Commending the Victorious Participants of the 2023 AFEW Kenya – Giraffe Centre Annual Environmental Awareness Competition

We have had numerous environmental conservation programmes with the goal of altering mindsets throughout the last 40 years of The Giraffe Centre’s existence. These programmes are classified into three categories: funding, school programmes, and giraffe conservation.

The Annual Environmental Awareness Competition is one of the school programmes. This competition has been going on for 37 years. This competition seeks to provide students from Kenyan schools with an opportunity to express their opinions on environmental conservation based on a predetermined theme. They submit essays or artwork in response to level-specific questions. Students from Pre-school to Undergraduate can take part.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause to the outstanding winners of this year’s competition. These exceptional students truly shone among a pool of remarkable entries. Their compelling perspectives on the environmental conservation theme, “It Is Time for Change! Let’s Restore Our Mother Nature,” resonated powerfully.

Click here to get the list of winners

Changing Young Mindsets for Sustainable Tourism

The tourism sector is a key pillar to Kenya’s socio-economic growth and recovery from the impact of the COVID19 pandemic. Revenues linked to tourism reached KES 268.09 billion in 2022 against 146.51 billion shillings in 2021, representing a growth of 83%. As home to a diverse range of wildlife, including giraffes, elephants, lions, rhinos, and many other species, Kenya continues to face numerous threats, including habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.

The Giraffe Centre is acknowledged by the Kenya Tourism Board as a key partner promoting destination Kenya whilst creating awareness on giraffes and their habitats, and their Conservation efforts and impact. Established in 1979, it is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in Nairobi,  Kenya attracting an average of 200,000 domestic and international visitors annually.

The endangered Rothschild’s giraffe species, which can only be found in Kenya and Uganda, is a popular attraction for tourists, who can interact with the giraffes in a safe and controlled sanctuary.

The non-profit Giraffe Centre provides a platform for the linkage between the conservation of the Rothschild’s giraffe and tourism. The Centre creates awareness amongst tourists on the fragility and inter-dependence of ecosystems and wildlife habitats by providing a safe environment to interact with and feed giraffes.

This nexus is useful in promoting sustainable growth of the tourism sector, as tourists are forced to confront the danger of extinction and are reminded of actions they can take to contribute to conservation. The revenue generated from tourism activities at the centre is used to support conservation efforts and the local community. To date, tourist activities at the Giraffe Centre have helped raise funds for community and conservation grants worth KES 250 million. Some key beneficiaries and partners who have benefited from these grants include: Eco-tourism Kenya, Sustainable Tourism Agenda, Uvumbuzi Club, The Netfund, National Museums of Kenya; and the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya.

As the only Capital City that is home to Giraffe’s, the Giraffe Centre is a proud custodian of 120 acres that are preserved for the cultural and natural heritage of Kenya. Located only 20 kilometres from the Nairobi Central Business District, the giraffe centre conveniently serves Conference Tourists who are unable to travel to national parks, making it ideal in championing for the sustainable planning and development of cities. Beyond the Giraffe, the sanctuary provides a green recreational space for both residents and nonresidents of Nairobi, who wish to interact with nature surrounded by indigenous trees. The sanctuary is also a bird lover’s haven and facilitates guided bird watching tours. 

The Giraffe Centre is a model sustainable tourism enterprise as it is fully sustained from tourism revenues. It provides direct employment opportunities to about 50 Kenyans, and indirect employment to many more. The Gift Shop embraces the celebration and showcase of local culture, Kenyan people and their talents and artefacts with proceeds from sales going directly towards boosting the incomes of rural women and people with disability. The Giraffe Centre also strives to be a fully green tourist destination having adopted policies for 100% efficiency in energy, water and waste management.

How land owners and Wildlife Conservancies work together in Athi Kapiti.

When people live side-by-side with wildlife, conflicts are bound to happen. This is a common scenario in the Athi Kapiti wildlife dispersal area of Nairobi National Park. Therefore there is a need to find peace between humans and wildlife. One way we seek to accomplish this is through leasing land in areas adjacent to wildlife protected areas like the Athi Kapiti area.

