The Rothschild Giraffe Centre, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya
The Giraffe Centre in Langata, a south western suburb of Nairobi, is dedicated to the conservation of the Rothschild Giraffe; a subspecies of the giraffe family and easily identifiable as it's lower legs are white as if they are wearing long white socks
In the early 1970's they were nearly extinct. There were only 130 left. They were being looked after on a ranch in Western Kenya. Jock Leslie Melville (JLM) and his wife Betty decided to start a breeding programme to save them from extinction on the extensive land that is attached to their elegant country house.
They successfully bred seven Giraffes in 1979. From these humble beginnings they have gone from strength to strength. Since then they have been able to reintroduce many breeding pairs of endangered Rothschild Giraffes into the National Parks of Kenya. Later on in the week we saw large family groups living free in Lake Nakuru National Park.
An education centre was built to teach local children and tourists the importance of the wildlife preservation. There is a gift shop, a cafe serving good Kenyan tea and coffee. The toilets are clean. The income from the tourist's visits funds the breeding programme and a bus which ferries groups of school children to and from the centre for free.
There is an observation deck at the same height as an adult giraffe's head. Here you can feed these majestic gentle animals with cattle pellets. Having two giant giraffe heads either side of you, eating out of both of your hands, is an experience you will never forget. Place a cattle pellet between your lips and a giraffe's highly dexterous blue tongue will gently extract it.