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From Ear to Ear

Stefanie takes us behind the scenes on a memorable breakfast date with some of Nairobi's most special orphans
Above: Stefanie's smile says it all

In early December, the Angama Safaris team of travel planners received a very special invitation — a private viewing at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Nairobi Nursery. Despite having grown up in Nairobi, I had only ever been on a public visit, so I was both excited and curious to see the difference.

It's breakfast time

The private viewing was truly special and unforgettable. Our lovely host and Head Keeper, Edwin Lusichi, met and escorted us to the feeding area where he shared the Sheldrick story and how many of the elephants come to the Nursery. Tragically, these orphans are oftentimes found huddled next to their mothers who died from various causes or are stuck in a mud pit, water well, or snare and abandoned by their herds which could not free them.

During this time, there were no elephants in sight, but after the brief, they excitedly trickled into the main area, ready to be fed. Each elephant trundled towards a keeper with a bottle of milk in hand — gulping liters of milk in seconds. Some of the smaller ones were still wrapped in blankets to keep them warm as it was a chilly night in Nairobi. I couldn’t help but smile watching them all come out for breakfast.

A member of the 'blanket brigade' stays close to her keeper
One of the older members of the nursery takes the matter into his own hands

What was so distinct about this experience was that there were no fences separating us from the elephants, unlike the public viewing, and we were invited to the feeding area, getting up close and personal with these beautiful animals. Looking around, you began to notice each elephant’s personality: some were playful and exploratory while others were shy, keeping close to their keepers. Most were just plain old hungry, eating every branch in sight that had been laid out after they finished their milk. It truly was such a joyous experience to be a part of — I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time.

A smile for days
Meet Nyambeni, the newest member of the Angama Family

A special part of the visit is the opportunity to foster one of the orphaned elephants for a minimal donation. Our team became the foster parents of Nyambeni, a sweet baby girl that got stuck in a muddy ditch near a small village in Meru and was unfortunately left behind by her herd. At the Nursery, the keepers play a crucial role in supporting and nurturing these orphans the way their mothers would until they are eventually ready to reintegrate into the wild, which takes anywhere between 8-12 years. As a foster parent, you receive a personalised certificate with the name of your orphan and continue to receive monthly updates about your elephant and the others at the orphanage — amazing stories of tragedy and triumph.

Having a dust bath between snacks
Each keeper acts as a surrogate mother for up to 12 years

To me, the private viewing experience at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a must for anyone who loves these gentle giants. Not only is it unique and unforgettable, but it also supports an incredibly important cause — the protection and conservation of some of Kenya's most amazing animals.

Notes from the Editor:

A big thank you to our friends at Sheldrick for such a lovely morning. If you're looking for some feel-good in your daily social media feed, we highly recommend you follow them on Instagram or Facebook. If you would like to arrange a private viewing at Sheldrick Nairobi Nursey, the Angama Safaris team is always available to help.

Filed under: East Africa Travel

Tagged with:

Angama Team , Angama Travel , Nairobi

About: Stefanie Strothmann

When she isn’t planning holidays for our guests, Stefanie is keeping us up to date on what’s going on in the Green City in the Sun. She has been our go-to for recommendations on new restaurants, art exhibits and Kenyan brands since she joined Angama in 2019.

Browse all articles by Stefanie Strothmann Meet the angama team

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