDATE: I FED AND KISSED A GIRAFFE!!!! Her name is Kelly and she is 4.5 years old and 14 months pregnant. She kissed me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Square on the mouth!!!!!!!

The best moment of my life.

The best moment of my life.

I KISSED EVERY GIRAFFE. #slut

I KISSED EVERY GIRAFFE. #slut

UPDATE: Drinking rosΓ© at 4 PM watching warthogs and giraffes and talking to Nik, who OWNS AND RUNS THE PLACE AND IS A BALLER. He calls this Giraffe-ssic Park!

INSIDE JOKES!

INSIDE JOKES! LOL!

Then we fed and kissed Jock for a long time and it was just so special. It is the most amazing day.

BRIAN LET'S FRAME THIS AND PUT IT IN ONE OF THOSE WEDDING FRAMES WE GOT!!!

BRIAN LET’S FRAME THIS AND PUT IT IN ONE OF THOSE WEDDING FRAMES WE GOT!!! (You can Photoshop yourself in I bet!!!)

JEALOUS.

FEELING JEALOUS.

NECK GOALS.

NECK GOALS.

We dined in an amazing dining room with all our new friends from Portland who are also safari-ing and staying at The Manor and who basically encouraged us to come live with them. Very nice. “If you ever do Hood to Coast, you can come to our house for hot showers and breakfast,” they said. I can’t wait to show up there when I do that relay someday. Like, surprise! REMEMBER ME?!

#paleo

#paleo

I did not sleep well because my belly was full. As usual.

OCTOBER 14

Woke up to GIRAFFES outside our bedroom window necking!!! And then after my shower, one of them came right up to the window and I swear he smiled right at me and I fed him!!!!

Well hello there!!

Well hello there!!

They leave food in the rooms so you can give the giraffes little pellets!

They leave food in the rooms so you can give the giraffes little pellets!

And then we had breakfast with the giraffes!!!!!!

Good morning!!!

Doo doo doo, lookin’ out my front door.

Hey you!

Hey you!

They just pop right in at you!

They just pop right in at you!

PHOTOBOMB

PHOTOBOMB

Imagine waking up to this EVERY DAY?

DINING ROOM GOALS.

Then we bought giraffe stuff at the giraffe gift shop, and then we went to the Giraffe Centre, where we got to feed the giraffes from up high.

"Brian, what do you MEAN this one isn't 'for keeps?'"

“Um Brian, what do you mean this one isn’t ‘for keeps?’ Are we not here getting each other post-wedding gifts?”

I mostly fed Kamata, the 10-month-old baby giraffe! He was so sweet and we really bonded. Giraffes have antiseptic saliva, so kissing them is basically healthy for you.

We got to have a little info session with a tour guide man and got to hold a giraffe vertebrae and a tibia (so heavy!!!) and a HEAD! Very cool.

Sluttin' it up again.

Sluttin’ it up again!

Then it was time to leave Magical Giraffe Manor. πŸ™ Our flight back to the stupid United States isn’t until “22:30 PM,” so we had a whole “free day” in the Nairobi/Karen area. Luckily our travel agent hooked us up with a driver for the day, so we don’t have to attempt to navigate the area on our own.

Bye, Giraffe Manor Paradise :(

Bye, Giraffe Manor Paradise πŸ™

First we went to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, where they rescue orphaned ellies from the wild and help them get healthy until they are around three years old and then they get to go back into the wild safely! Ooooooommmmgggg. Baby ellies EVERYWHERE!!!

That little tongue poking out!!!

That little tongue poking out!!!

They came barreling down the hill so excited to drink their milk and play and it was the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Look at this one holding the bottle all by himself!!! Good job!!!

Look at this one holding the bottle all by himself!!! Good job!!!

We got to meet and play with 29 elephants plus two ostriches who have been raised with the elephants since they, too, were rescued. Too precious.

I like your ears!!!

I like your ears!!!

They all loved splashing in the mud and one of them nailed Brian with mud HAHAHAHAHA. What a funny mess!

They loved to play in the mud! That is not something that interests me!

They loved to play in the mud! That is not something that interests me!

After that, we got lunch at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden (they really love Karen Blixen here; she’s the chick from Out of Africa which I have not seen but I watched the movie preview on iTunes).

We bought some original art!!!

We bought some original art!!! That is the artist! (On the left. Brian is on the right, wearing his messy elephant pants and his messy elephant shirt.)

Then we went to two different markets to get some souvenirs for our loved ones (JK, mostly for ourselves), and then went to the House of Waine hotel to relax, eat dinner, and shower before the flight.

One last indulgence before heading home: dinner and drinks by the pool!

One last indulgence before heading home: dinner and drinks by the pool!

OCTOBER 15? Who knows at this point.

The flight to Amsterdam was actually fine. It was just about eight hours, but I passed out for a while early on and then watched Inside Out, which is so cute! I cried! I loved it so much.

