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David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage-General information

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage-General information

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary for orphaned baby elephants nestled on the edge of Nairobi National Park, the orphanage also known as the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one of the perfect places to see elephants in Kenya. 

The orphanage is the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and its major role is to protect elephants and offer sanctuary to orphaned and injured elephants and rhinos.

In other words, The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a safe haven for baby elephants which are brought in scarred, emotional and traumatized. After months, sometimes years of teaching and care from the thoughtful, well – trained staff most of these Africa elephants are put back in the wild. 

Elephant orphanage Kenya
Elephant orphanage Kenya

The David Sheldrick was founded by Daphne Sheldrick and named it after her late husband who as a founding warden of Tsavo National Park and managed wildlife protection operations in Tsavo East. 

Currently, the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is run by the daughter of Daphne and David Sheldrick – Angela Shedrick. 

History of the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage was established 44 years ago in 1997, the Sheldrick Trust is a non-profit organization that runs one of the most successful elephant conservation and rehabilitation programmes globally with 263 elephants raised.

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

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

David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage’s mission is to stop poaching which is one of the biggest threats these animals face in the wild, so by guarding the habitats with aerial technology and raising awareness of the harm within society. The Orphanage successfully limits the biggest threats these animals face in the wild. 

He David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage provides immediate life-saving veterinary assistance to the animals which are wounded by the poachers  

Visiting The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage

 This spectacular wildlife center has become a major tourist attraction to visitors on a Kenya safari in Kenya as well as on a stopover in Nairobi city either on a safari or a business stopover. Tourists can come and observe baby elephants and the occasional rhinos play and be fed by the handlers between 11 am and 12 pm. 

Entrance fee to the orphanage is USD 20, you are required to book to get a spot in advance and they sell out quickly.

At the orphanage, there is a gift shop on site where you can also set up fostering 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. 

There are two types of visits available at The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage that is 

  • Public Visit – attend during the public visiting hour which takes place every day at 11:00 AM except Christmas. To arrange a public visit, you must book a spot for each group member on the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Official website. Normally, the dates are released approximately three months in advance. Therefore, you should keep an eye on when your preferred date is approaching and be ready to book it on the day it is released, particularly if you are visiting on a weekend since these slots usually get taken first. 
  • Private Visit – The second type of visiting The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is arranging, only one group is allowed a private visit per day therefore availability is low compared to the demand which is high. 

The private visit takes place at 3:00 PM during a scheduled feed time for the orphan elephants. 

In the past, this second viewing of the day opened to those who had adopted an orphan. However, this process has changed in the last few years. 

Private viewing costs USD 1,000 for a group of 1 to 10 people and it can be arranged through your trusted tour operator or by contacting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Orphanage. 

Booking for a private visit carries a cancellation fee of 50% of 11 to 20 days out and 100% for less than 10 days out. 


The David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphanage Nursery is open daily for visitors only from 11 am to 12 pm (for only one hour), members of the public may choose to Foster specific baby Elephants in the Nursery and may be granted access to visit the nursery during late afternoon hours. 

Adding The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage on Kenya Adventure 

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage can be combined with an early morning game drive in Nairobi National Park which is the closest national park to any capital city in the world and is home to four out of the African Big Five. 

Once you have visited the elephants at the orphanage, the next popular stop is the Nairobi Giraffe Center where you can interact with endangered Rothschild giraffe and get a chance to hand feeding them from a raised viewing deck. 

Visiting these three wildlife sites makes up a full day of safari in Nairobi City

FAQ – The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage 

How to adopt an elephant at the Elephant Sanctuary Nairobi?

You can adopt an orphaned elephant during your visit to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, you will be given an information booklet, adoption certificate and a printed oil painting by Angela Sheldrick. 

Also, you can adopt an orphaned elephant online of $35 a year. However, you will not receive the primate documents. 

What to wear to Elephant Sanctuary in Nairobi?

While on a visit to the David Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary, wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes as it gets dusty and muddy and quite warm. Also, bring a hat to protect yourself from the sun. 

Note: avoid wearing white clothing as the elephants may splash mud during their bath time. 

How much is the entry fee for Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage?

For public visits to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the entrance fee is $ 20 or 1,500 Kenyan shilling for all visitors over 12 years and $ 5 or 500 Kenyan Shillings for those under 12 years old.

Note: though you book online, the fees are paid in cash upon arrival 

What time is feeding at the Elephant Orphanage Nairobi?

Feeding time for the elephants at The David Sheldrick Elephant orphanage during the public visit takes place at 11:00 Am daily, arrive at the orphanage is at 10: 30 AM to avoid the rush and secure a good spot to view the feeding and mud bath.  

What is the best time to visit the animal orphanage in Nairobi?

The best time to visit the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is during the set visiting hours which start at 11:00 AM.

Plan your visit a head making sure you have a free morning in Nairobi to fully enjoy the experience and see elephants feed and play in the mud bath.  

Book your Kenya Safari with a visit to The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage with Jewel Safaris

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