MySkills4Afrika–Journal 04

Today, it is Sunday and I am expected to hit a few hotspots close to Nairobi Kenya.  On the list is the Elephant Orphanage, the Giraffe Center, the Karen Blixen Museum and possible others (which included the Nairobi View Point, Mamba Village, and Kazuri).

Nairobi View Point

imageOur first stop on the way to the Elephant Orphanage was the Nairobi City Public View Point.  It is here where you may find the President of Kenya, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, give his large public addresses.  He’s the fourth president of Kenya since Kenya won its independence from the United Kingdom on December 12, 1963.

I’ve also come to understand this where you will find many international visitors that will use this location to reach large audiences for their addresses or concerts.  Such visitors include Joyce Meyers and many religious leaders.  It appears that Nairobi leverages this spot as an outside auditorium because of it’s large grass area which allows people to sit on the side of the hill to get a good view.

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It was just a quick visit and it really showcased the city skyline in the background.  Then, we were off to the Elephant Orphanage.

Elephant Orphanage

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I have mixed emotions about my visit to the Elephant Orphanage.  On one hand, seeing these animals up close is breathtaking… especially if you are an animal lover.  But, I’m torn due to the necessity that this place has to exist because of the terrible acts from humans.  As you come to know me, you will quickly find that I love animals and in many cases I like animals more than humans.  It may seem odd but it stems from my thinking that animals have a sense of innocence and they just want to live, survive, be loved, and have peace.  Humans are easily corrupted and may stoop to anything to make a buck – including stealing, mobbing, and in this case poaching these precious animals.  Instead of getting on my soapbox, I will focus on the beauty of this particular experience.

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I can’t recall but I think there are over 50 elephants at this particular orphanage and they brought them out in two groups.  First were the younger babies and then followed by the larger young elephants.

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The baby elephants are brought to the orphanage through different circumstances.  Some of them are found alone as their mother may have died or been killed and others may have been rescued (in fact, they found one baby elephant in a man-made pit with spikes and the elephants leg was broken in several locations).

imageOnce the baby elephants arrive at the orphanage, they are well taken care of.  There is generally two phases for these baby elephants.  The first phase lasts until they are about three years old.  Each elephant has a caretaker that stays with them 24 hours 7 days a week.  The caretaker never leaves their side… in fact, they even sleep with the elephant.  This care creates a special bond between the baby elephant and their caretaker that will last a lifetime. 

Once it is agreed upon that the baby elephant is doing well, then they are moved to the second phase that will last for about five years.  This is the phase when the elephant is being reintroduced into the wild and finds a group of other elephants to become family.  The whole process can last about 8 years.

The elephants are absolutely magnificent creatures and it is a shame that poaching elephants is happening.  Poaching happens because there is a demand for ivory (which should now be illegal around the world).  If you have bought or interested in buying anything made of ivory, you are part of the problem.  Do NOT buy anything from any store/person that sells ivory.  These animals don’t need to become extinct.

If you are interested in knowing more or finding ways to help these orphaned elephants (including fostering an elephant), you can visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

I have many pictures and a few videos of the Elephant Orphanage.  Go to http://1drv.ms/1og5bK7 to view them.

Now, I’m off to the Giraffe Center.

Giraffe Center

Have you ever been on your way to a place without knowing what to expect?  Well, that was the case for me.  Sure, I knew I was heading to the Giraffe Center and I was expecting to see a few giraffes while I was there.  I didn’t expect this experience… one of my favorites here in Kenya.

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Welcome to the Giraffe Center.  Where being tall is just a fact of life.  When we arrived here and once I stepped through the gates (after paying for my ticket of course), I probably turned into the biggest kid, giddy with excitement.  These guys are huge and beautiful. 

These giraffes weren’t off in a distance where I’m having to stretch and wait to get a good picture, they were right in front of your face… begging for attention (well, they were begging for food).

image And, how can you resist when you have this face looking right at you (albeit, I’m having to go to the second story platform to be face-to-face).  But, they are right there.

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Look at those eyes.  I found the giraffes having a very mild temperament.  They really don’t want to be petted but they definitely want you to feed them.  So, feed them I did.  The center keeps a close eye on the consumption of the giraffes and each person is only allowed two handfuls of food.  I wish I knew that when they gave the first handful to me.  You can go through the ~15 pellets in about 30 seconds if you don’t watch out.

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The Giraffe Center is a MUST THING TO DO while you are in the Nairobi Kenya area.

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To learn more about the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (Kenya) LTD (aka the Giraffe Center), visit their website.

Now, I’m off to the Karen Blixen Museum.

Karen Blixen Museum

imageI enjoyed my trip to the Karen Blixen museum.  It was a fairly quick stop that started (after paying) with a volunteer giving me the history on Karen Blixen.

Karen Blixen was a Danish author best known for her book Out of Africa which was then turned into a movie by the same name in 1985 (starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford).  I wasn’t familiar with either the book (published 1937) or the movie (I was 10 when the movie was released).

After the museum tour and when I arrived back to my hotel, I decided to buy the movie.  At the time of writing this, I’m halfway done.  So far, I’m enjoying it.

Before I head back to the hotel to watch the movie, I have more stops to make.  Onward to Kazuri.

Kazuri

Kazuri LTD is a small bead factory that employs single moms to hand make ceramic beads from clay.  These beads are then turned into necklaces, etc. for purchase.  Unfortunately, the factory was closed on Sunday; however, there was a nice lady that gave us a quick tour of the place – we just couldn’t go inside the buildings with the exception of the gift shop (which I took advantage of).

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Last on my Sunday list of activities was to visit Mamba Village.

Mamba Village

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Mamba Village was a quick stop for me that allowed me to be educated on the crocodiles, turtles, and the Ostrich.

 

 

My tour started with the viewing (and holding) of a baby crocodile and learning about their skin, feet, sight, smell, and hearing.  A crocodile is definitely a fascinating creature… this is probably about as big of one that I would want to try and hold.

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I also got to pick up a 40 year old and 2 month old turtle.  The adult turtle weighed in about 40-45 kilograms (88 – 100 lbs).

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And I learned that turtles don’t need much privacy.

Get a room buddy!!!

 

 

We then moved over to the adult crocodiles and the tour guide wanted to show the strength and quickness of a crocodile chomp… go to my videos.image

I ended my Mamba Village tour with a quick visit to see the Ostrich.

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Another day has been completed.  Exhausted once again but full of energy and wonder.

#MySkills4Afrika

2 Comments

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2 responses to “MySkills4Afrika–Journal 04

  1. Pingback: MySkills4Afrika–Journal 05 | Stephen Legler (Twitter @smlegler)

  2. Pingback: MySkills4Afrika – Summary Posts | Stephen Legler (Twitter @smlegler)

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