Nairobi Elephant Orphanage and Ithumba are our first stops in Kenya. We sponsor two babies, Kandecha and Ngasha from the orphanage and this is the reason we plan our trip to Kenya.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust owns the nursery where they care and rehabilitate the baby orphans so they have a chance of living a life in the wild. Elephants in Kenya are orphaned mainly because of poaching, human conflict and falling down wells.
The babies need highly specialised intensive care. The keepers are surrogate mothers and spend 24 hours a day with the orphans, even sleeping with them. The young babies need feeding every 2-3 hours and it is essential they are kept warm and have company. This all involves huge dedication, devotion and lots of money.
The orphans stay here at the nursery until they are ready to transfer to the trust’s release sites at Ithumba or Voi in Tsavo National Park. This is when they are about five years old but varies for each individual. Some will need more time before they are ready for the next stage of their rehabilitation.
Ngasha and the others love to play in the red dirt and throw it all over themselves. Now three years old, he arrived at the nursery in 2012. When only seven months old, the tiny baby caused a commotion when found disorientated and frightened while wandering a town. Thankfully the townspeople reported him, and he was saved by the trust.
Kandecha our other sponsored elephant is now five years old and has left the nursery to begin the next stage of his rehabilitation with other orphans of similar size at Ithumba.
Nairobi Elephant Orphanage is open at 11 am to the public for an hour. The babies drink giant bottles of milk, play in the dirt and interact with their keepers and each other. Exuberance and excitement fill the air and the babies have so much fun. We stand behind the ropes but sometimes babies come close and feel us with their little trunks!
Sponsor a baby elephant at Nairobi Elephant Orphanage
For just $50 a year you can adopt an orphan and the money goes directly to the project. You receive an adoption certificate, regular updates by email and a watercolour painting of the adopted elephant. Sponsors also have a chance to visit and stay at Ithumba. The sanctuary in Tsavo National Park is where the babies spend the next stage of rehabilitation. When ready they are slowly released back into the wild. You can make a difference to the plight of these babies.
Sponsors of babies can arrange a special night visit to the Elephant Orphanage between 5 pm and 6 pm to see the babies put to bed for the night. The babies each have an individual stable they share with their keepers. Being is one of the most special jobs in the world!
The entrance fee is 500 Kenyan Shillings (about $6.00).
If you have a tour or safari booked through an operator, ask them to include the Elephant Orphanage with your tour or you can get a taxi.
Our driver and guide was Martin Maina from Nairobi Specialist