The land lease program has been running for the last 2 decades, under the stewardship of The Wildlife Foundation (TWF). TWF identifies prime wildlife habitat in the Sholinke area of the Nairobi National Park Wildlife Dispersal area. They then enrol the land owners in the Land Lease program. The land owners are given lease payments in 3 instalments, at the beginning of each school session. (September, January & April). In 2022-2023, Giraffe Centre committed to leasing 750 acres of local community land to support TWF’s lease program.

This program has been instrumental in promoting harmony between humans and wildlife in this area. The financial incentive for landowners gives them a chance to appreciate wildlife. As a result, both domestic and wild animals can seek pasture freely. This also allows open routes for migratory animals.

AFEW Kenya is proud to be part of this program, which has been a success in many ways. Human-wildlife conflict cases have fallen in this area as it’s a major dispersal area for the Nairobi National Park. Furthermore, it’s an income source for landowners. As a by-product of this initiative, land owners have become fierce protectors of wildlife on their land against poachers. More importantly, this program supports the Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4 on quality education, SDG number 17 on multi-stakeholder partnership for sustainable development and SDG no. 15 on protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable utilizations of terrestrial ecosystems.

2 New Born Giraffes in a row

Since 1978, we have been on a mission to breed the Rothschild Giraffes. Back then, their numbers were so few they almost got extinct. Now, their numbers in Kenya are at 900 individuals. That’s a great win for conservation thanks to the great work the Kenya wildlife Service is doing to keep our parks safe. Their work makes our efforts a lot easier and safer. Click here to know more about our history.

Our efforts toward conserving the Rothschild Giraffes is through breeding. This year,we’ve been blessed to have 2 newborn calves in two Months. Salma gave birth last month, 13th August 2022 at 8:00am. Today, 20th September 2022, Daisy gave birth at 8am to. We are expecting Betty to give birth too any time now.

This is really good news.

2022 AFEW Kenya Environmental Competition Prize Winners

Every year we host an annual Environmental competition. The competition seeks to give students a chance to give their views concerning the environment according to a set of questions and theme. We’ve marked the entries and here is the list of winners for the 2022 AFEW Kenya Annual Environmental Competition

Survival is for the fittest: Hippos in Amboseli

If asked, between the Crocodile and the Hippopotamus, who is the ‘King’ of water bodies? Most likely, we’d say the crocodile. With the sharp teeth and rough exterior and accurate tail slap, that animal is pure nightmare incarnate. In fact there’s a video on YouTube of a crocodile scaring an Elephant stiff while another video shows a crocodile hunting down an adult leopard. Crocodiles are awesome and gruesome hunters yet they don’t mess with the Hippopotamuses.

With the hippo’s smooth and sensitive skin to the sun, one would think they are easy prey but they are the embodiment of the saying, ‘Kindness for weakness. With their large bodies and small legs they are awesome swimmers. In water bodies, they are fast as a whip! No human can out swim them. However, on land, they can attain a speed of 35km/hr; even Bolt can definitely win a race against them.

Crocodiles do not mess with the adult Hippos for the right reasons. Key among them being the hippo’s powerful jaws. Hippos can open their mouth as wide as up to 1.5 meters wide and have the strongest bite pressure of between 1800-2000psi. That’s like 126.55Kg/cm2 of force being applied on every bite.

Hippo too tired to submerge due to a possible fight that happened overnight

During the 2021 AFEW Kenya Winners safari, Tertiary level, to Amboseli National Park We
saw one resting. He was badly bruised such that, he couldn’t be submerged in water, leaving its
badly wounded back out in the sun.

Our Head of Conservation Education programmes, Mr. Ngumbi Emmanuel and Mr. Omondi Fidel current Intern at the Conservation Education Department proceeded to let us know of the most probable misfortune this bull met. The bull fell on the wrong side of the survival for the fittest theory. This bull must have engaged in a male dominance territorial fight with another bull within a Bloat of Hippos and lost the fight.

Hippos fights starts with a mouth opening contest; with the one with the widest and biggest mouth winning. The winner of the mouth opening contest will try to snap it back with the loser’s mouth. If the loser evades the bite and takes off; a chase will follow with the chaser trying to dig his massive teeth in the other bull’s body until the chaser is tired or the day breaks.

The stories nature behold is simply beautiful. Participate in the AFEW Kenya Competition and enjoy some of the best scenes and a lot of learning moments with us as we help to connect you with nature.

