Africa Bound: A Visit To Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor

In December of last year, I posted about a magical place called Giraffe Manor. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with the idea of one day visiting the manor and seeing the endangered Rothschild giraffes in person.Giraffe Manor, The Safari Collection


How much fun would it be to breakfast with giraffes! I’ve actually thought about it so much, I’ve started dreaming about it! Have you ever thought about a place so much you, you visited it in your dreams?

Giraffe Manor Breakfast Room


In about three weeks my dreams will become reality when I visit Africa in person. Getting there and back home is going to be as much an adventure as the trip itself. Talk about planes, trains and automobiles!

Planes, Trains and Automobiles


Actually it will be more like automobile, plane, another plane, another automobile, yet another automobile, another plane and finally, a jeep…and that’s just the getting there part!

Breaking that down, I’ll be flying via a major airline to Paris, where I’ll have a short wait in the airport before flying via another major airline on to Africa. After arriving in Nairobi, I’ll be transported to a hotel where I’ll spend the night. After breakfast the following morning, I’ll be driven to another airport where I’ll board a small airplane referred to on my itinerary as “light aircraft.” That airplane will take me to Maasai Mara where our runway will be a grass strip.

I’m pretty excited about the grass strip landing. The last time I landed on a grass strip was as a sophomore in college. After soloing several times, my instructor decided it was time we went on a cross-country trip.

At one point during the trip, we landed on a grass strip. It was so exciting! I remember how hard it was just finding the landing strip, well…for me, not my instructor. It completely blended into the surrounding landscape.

I can’t wait to experience that again! This trip will be an adventure from start to finish and I’m going to take you with me through it all!

Solo Flight

Solo Day


After landing, rumor has it a guide will be there to meet us with a glass of champagne, at least that’s what the reviews say on TripAdvisor. I think the champagne is to steel you for the very bumpy, 45-minute jeep ride ahead. They advise you wear a sports bra for the ride…no kidding! Why does this conjure up images in my head of Nicole Kidman en route to Faraway Downs in the movie, Australia? πŸ˜‰

That ride will be my first safari since it’s not unusual to see animals along the way. When we arrive I’ll find myself in a fantasy world called Mahali Mzuri, pronounced Ma-ha-lee Missouri, Swahili for “beautiful place.”

Mahali Mzuri is owned by Sir Richard Branson, ala Virgin Atlantic Airlines fame. I’ll be staying in one of 12 “tents” perched high on the edge of a ridge overlooking the Olare Motorogi Conservancy.

Mahali Mzuri Tents Along Ridge Overlooking the Olare Motorogi Conservancy


The Olare Motorogi Conservancy is on the edge of the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 08


Each day we’ll go out on safari, one in the early morning just before dawn, and another late in the day, toward evening time. They also offer a nighttime safari since some animals are nocturnal and can only be seen after dark.

I plan to post every day while I’m there so I can share this experience with you. My phone company, Verizon, doesn’t offer service in Africa but Mahali Mzuri is supposed to have pretty good wifi. Hoping that’s true!

On two days our safari trips will take us deep into the Olare Motorogi Conservancy. One day we’ll venture into the famous Maasai Mara Conservancy for a safari.

On Safari at Mahali Mzuri in Africa


Mahali Mzuri was built in 2013 so the tents are all still fairly new. See that room on the right…that’s the bathroom. You can just make out the tub.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 07


The tents are like something out of a Spielberg movie, with views that go on forever.

Mahali Mzuri Bedroom


You’re right in the conservancy and there are no fences, so sometimes wildlife viewing happens right from your tent.

Mahali Mzuri Bedroom with Canopy Bed


Each tent has its own bath complete with a rubber ducky dressed in Maasai tribal dress. πŸ™‚

Bathing in Mahali Mzuri


The main center tent is a lodge of sort, complete with a library, fireplace and a bar where all the drinks are on the house.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 09


There’s an infinity pool for those who need a little relief from the heat of the day.

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 01


I’m looking forward to sharing a romantic tablescape with you all the way from Africa!

Dining in Mahali Mzuri in Africa


I chose this time to go because the great Wildebeest migration will still be taking place in the Masai Mara plains during the time I’m there. If you’re not familiar with the famous Wildebeest migration, check out the animation below. You can read more about this amazing event here: Wildebeest Migration

It’s not unusual to see animals roaming about right below your tent, especially at night. You’re not allowed to walk to and from the main tent alone after dark. Security guards stand watch and accompany you, supposedly with spear in hand. I can’t wait to share it all with you! If you’re not following BNOTP on Instagram, this would be a good time to start. πŸ™‚

Mahali Mzuri in Africa 05


After 3 nights/4 days at Mahali Mzuri, we’ll head back to the grass airstrip where we’ll take off and land at another small airport not too far from Giraffe Manor. From there I’ll be transported to Giraffe Manor for my final evening in Africa.

