Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Art Caffe

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
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In my last post I talk about the first half of my 24 hour day in Nairobi, Kenya. I spent it visiting orphaned elephants. Now it’s time for giraffes! Erica and I took our taxi to the Giraffe Center next. We hired a taxi for the day to take us around Nairobi. Split between the two of us it was an affordable flat rate and the most time saving way to see as much as possible in our 24hrs. When you meet a local driver you trust, be sure to get their phone number and call them when you need rides. Erica met a driver she liked when she was first in Nairobi so it was easy to call and get a quote for a day of touring around the city.

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We arrived at the African Fund For Endangered Wildlife Kenya (or the Giraffe Center), and paid 1000 Kshs ($11.50 USD) to enter. The center includes a cafe, gift shop and feeding platform. The photo above is the feeding platform and it is amazing. It puts you right at the height of the adult giraffes.

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Look at the feet of the giraffe above, and you can see the giraffes buddy: the warthog. The warthogs hang around the feet of the giraffes hoping to catch their scraps.

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You can see the feeding platform sits along the perimeter of a large area reserved for giraffes. Look at them eating off in the distance. They are just so gentle and sweet.

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“When I was a young warthog!!” – The Lion King

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Once I got up on the platform, an employed hands you many food pellets that the giraffes love. This giraffe came galloping over when he saw arms with pellets extended.

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That’s my hand on the left and the giraffe just grabbed a pellet from my hand with his tongue. I was nervous to feed them at first, but once you see that they don’t want to bite you, it becomes more fun. You can even pet their fur when they lean their head in.

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They have a purplish/black tongue and it’s super long. They can grab the food pellets out of your hand from a wide distance using it.

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There’s something called “kissing the giraffe”. The workers encourage doing this and it’s one of those must-do things for visiting the giraffes. Apparently giraffe’s will eat those pellets from anywhere…. anywhere. If you hold a pellet loosely between your lips, they can use their tongue to grab it. Erica got a face full of tongue above!

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Such a cutie.

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Me feeding my friend 🙂

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Next to the Giraffe Center is an expensive private hotel called Giraffe Manor. This hotel is also a feeding area for the giraffes. Supposedly they come right up to your hotel room windows and stick their heads in. You can also feed them from your dinner table. Knowing that this $12 Center is right next door, which gives you a similar yet much more affordable experience, I recommend it over spending all that money to stay in the hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the manor’s amazing but it’s so expensive and has to be booked so many months (years?) in advance.

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After feeding the giraffes and many “giraffe kisses”, we bid farewell to our animal friends and took our cab to the Karen Blixen Museum. Have you read the book or seen the movie Out of Africa? Karen Blixen wrote the book which is based on her life in Kenya. The museum is her actual home in Nairobi where most of the book takes place. Some of the Meryl Streep movie Out Of Africa was even filmed on these grounds.

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Much of the tour takes place inside the home, although no photos are allowed inside which is why I only included exterior photos here. The house inside is just as beautiful as you can imagine and they even have some of the clothing/props from the film.

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Karen Blixen (photo above) was a friend of the Kenyan people. She employed many people and often helped the community. Many locals would visit seeking medical and personal advice. She was loved by the Kenyan community.

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Karen owned a very large piece of property and even grew coffee beans. The above machine is used in the process of preparing the coffee.

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Once our tour ended, our taxi driver made a quick stop back at the Galleria Mall so we could get a dinner to go from Artcaffe (Erica’s favorite local restaurant good for Americans). Just a warning, security is tight at the malls in Nairobi. These malls are not nearly the size of a typical American mall, but are very large and fancy by local standards. Due to the terror attack at the Westgate Mall in 2013, there is a strong police presence at the mall. Also like many places in Africa, photography around the mall is not allowed.

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We had to try one of the Artcaffe cakes 🙂 It was delicious.

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Just to give you a sense of where we went for our 24 hours in Nairobi, Kenya, here’s a map and LINK to the directions.
A) The Nairobi Airport Stopover Hotel
B) The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
C) The Giraffe Center
D) The Karen Blixen Museum
E) The Galleria Mall – Artcaffe

Do This Today: Willy Wonka at the Skirball Cultural Center

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(photo via here)

It’s time for another midday activity! Willy Wonka is screening on the big screen at the Skirball Cultural Center. Check it out!

Event: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Skirball Center (event link)
Location: Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd Los Angeles, CA
Time: Tuesday August 5, 2014, 1:30pm
Cost: Free – no reservations

Do This Today: LACMA Matinees: Labyrinth

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(photo via here)

I know what you’re thinking: who’s free at 1pm for a movie at the LACMA? Well if you’re funemployed and looking for cheap midday fun, hit up the LACMA today! $4 (in addition to admission to the museum) lets you see a screening of the AWESOME movie Labyrinth. You know you want to see David Bowie in those pants!

Event: LACMA Matinees: Labyrinth (event link)
Location: LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Time: Tuesday July 29, 2014, 1pm
Cost: $4 for general admission

Do This Today: Outstanding Art of TV Costume Design

exhibition-8th-annual-outstanding-art-of-television-costume-design (image via here)

Today visit the FIDM Museum downtown to see the opening of their exhibit Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design. Mary Rose (President of the Costume Designers Guild) is curating the exhibit. Expect to see costumes from your favorite nominated programs.

Event: Outstanding Art of TV Costume Design (event link)
Location: FIDM Museum & Galleries, 919 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Time: Tuesday July 22, 2014, 10a – 4pm
Cost: Free!

BONUS Do This Today: LACMA Conversation with Michael Wilkinson: Superman- Costume Icon

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This is a tad pricy for the blog, but sounds cool. Check out the LACMA tonight to see Michael Wilkinson (who was nominated for an Oscar in Costume Design for American Hustle) in conversation with Bobi Garland. Warner Bros even loaned some of Wilkinson’s costume designs for the event. If you’re into wardrobe and costume design, this event is for you. It’s $35 for LACMA members, $25 for students, and $40 for the public.

Event: LACMA Conversation with Michael Wilkinson: Superman- Costuming an Icon (event link)
Location: LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Time: Tuesday March 4, 2014, 7pm
Cost: $40 for the public, $25 for students, $35 for LACMA members

Do This Today: Free Museum Day!

HappyPresidentsDay

Do you love visiting museums in Los Angeles but can’t take the hefty entrance fees? Alas! Today is Presidents’ Day, which means spend your day off at one of LA’s best museums. Check HERE for the full list of museums and details.

Event: Free Admission to Los Angeles Museums (event)
Location: See THIS list for the participating museums
Time: Monday February 17, 2014, All day
Cost: FREE