AFEW Kenya – Giraffe Centre Annual competition winners safari

Lifestyle and Environment tend to go together, The more we depend on technology for our day to day lives, the more we’ll need to find ways to get the much needed energy to satisfy the ever increasing human demands. You can guess where it all comes from. With all the pressures of life, it’s very easy to overlook how our activities impact the environment. The demand for energy keeps increasing with every new generation. This calls for more engagement with the young on matters of environmental conservation so as to secure the future.

Zebras grazing at Amboseli Spill over lands

One of the ways to engage them is through picking their interest in fun and engaging activities. AFEW Kenya does this by  hosting an annual Environmental Awareness

Competition under a selected environmental theme.This competition seeks to give kenyan going students a chance to air their concerns on current environmental issues and challenges affecting their world and to propose possible  solutions to the same which can be undertaken at local, regional and global scales. The winners of the competition are then treated to a fully paid for Safari to different conservation areas and Parks across Kenya.

The 2021 tertiary competition winners for the tertiary level were recently treated to a 4 day safari to.Amboseli and Tsavo National parks. They had a treat of a lifetime. During the first day of the safari they got a chance to view the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Amazing views of the huge but gentle jumbos from Amboseli National park.  On the second day of their safari, they got a chance to explore the expansive Tsavo West National Park, with magical views of Shetani lava flow remains and the iconic Mzima Springs, not to mention the rich wildlife biodiversity.

With the Guidance of Mr. Ngumbi Emmanuel, the safari was a perfect blend of education, fun, learning culture and making new connections. Stick around and find out, nature is fascinating.

This year the theme is “Our Earth, Our only Home, Our Responsibility”. The competition ends on the 31st of March 2022

The Amboseli National Park – Maasai Community Connection

Wildlife conservation in Kenya has been very dynamic in the precolonial, colonial and post-colonial period. For instance, in the precolonial period most local communities in Kenya and especially pastoral Maasai community members and their livestock lived peacefully side by side with wildlife. With the coming of the colonial masters, this dynamic changed as the colonial government of the British East African Protectorate decided to utilize legal instruments to regulate wildlife utilization and conservation in Kenya. They adopted the wildlife conservation policy which saw the creation of wildlife Protected Areas (PAs) essentially under the principle, ‘People out, Wildlife In’ for obvious reasons. This approach messed up the long held peaceful co-existence between people and wildlife as the PAs boundaries did not pay attention to the ecosystem dynamics including factors dictating seasonal pastoral community or wildlife migratory patterns and distribution of key resources within the original ecosystem. The post-colonial government adopted the same wildlife conservation policy with a few policy amendments from time to time.

Up to date, animals especially the migratory species knows no man-made boundaries. They still wander as they have always done for generations spilling over to the adjacent local community areas and beyond. Amboseli National Park ecosystem has been a good example of this scenario. The legally protected area is only approximately 390 square kilometres but it is part of the larger Amboseli – Kilimanjaro ecosystem which covers approximately 8000 square Kilometres. Amboseli national park was declared a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1991 because of its critical role it plays sustaining the survival of man and nature.

Hence, the park cannot be managed as an island but its conservation must actively incorporate local adjacent community members needs and knowledge for posterity. 

The Kenya Wildlife Service who are the custodians of Amboseli National Park encourages the Maasai Community who lives around the park to try and maintain land use practices which are more compatible with wildlife conservation this ensures the wildlife in the park then get to roam free on the spill areas around the park. In return, the park management have made a provision to allow the local Maasai community members to water their cattle at designated points within the park. This presents both the park and local community members with a rather important resource.

They have the community rooting for the park’s success. Also, the wild animals like the Elephants. Zebras, Giraffes, gazelles and waterbuck have grown accustomed to friendly human interaction. The kind that only leaves a minimal ecological footprint and satisfied community members and their Cattle. This a huge plus for tourism as it isn’t as hard to actually see and learn about the wildlife while at Amboseli National park. However, the carnivores are a different kind of story. 

Late in February 2022, AFEW Kenya sponsored selected tertiary level students for a 4 day trip to Amboseli – Tsavo National Parks and they had treat of a lifetime. These students were the top winners in the 2021 AFEW environmental Awareness Competition.

