HomeGame parks & ReservesThe David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

This blog post has taken me ages to write. I have a pretty relaxed attitude towards blogging and if it weren’t for my boss this would probably have been up at the end of the week. I had to get Jess to help out with this post. Thank you Jess.

David_Sheldrick_entrance Entrance to the park

Up till a few years back, I didn’t know that one could see elephants in Nairobi. Elephants being the biggest land mammals tend to require a lot of room so mature elephants aren’t found in small parks like Nairobi or Nakuru. (Jess)

David_Sheldrick_visitor_registrationVisitors registration point.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was established in 1977 to honour to memory of a famous Naturalist,David Leslie William Sheldrick MBE. 

David_Sheldrick_plaquePlaque identifying an orphan elephant.



Sadly, this year Kenya’s elephant population has greatly reduced due to increase in poaching of these mammals for their beautiful tusks. Many baby elephants are left orphaned and lacking source of provision since they are pretty dependent on their mother’s milk. Luckily, this is where DSWT comes in; they take in the orphaned elephants and give them all the care and love they deserve.



David_Sheldrick_up_closeThe elephants stay in the orphanage until they are 4 years old. It is at that point that they are then transported to Tsavo.





David_Sheldrick_feeding_upcloseCalf drinking milk

The elephant calves are fed on baby formula. SMA to be precise. They guzzle that stuff down, I am sure the orphanage goes through like a tonne of that stuff. On average calves in the wild drink about 10L of milk daily. They are fed every 3 hrs.





David_Sheldrick_close_upOnce over the Nursery stage, and in Tsavo, the orphans begin their long and gradual re-integration back into the wild elephant community. The DSWT website (http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/) is full of useful information if you want to learn more about the trust and the orphans. You can also foster a baby elephant for as little as $50 per year.



David_Sheldrick_keeper_walks_calfskeeper walking calves away.


David_Sheldrick_elephant_play_groundThe David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is inside the Nairobi National Park. It is easily accessible via public transport. Just get matatu number  125 heading to Rongai and get off at the KWS Workshop gate which is off Magadi Road. From there it’s a bit of a walk but it is not too far.The orphanage can also be accessed by vehicle using the same route .



David_Sheldrick_strollEntrance fee (or minimum contribution as they call it) is ksh.500 ($6) for everyone regardless whether you are a citizen or not.



David_Sheldrick_elephant_quaters_interiorInside of the elephant quarters.

The calves sleep in the same place with their keepers. Keepers rotated so that the calves don’t get depressed when the keeper is away.




Elephant calves are adorable. One of my favorite bits was watching them run into the enclosure for their milk.While watching them feed one of the keepers talks about the orphans giving you basic information about them. He has got a mic-but it’s not easy to hear him over the chatter and if I’m honest I wasn’t paying attention coz I was too busy watching the elephants.




I’ve got a bit of a confession, for the longest time I thought an elephants’ ear canal was behind its ear flap…now I know better.

Jess and IJess and I.

We got there late (thanks to Jess). You can only visit the orphanage from 11am-12pm daily. They have 2 groups of orphans, the younger lot and the slightly older ones. You get to see the elephants in that order. I’d advise one to get there early so that you have a nice spot to view the elephants. It doesn’t get too crowded but if you’re short then showing up late will do you no good.

All in all, the trip was well worth the donation fee.

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  1. marto
    July 23, 2013 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    LOL, I love the image 4th from bottom of the calves running for milk.

  2. December 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm — Reply

    Beautiful post about beautiful animals, they always seen so vulnerable to me despite their enormous size.

  3. Waridi
    June 9, 2014 at 3:33 pm — Reply

    I love how natural you are Rachael. Thanks for sharing yourself with each adventure. I was late for my Sheldrick visit, at least Gatuiri tried, (Hehehe) but al sure keep time next time.
    Thank you.

  4. […] attraction, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, is also located inside the park. If you’d like to catch elephant calves being fed, you can visit […]

  5. April 4, 2015 at 10:19 am — Reply

    […] calves may consume 11.4 litres of milk a day. As a minimum, the African elephant calf is entirely […]

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