Beautiful Giraffe Manor


I’m scheduled to stay in one of the rooms with a balcony.

Giraffe Manor Bedroom


I’m hoping some tall visitors will come by the room to see me while I’m there. πŸ™‚

Daisy Room


After breakfasting with the giraffes the following morning, I’ll be picked up by a guide/driver who will show me some of the sights around Nairobi until it’s time for my flight that evening. This time the long trek back home will be by way of Amsterdam.

Giraffes in Window of Giraffe Manor


Watch a short, magical video about Giraffe Manor here: Magical Giraffe Manor.

It’s going to be interesting packing for this trip because I’m not allowed to take any hard-sided luggage or any luggage with wheels. All bags have to be soft/squishy (like duffel bags) so they can be easily loaded into the luggage compartments of the small planes I’ll be traveling in for part of the trip. I think I have it figured out and I’ll share what I’m taking in a future post.

On Monday I’ll be getting all the vaccines I’ll need for the trip. For sure I’ll be getting a Yellow Fever and Hepatitis A vaccine, along with a prescription for Malaria that I’ll take just before leaving and again after I return. Not sure if I’ll get a Typhoid vaccine, I’ll see what they recommend.

Read more about Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor at their websites where these pictures were found: Mahali Mzuri and Giraffe Manor.

I booked my trip through Mahlatini Travel Specialists. If this sounds like a trip you would love to take one day, contact Greg or Claire at [email protected]. Mahali Mzuri is having a special right now, buy two nights, get the third free, so it’s a great time to go!

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  1. WOW, post lots of photos please. I adore Giraffes, your tent accommodations look so wonderful. Enjoy!

    • Thanks, Mary! I definitely will. I found out my cell phone company, Verizon, has no coverage in Africa so I can’t use my phone as a hotspot or buy additional service. Fortunately Mahali Mzuri is supposed to have good wifi so I should be able to use that.

  2. Good for you! I am so happy for you!

  3. I can’t even begin to express how envious I am ! I’ve always wanted to visit Africa. Can’t wait to read all about your experience. Safe travels and ENJOY !

  4. OMG – this would be one of my dream trips too! You would be ticking off 3 of the places on my bucket list. I haven’t been to France in 40 years yet it tugs at me to return. Africa and Giraffe Manor – Oh my. What a trip!!! Can’t wait to hear and see all about it!

    • Thanks, Amy! Unfortunately, the only thing I’ll be seeing in Paris is the Charles de Gaulle airport. I would love to see France one day! I bet it was wonderful when you visited!

  5. This is going to be FABULOUS!! I’m so excited for you!!!

  6. wow. amazing. this is a big travel year for you!

  7. Wow Susan! You are definitely living the dream and making up for lost time! You go girl!!

    How did I miss that you were going there? I thought your trip was going to be Italy? Or is that also on the agenda?

    • This was a last minute trip I planned after learning how good flight prices are right now to Africa…plus they have a good deal going on right now at Mahali Mzuri, buy two nights, get one free. So I just went for it! Yep, Italy is still on for October.

  8. Linda Gardepe says

    susan, I am sooo jealous! I went to Kenya and Nairobi many years ago and to this day it is still the best trip I have ever taken did you use a travel agency to plan this trip? Is so can you share the name?
    Thanks so much and please post tons of pictures and info!

    • Thanks, Linda…that’s so good to hear! Sure, I booked it through Claire with Mahlatini. Her email is: [email protected] and here’s their website:
      Right now Mahali Mzuri is having a special where if you book two nights, you get a night free. I think they have another special for longer stays, too. The flight prices are awesome right…almost half what they normally are.

  9. WOW, what can I say after reading this…..I’m so happy for you and looking forward to reading your post from Africa, enjoying the trip right along with you and I’ll be praying for safe and happy traveling. Have fun!

  10. Fabulous! I thought you were going to Italy. Major change of travel plans! We’ve never been to Africa, but I’ve heard it’s wonderful.