I thought our second flight was only six hours (or faster!), so imagine my sweet surprise when I took my seat and saw the posted flight time: 7 hours 50 minutes. ‘SCUSE ME WHAT??? Brian and I split half an Ambien because we are party people (and I was desperate), and it knocked him out for four hours and me for a whole 30 minutes. Jackpot!

BRIAN, DON'T BE MAD!!!

BRIAN, DON’T BE MAD!!!

I have watched Scandal, The Mindy Project, and entire season of Girls, and a Bloomberg documentary about Anna Wintour. I watched a documentary about Spam, I tried to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy but couldn’t get through it, and I watched the new Annie movie (which…yikes).

In total on this trip, we have taken nine flights! That’s too many flights! But they were 100% worth it. (Seriously, if you are considering going to Africa but “it’s too far” or “it’s too much flying,” that’s a bad excuse. The only reason not to go is if you are allergic to awesome.)

WORTH IT. See?

WORTH IT. See?

As we approach the NYC skyline and return our seat backs to their upright positions after 16+ hours on planes, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy looking back at the last three weeks. The wedding and the honeymoon exceeded my wildest dreams (TM Taylor Swift). I feel very lucky to have had these experiences.

So tall. Handsome as hell. Never does get old.

So tall. Handsome as hell. (Never does get old. Hopefully.)

And now, as we head toward Customs in preparation for the long wait at baggage claim and the cab ride home, I can’t help but wonder…when was the last time I brushed my teeth?

20 Responses to "Honeymooning In Kenya, Part IV: Giraffe Manor!"

Ali Jackson says: October 23, 2015 at 9:31 am

OMG, thank you so much for sharing your honeymoon – you know your husband totally rocks, right?! I was oohing and ahhing so much that my co-worker wanted to know what was going on so I sent her your link and she did the same thing. Pictures are amazing and definitely frame worthy. I even cried when I saw you crying at the giraffes at the manor – that was just such an awesome and sweet surprise for you. Happy married life!

YOU HAVE MADE ME WANT TO GO TO ALL THESE PLACES. YAY YOU GUYS!

OMG! tears here!

OMG OMG OMG!!! Amazing pictures, indescribable feelings!!! You guys rock!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

OMG amazing trip! Your pictures look fake they are so good- I’m impressed! Can’t wait to show my husband all your recaps to convince him to take a trip!

The giraffe manor looks amazing! Your pictures show pure and genuine joy. I am glad my fellow Portlanders represented us well. Congratulations on your marriage!

This looks like the most amazing vacation ever. Your pictures made me cry! Giraffes are so beautiful!

The cutest. The end. πŸ™‚

It’s my new goal in life to one day go to Giraffe Manor. Your whole trip sounds incredible (aside from bug bites and scary plane rides). I teared up reading your posts. Thank you for sharing this with us!

I have been reading your blog for a few years now. I never comment on blogs….but I just couldn’t help myself. You are such a gifted writer! It was just thrilling to read all about your honeymoon. What an experience! Something you and your husband will be talking about for the rest of your lives.
I turned 50 in August (yikes!) and Africa has been on my bucket list for over 20 years. In January, I am climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and will then go on safari. I didn’t think I could be more excited than I already am, but after reading about your trip, I can’t wait!
Blessings and all the best!!

DSWT! I adopted an elephant there. In my mind you played with him but probably not because he actually is old enough now that he was released into the sort of wild sort of larger area of sanctuary that they own. One day I hope to go there and see the elephants in person- Ali : giraffes :: Leah : elephants.

I loved every word of all four blogs, I’ve laughed and cried .. and wished I had come along with you. Brian, the photos are absolutely stunning. Thank you both for being such awesome people to work with. What a way to start to life together (except for the constipation bit)!

Anouk xxx

So.incredible.
I can’t even.

WOW!! I’ve been looking for ideas to surprise my wife with on our anniversary next year and a trip to Africa has been at the top of the list. I think this sealed it, so much amazing goodness on this trip, thank you and congrats to you both! Amazing photos by the way, you both have a great eye for photography.

How exciting. I love giraffes I would have been in heaven. I have never really wanted to go to Africa, but now I may consider it. The flights would be hell, because of my ADHD it would be tough. Thanks so much for sharing the great photos and congrats.

I’ve been a reader for a while and just have to say how much I’ve LOVED your honeymoon series! You two seem so genuinely happy and it looks like such an amazing adventure! It has me planning my future honeymoon with my future husband (who may or may not exist)! And Brian’s pictures are great! πŸ™‚

I have seriously enjoyed reading your honeymoon posts! Congratulations! It looks like you two had a blast. πŸ™‚

I am obsessed with all of your animal pictures!! What an incredible chronology of you & the giraffes- so amazing and so cute! Glad you guys had fun– I would love to go there some day! What a unique honeymoon experience!