Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, at a Glance

Nestled on the edge of Nairobi National Park lies a sanctuary for orphaned baby elephants, victims of the ivory poaching trade. The Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage rescues and rehabilitates elephants from all over Kenya.

Every day at 11 am, baby elephants hurtle out of the acacia forest into a muddy watering hole area to meet their keepers for feeding time. 

Tummies full, the calves resort to rolling in the mud, spraying murky water in the air and playing amongst themselves. For one precious hour, you can watch them from the sidelines before they wander back into the woodlands. The keepers on-site will teach you all about the work of the orphanage, and the importance of their conservation efforts.

If you adopt an elephant, you are invited to come back in the evening between 5 and 6 pm when the calves return to their stalls, where you will then have the chance to learn more about conservation and see the cosy stable they share with their keeper.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage

Where does the Orphanage fit into your Kenyan Adventure?

The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage combines well with an early morning game drive in Nairobi National Park, the closest national park to any capital city and home to four out of the Big Five. 

Once you have visited the elephants, a popular next stop is the Nairobi Giraffe Centre, where you can interact with the endangered Rothschild giraffe, hand feeding them from a raised viewing deck. 

The three excursions together make up a full day, and it is worthwhile planning an extra day in Nairobi to do them before or after your core trip across Kenya. 

Giraffe in African Fund for Endangered Wildlife giraffe centre


Established 44 years ago in 1977, the Sheldrick Trust is a non-profitthat runs one of the most successful elephant conservation and rehabilitation programmes globally, with 263 elephants raised.

Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick founded the orphanage in memory of her husband, David Sheldrick, who devoted his life to the conservation of nature and wildlife. He was one of the Tsavo National park founders and pioneered a milk formula for baby elephant and rhino calves. 

The sanctuary raises the elephants until they are no longer milk dependent and gradually introduces them back into the wild in Tsavo National Park. The scope of Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s work can be seen at a great range of Kenya’s National Parks: Covering the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area, Meru National Park and Mau Forest. 

The organisation’s crucial mission is tostop poachingone of the biggest threats these animals face in the wild.

By guarding the habitats with aerial technology and raising awareness of the harm within society, SWT successfully limits the threat these creatures face.

The foundation also provides immediate life-saving veterinary assistance to those wounded by poachers. 

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage

Visiting the Orphanage

The wildlife centre has become a major attraction for visitors in Nairobi. Tourists can come and observe baby elephants (and the occasional rhino) play and be fed by the handlers between 11 am and 12 pm. 

To enter the orphanage there is a $7 USD minimum donation payable in cash only, at the time of writing.

There is also a gift shop on site, where you can also set upfostering for the animal of choice. If you adopt an Elephant, you will also be invited to an exclusive visit between 5 and 6 pm, when the elephants get ready for bed.

We highly recommend pre-booking tickets and getting there early. The simplest way to arrive at the sanctuary is by taxi from Nairobi centre or with a guided tour.

You can also take the bus 125 or 126 from Moi Avenue to the KWS central workshop. This will leave you with a short walk to the sanctuary itself. 

If you book your adventure with us, all transfers and entrance fees will be taken care of for you. 

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage

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