It has been almost a year since we visited the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Kenya, but having recently finished Dame Daphne Sheldricks autobiography Love Life & Elephants: An African Love story, it felt right to pay homage to this wonderful lady and her beloved husband David Sheldrick and the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.
We absolutely loved our time at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. But since reading Daphne Sheldricks book Love, Life and Elephants, it was clear we didn’t quite understand the heritage, the heartache and heroes that worked endlessly to create this remarkable conservation.
Love, Life & Elephants is a memoir of a great love between Daphne and David; to us it was the real Out of Africa love story. The story goes into great detail about life in Africa and brings to life what an upbringing would have entailed all those years ago.
The most remarkable and inspiring parts of the book are the stories told about both Daphne and David, who dedicated their life to protecting the wildlife of Kenya. Daphne ultimately creating the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in honour of David (and recently renamed to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust). The story details the ongoing battles had with poachers, corrupt politicians, researchers and over time, climate change.
It is a story that will fill you with a roller coaster of emotions and by the final page it was hard to not applaud these incredibly selfless and compassionate humans.
And in a time when our future is at the fate of a group of leaders lead by money, economy and politics, continuing to show a disconnect with our Great Mother Nature, it gives hope that the actions of a small group of individuals can make a difference.
History & Mission of Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded over 40 years ago by Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her husband, while working in Nairobi National Park.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) is most commonly known for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants, but the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust offers much more than this. Their conservation efforts focus on a holistic approach working on anti-poaching, protecting the natural environment, providing veterinary services for wild animals and also educating local communities about the protection of wildlife.
What to expect when you visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage
You are invited to visit the orphaned elephants at 11AM each day, which is their feeding time.
Expect lots of crowds, but once you make your way through the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust buildings, you will come out into an open area overlooking Nairobi National Park.
Guests are invited to stand around a large roped area to eagerly anticipate the arrival of the baby orphaned elephants. The presenter will introduce himself, the orphanage and will go into the details of the trusts mission.
During this stage, you may here a hurried stampeded and over the rolling hill, a number of baby elephants hurtling towards the feeding area. Each elephant has their own bottle of milk, which they know is theirs. There are varying ages and sizes of elephants, who have come from different herds.
The presenter will then share details of each of the orphans, their background and rehabilitation process. Some of the stories are upsetting, as you witness the raw impacts human inhabitants is having on the natural world.
Each orphaned elephant has their own caretaker, who will help feed them, provide love and play. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust do not take volunteers for this role, but instead recruit local men to help support communities and ensure a long standing relationship can be built for the orphaned elephant.
Once the elephants have been fed, they will stumble around, eating the leaves that caretakers have left to be found. Or they may enjoy a mud bath or a tumble with their beloved orphaned friends. If you are lucky enough, expect a little wandering trunk come your way to inspect you. You can pet and pat the elephants as they curiously walk by to their new observers.
Visiting Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The Sheldirck Wildlife Trust is one of the top attractions while visiting Nairobi. Although the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is based in Nairobi, their conservation efforts work across Kenya.
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust predominantly focus on the conservation of all wildlife, but they are most well known for their work with orphaned elephants. After reading the book, it was clear to understand why. The labour and love required to raise an orphaned elephant is complex and a life long commitment.
Where is the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage?
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphange is located in Nairobi, Kenya alongside to the Nairobi National Park. The orphanage is located just off Magadi Road.
You can reach the orphanage by taxi. Or depending on where you stay, you can walk to the orphanage too.
When can I visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage?
You can visit everyday, with the exception of Christmas Day. Visiting times are however, only during one hour of they day, from 11AM to Noon. Arrive early, but most days you can expect crowds of enthusiastic tourists who want to see the elephants.
What does it cost to visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage?
The cost of visit is 500KSH per person (around $5). Note that you can only pay cash or M-Pesa. All money paid is used to help maintain the conservation efforts by all of the amazing team at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Other things to consider while you visit
Stay quiet while observing the elephants to not cause alarm and also have a higher chance of the elephants coming to explore you.
Don’t crouch down, as baby elephants are quite clumsy, they may accidentally stand on a part of you.
How can you help the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the orphaned elephants?
While the David Sheldrick trust do not accept volunteers, due to the nature of looking after a baby elephant, there are still many ways in which you can help to help build awareness about the struggle African Elephants are facing.
- Adopt an orphaned elephant
- Join an or create event to build awareness and fund raise
- Take action: campaign for wildlife
Read more here about the ways you can help contribute to help the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.
We hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. Make sure you visit the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage while you are in Nairobi!
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