  11. Africa, Italy and the Property Brothers’ cruise–when you decided to start travelling, you didn’t mess around LOL! I’m so happy about all your trips and am intrigued by the African one. Hubby and I are pretty adventurous, but we’ve been reluctant to travel to Africa because of all the political unrest and horrible diseases one can catch there. I think Africa can’t be all that bad, (probably) millions visit Africa every year and the tourists do just fine. I just need to convince hubby that it’s okay to go to Africa. So congratulations on your starting out your travel bucket list with a bang–you’re going to have a great time. :0)

    • Yeah, all that disease stuff does make you wary! I was pretty shocked when I heard about all the vaccines I would need to get. I’ll be your test dummy, Elena. lol We’ll see how this goes!

  12. Susan, You certainly are a brave girl. I am too big of a chicken to leave the Good old USA at this time. Fortunately, there are many beautiful places I have yet to see in Louisiana and surrounding states. I wish you a safe and healthy journey. I will have to research your destination. I am always fascinated with places that were once part of the British Commonwealth. Was it at one time?Have a great time. Ashley

    • I’m not sure…that’s a good question, Ashley. I just started reading a book called African Safari Journal by Mark W. Nolting, but I don’t think it discusses that. I should read up on the history of Africa before I go, shouldn’t I? I’m at the age now where I’m ready for a little adventure. But just a little! lol

  13. Jane Moore says

    Susan, maybe you will get to kiss a giraffe. Their tongues are antiseptic due to the thorny vegetation they eat so doing so is quite safe. You hold a pellet of food in your mouth and the giraffe retrieves it. What I like best about Kenya are the people. Visiting Kenya will change your life.

    • Oh, a giraffe kiss is definitely high on my list while there. lol That’s what I’ve read in the reviews on TripAdvisor…can’t wait to see what they’re talking about! Jane, have you been…when did you go?

      • Jane Moore says

        Susan, I went on Tauck Tours: Kenya and Tanzania Grand Safari in August three years ago. More recently I visited Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa. Kenya is my favorite. I want to go back.

  14. Oh my gosh, Susan, I am so excited for you! It sounds like an absolute dream of a vacation with the finale of staying at Giraffe Manor. Oh, how I would love to go there. I can’t wait to hear all about it and see you photos.

  15. I’m confused- I thought you had been posting about a trip to Italy coming soon? Anyway this sounds like the trip of a lifetime. I admire you independence and guts to do this! I’m a chicken but I’d love to do it just the same. I’m all about elephants so I’ll be looking for pictures of them too! Won’t it be the freakiest thing if those giraffes actually do pay a visit like that for breakfast? My hairdresser went to Africa a few years back and loved it. Kudos to you!

    • Italy is still on, going there in October. It will be a completely different experience, no doubt. I’ve heard great things about Africa, you should go! I want to go now while I’m still young enough to think I can do it. lol πŸ™‚

  16. WOW! I am looking forward to the posts and photos to come! How was it getting all the shots in preparation to go there? Do they still give you the pills to take to avoid malaria? Many I knew who did safaris would have to take them while in Africa.

    • I get all the vaccines on Monday, along with the prescription for Malaria. So I’ll let you know how that goes. I think it takes about 10 days before you feel the effect of the Yellow Fever vaccine so not looking forward to that. That’s why I’m getting all the vaccines on Monday, so hopefully any side effects will be gone by the time I leave. I’ll also be getting a Hepatitis A vaccine. They told me that’s a good one to get no matter where you travel.

      • Elena Wortman says

        Susan, regarding your vaccines: be prepared to be sick (nauseous, headache, fever, aches, fatigue) after you have your vaccines–those are typical side effects. When she was a little girl, my daughter took a trip with her grandma to Romania right after the Iron Curtain dropped (and it was a wreck of a country). She had to have a total of 6 vaccinations, tough for a little 8 year old girl. Her reaction to the typhoid fever vaccine was a high fever, vomiting, screaming “My head is going to split in half!” and finally passing out. The nurse who administered the vaccines hadn’t warned us ahead of time about possible typhoid vaccine side effects. We were terrified and rushed my daughter to the emergency room when she started to have problems. The ER doctor checked her out and said quite casually, ” Oh, it’s no big deal, she’s just having side effects from the typhoid vaccine.” Thanks for the warning—LOL! I don’t mean to scare you, just be prepared if you feel crummy after your vaccines–that’s normal.

  17. Susan, I’m so excited for you!! When you decide to travel, you get with it!! Can’t wait to see all your posts on the many adventures you will have. It seems like the older I get, the more I want to travel, too, even though it’s all in the U.S. I need to get a passport. I let mine expire which wasn’t smart. Happy Travels!!! Pam

  18. Marlene Stephenson says

    Hope you have a great time, sounds wonderful. Will be waiting to see all your adventures.