During this trip, they got a chance to visit a Maasai village which hosts a total of 97 extended family members. Incidentally, this village constitutes the smallest village in the area. Our guide let us know of the different experiences they’ve had with the carnivores in a bid to save their livestock dead in the night. Eerie stories the Ndauo have!  While this large, but small family eats meat as long as it’s today, they despise wild meat and so they do not kill wildlife for their daily survival. It’s amazing how much they value their culture and how much of it has been passed to the young generation. Do check them up on your visit to Amboseli National Park.

Written By:  Angaya Kevin

Compiled By: Mr. Ngumbi Emmanuel


Happy New Year. We hope and believe that you’ll have a successful year.

To start off, we have our annual competition up. The competition will be running from January 1st, 2022 to March 31st,2022.

The aim of the competition is to get students to engage in environmental conservation. The theme of the competition seeks to jog the students minds concerning current conservation issues and express them through either essays, drawing or an artistically taken photograph. The winners of the competition will get to visit some of the great conservation sites and organizations we have in Kenya.

To get the poster for the competition please click here

We wish you a prosperous 2022


Literature on African Societies child naming ceremonies is quite fascinating. Mark Babatunde in his article titled 7 Most Fascinating Traditional African Baby Naming Ceremonies, describes the naming ceremony of a new baby among many African communities as one of the most important rites of passage in life as it announces the birth of a newborn, introduces the child to his or her extended family and the larger community, and above all, it confers on a child name.  According to the Sweet Mother International organization, birth and child naming are the very substance that weaves the thread, binding us into something larger than ourselves, towards which all of humanity gravitates.

Different African Sociology Scholars have described child birth and naming as joyful communal affairs, quite universal and persistent across generations. However, traditions vary with a given community, time and region. The two events have great significance for life perpetuation of the community in the future. As the new generation can offer that support to the old generation when they need support in old age. 

Giraffe naming process is not new at AFEW Kenya – Giraffe Centre as it started way back in 1979 at the time when the idea of saving the Rothschild’s giraffes from western Kenya was born. Betty Leslie Melville, the co-founder of AFEW Kenya named the first two young giraffes brought to their property in Lang’ata, Nairobi as Daisy and Marlon. Daisy was named after her favorite flower ‘Daisy” which grew abundantly within her home compound. From 1979 – 2017, all giraffes born or brought to Giraffe Centre were given names of people from different parts of the world who in one way or another have made a major contribution to AFEW’s conservation work. 

However, from 2017 this naming process was changed in favour of adopting a universal giraffe naming system. The new naming system use Kiswahili names of flowers and trees.  With the adoption of the new naming system, female giraffes are named after flowers while male giraffes are named after trees to represent their femininity and masculinity nature respectively. Active involvement of the general public has been at the core of this process. Members of general public are allowed to suggest or choose their most preferred giraffe name through AFEW’s social media platforms.

Just like in traditional African society, when a child is born, midwife normally announces the birth of the newborn child to the larger community. In most instances, the parents hold celebrations in appreciation to the creator for the gift of a newborn. Many people in the community including relatives, friends and neighbors will from time to time come to celebrate and rejoice with the family. They also bring different gifts for the mother and newborn child. Offering gifts to the newborn is done among African communities as a way of showing love, friendship and blessings to the child, mother and community

AFEW – Giraffe Centre would like to invite the general public in the virtual naming of three female giraffe calves. This event will be held on Monday, June 21st, 2021 as part of commemorating the World Giraffe Day which is normally marked every year on June 21st. Feel free to follow the link below and join us in celebrating these giraffe calves. We would also like to appeal to the general public to make financial contributions as gifts towards celebrating milestones made towards saving Rothschild’s giraffe from silent extinction. Send contributions of at least KShs.1000 equivalent to USD 10 towards this worth cause. All proceeds will go towards giraffe welfare management and eventual return to the wild of the young giraffes once they attain the recommended giraffe translocation age by Kenya Wildlife Service.

Why should you participate in this giraffe naming programme?

  1. You will receive acknowledgement for your support/contribution with your name appearing on the list of sponsors during the naming ceremony.
  2. You will receive regular updates of the named giraffes from AFEW Kenya.
  3. You will be invited to witness the eventual translocation of the same giraffes from the Giraffe Centre to a selected suitable habitat as part of the reintroduction back to the world to increase the natural population of Rothschild’s giraffes in Kenya.

To support the conservation of the Rothschild Giraffe, use this link to the platform to use for sending your contribution.