Visit an Elephant OrphanageNairobi, Kenya
More than 40 years ago, one Kenyan family decided to do something practical for the threatened wildlife of its country and so the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was born. As well as full range of conservation projects, the trust runs one of the most successful elephant rescue and rehabilitation programs anywhere in the world. To date, the carers have raised and re-introduced to the wild, more than 240 elephants and about 17 rhinoceroses.
Not surprisingly, visiting the orphan babies – some of them have lost their mothers to poaching, others have been found down wells – is one of the most popular attractions in Nairobi. Each day, for precisely one hour at 11am, guests are invited to see them drink their milk and have a mud bath.
It can all get pretty messy and noisy. The babies trumpet to one another, flop into the red pool and spray the mud over themselves and whoever happens to be standing nearby. During the whole adorable event, there’s commentary from one of the keepers about the work of the trust.
If you simply can’t get enough of these sweet and cheeky babies, there is another chance to take a more personal look. When you adopt an elephant – it costs US$50 a year – not only do you get a pack with its photo and details and a monthly email update on its progress, but you can also make an appointment to come back at 5pm when the elephants return to their shelters at night. You’ll see them come back from the forest then have the opportunity to walk around the nursery area and chat to the keepers as they put all the babies to bed.
- Being so close to the baby elephants during their morning tea and playtime.
- Helping with the rescue, rehabilitation and protection of elephants and rhinos in Kenya.
- If one of the ellies splatters you with red mud, you’re never getting it out of your clothes.
- An hour isn’t nearly long enough.