  19. Fran Silver says

    How wonderful that you are able to make this trip! Hope all your “dreams”come true and you make fantastic memories. We will all enjoy your posts and pretend we are there with you. Have a safe and happy trip!

  20. Girl…when you make up your mind, you don’t let grass grow under your feet…How fun and exciting!
    I don’t do Instagram (no idea of how to even start) so I will try to keep up as best I can through the postcards and the blog!
    Can’t wait!

  21. Wow. Hope it is the adventure you dream of–and then some! Bon safari.

  22. What a wonderful trip this will be. And those giraffes eating breakfast with you – AWESOME. Thanks for a lovely visit!


  23. Linda Page says

    You are determined to make me really feel bad about not going, aren’t you!!! Just kidding. I know that I will enjoy every post you make on your trip. I got my NY bag like your Bicycle bag today. It has leopard spots inside!!!! I love this bag. I can’t believe how light weight it is and the leather is wonderful. Sorry that you have to get shots for the trip but we want you to be safe.

    • Awesome! I love that bag, too. I have giraffe spots and you have leopard…love it! πŸ™‚ Yeah, I’m not thrilled about all the shots. I’m not afraid of needles, just don’t like the idea of infecting myself on purpose!

  24. Well! Well! And here I tought you might be going to Italy! This sounds like an AMAZING trip! I’d opt for the giraffe manor too. And the tent you’ll be in for the safaris looks incredible. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INCLUDING US! I can’t wait! (Can you tell I’m excited?) I’m signing up for the BNOTP instagram pronto. Waiting patiently for further details.

    • Thanks, Charlotte! πŸ™‚ I’m going to do my best to put you right there in my shoes with me. πŸ™‚ Italy is still on…that will be in October. Yes, I’m crazy! lol

  25. Cyndi Raines says

    So happy for you Susan!! What an adventure!! It will almost be like one of my favorite movies “Out of Africa”. I will be eagerly watching for all your posts and saying prayers for a safe, fun filled journey for you.

    • Thanks, Cyndi! This is definitely an adventure and big change from every day life. Hope I can sleep while I’m over there. I have visions of laying in bed at night too excited to sleep! lol

  26. Wow, wow, wow!!!!!!!!! What a great trip! Such an adventure! How stunning will it be when some long neck will be put through a window to steal one of your rolls from your plate?! Hilarious, too!
    Hope you have a great time! And for myself: I hope you will show us lots of pictures afterwards, so we can enjoy Africa a bit as well.


    • lol Liz, you know what’s sooo amazing! I watched a video on You Tube where a couple of friends visited while on safari there, and I was amazed to see the giraffe reach through and eat from a plate right beside there, yet never touch their food. Amazing to see! They show great restraint…or maybe they don’t like eggs and bacon. lol

      I definitely will! I’m taking my big camera on this trip and just purchased a 300mm zoom lens to take, too. I wish I could afford an even better zoom but the prices are outrageous for those. I think we’ll be able to get pretty close though, at least from what I’ve seen online.

  27. You go girl! I can’t wait to read your posts and see your pics on Instagram! Be safe and have fun (how could you not??!!).

  28. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Susan, you adventurer! Wow, this is fantastic. I am so happy you have reached this ‘time to do it,’ place in your life! I’m thinking this all started with plans for the trip to Italy — which then led to the cruise with the Property Brothers — and now to this African adventure — and all one before the other, lol. Isn’t that right? The cruise is prior to the trip to Italy and now this African trip is prior to the cruise? What fun!

    And hey, bell bottoms girl, that plane looks like a toy! Haha. I remember taking a flight from Arizona to Las Vegas in a plane like that when I was a teenager. I loved it because there was so much turbulence. πŸ˜€

    This is thrilling and I so appreciate that you are going to be sharing all of your exciting experiences with us. And you’ll even get to scratch off Paris and Amsterdam on your travel map. Both are such beautiful cities (from what I’ve seen on t.v. πŸ˜‰ ) I’m sure you’ll want to be returning to them for a longer stay. Wow, I am so excited for you and so impressed with you for just getting after it and getting it done! I wonder what Chip is thinking of his spunky mom.

    Hee hee … I think I’m as excited as you are! Pat a giraffe for me! πŸ˜€

    • lol Yeah, you can tell how long ago that was by the jeans. πŸ™‚ Oh no, airports don’t count. My rule is you can only scratch it off the map if you actually went some place and did something there. Seeing the inside of an airport doesn’t count.
      I will…I’ll pet one and tell him/her, that’s from Pam! πŸ™‚

  29. I am so excited for you to take this trip! I know you are taking others…but this is the one I’m most interested in! Can’t wait…you are going to have so much fun! πŸ˜‰

  30. Oh wow, you weren’t kidding when you said you’re ready to travel!!! You don’t mess around…..and good for you……you waited a long time for this, do it while you’re able…..

    I’m so very proud of you for going on this adventure!! Unreal!! Can’t wait to hear about your experiences, I’ll be drooling on my keyboard!! I think you’re gonna need boots, sunscreen and bug repellent…

    The ‘tents’ look amazing…….so excited for you!! Happy trails to you….xoxoxo

  31. Hi, Susan! Bon Voyage!!! I can’t wait to see your travel log. My girlfriend had a wonderful time on an African safari last year. She told me the sunsets are unbelieveable and every day there are more things to see. I will be following you in anticipation of your wonderful photos and descriptive prose! I’m laid up from open heart surgery (some post-op complications), so your entries will transport me from a not-so-wonderful experience right now, to what is sure to be an unforgettable adventure. Your entries will be gratefully received to get me out of my skin for a while and see what adventures can be ahead. Enjoy yourself, Susan, and embrace all the excitement of new cultures, sights and sounds! And definitely “kiss a giraffe” for me! Rosie

    • Thanks, Rosie! I’m so sorry you are having some complications. Hope those clear up right away! I will do my best to give you something entertaining to read in the meantime. πŸ™‚
      Big Hugs! XOXO

  32. Oh Susan – what a trip this is going to be – holy cow – a trip of a life time !!!
    The accommodations look wonderful but the views must be far more magnificent than can ever be captured through a lens – how amazing !

    • Thanks, Suzan! That’s what the folks who I’ve talked to keep telling me…that’s it the trip of a lifetime, an amazing experience. I’m ready to experience something fun and exciting! πŸ™‚

  33. Susan, I’m so excited for this trip for you. My husband, sister and I went on safari in the Masai Mara as well several years ago and we were there during the wildebeest migration……it is a phenomenon to experience first hand! Can’t wait to follow your posts! Have a marvelous time! Can’t wait to see your pictures!

  34. Oh, Susan, I’m so excited for you!!! I have one question, though….will you meet up with a travel group or is the entire trip solo? My parents used to fly to specific locations throughout the world and meet up with Globus tour groups for 2-4 week trips and loved it.

    • I’m going solo. I’m not afraid or worried, though. I’ll be met at the airport and everything has been arranged by a travel company I’m using. I just have to show up. Once I’m at Mahali Mzuri, I’ll be going out on safari with the other folks who are staying there. Also, we’ll all dine together for our meals, unless someone wants to eat in their room. It should be a lot of fun. The most folks that are allowed to ever be staying at Mahali Mzuri is 24 since it’s in a conservancy. So, they pamper you pretty well from what I’ve been told…a lot of staff and just a few guests. πŸ™‚

  35. Susan, I can’t wait to get your blog posts while you are there. What an adventure. This place looks amazing.
    Make a trial run with your bag packed. It is sounding heavy even though you are not taking much. Camera and lap top are HEAVY! I’m thinking you could buy one of those bungy cord straps ( can’t think of it’s name)that has wheels to at least roll your bag in the airports then you could disconnect it and put it in a shopping bag on the small planes. Just an idea. Sometimes weather delays flights and you have to run through airports.
    I’m so excited for you. I was thrilled for you going to Italy and now Africa too. Wow! Enjoy. Looking forward to your blog posts.

  36. SuSan,

    How exciting for you !!! I can’t wait to see all the pictures. My aunt & uncle travel the world, and he said that was his favorite trip of all !!

    Prayers for a safe trip !

  37. Sandee Spencer says

    I’ve been on Safari in Africa (dream trip)- had all the shots your mentioned but opted NOT to take the Malaria medication. I was lucky and it was dryer than usual so we didn’t have mosquito issues but I was too afraid of the side affects to take the meds

  38. WOW! I am looking forward to the posts and photos to come! How was it taking all the shots in preparation to go there? Do they still give you the pills to take to avoid malaria? Many I knew who did safaris would have to take them while in Africa.

  39. Thank you for posting all the detail. I like that readers can search your site for specific posts. In this case “africa”. We plan to visit in near future and am researching.

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