Kenyans on Twitter came out to speak against the world-famous Giraffe Manor accusing the establishment of putting in place policies that block out Kenyans.
They blasted the management of the exclusive hotel on Twitter after the Safari Collection – which owns the establishment – seemingly said they were opening “just for Kenyans.”
Wildly popular with tourists and social media influencers from around the world, the backlash came after announcing its re-opening on Friday, June 5, after closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several Kenyans recounted discriminatory experiences with the hotel due to policies which are seen to be disadvantageous to Africans.
The hotel has been accused of currently targeting local tourists when they had previously shunned them, opting for international [White] visitors.
Apparently, Nairobi residents who previously sought to have breakfast at the hotel were informed of a policy that required them to pay up to 600 dollars (Ksh60,000) for unnecessary add-ons like an airport transfer, car and chauffeur.
The move to re-open without the policy in place was seen by the hotel’s critics as an attempt to make up for lost business by turning to Kenyans they previously discriminated against.
“Giraffe Manor wants you to pay for a breakfast package that includes airport transfers and you live in Nairobi and there’s nothing wrong with that? It is very obvious who their target audience is,” wrote Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) Director James Wamathai.
This policy was seen as a strategy to lock out Kenyans, as it was impractical for many city residents seeking breakfast or accommodation for a few nights to have to pay for an airport transfer.
Popular music publicist Anyiko Owoko memtioned that the Giraffe Manor only now needs Kenyans “because all your white rich guests can’t travel into your establishment because of the corona.”
In a long rant on her Instagram on Saturday June 6, the publicist went on to narrate an incident featuring a friend of hers with whom she had tried to book a stay at the hotel but was slapped with exorbitant rates.
“…we called your establishment to inquire if we could stay a night – there was no space available because you were booked out, completely understandable,” she wrote.
“But when we requested to come have breakfast and just see the giraffes we were slapped with an exorbitant rate [over 600 USD] which included a driver, chauffeur, airport transfer and a vehicle BUT when we requested to pay only for the breakfast and to see giraffes and not have to pay for the car and airport transfer because we are Kenyans and commuting from the city, your bookings department refused and said that we had to pay the full amount because it is your policy.”
She further urged fellow Kenyans to boycott the Giraffe Manor telling them they would not have been welcome there if it weren’t for the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anyiko told her fellow countrymen and women to instead visit the Nairobi National Park or the Maasai Mara which she commended for upholding the country’s heritage besides being relatively fair in their rates.
“For the longest time, your policy has been to have these type of pricing that only benefit non-Kenyans and tourists coming from outside Kenya. I wonder why all over sudden you are welcoming Kenyans into your establishment,” she added.
Anyiko’s story has since evoked mixed reactions from Kenyans on Twitter.
Giraffe Manor is one of the popular destinations in Kenya that has attracted backlash amongst Kenyans online for exorbitant prices as well as racist policies.
J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen on June 2019 became the butt of online rancor after one of its staff bluntly told a paying black customer that the establishment prefers whites customers.
A customer by the name Monique Kemboi wondered why she sometimes experiences racist bias at the establishment and yet the establishment is in Kenya.
“Sometimes I have experienced racial bias where they attend to Whites and Indians faster than Africans which is saddening because we are in Kenya and in 2019 people, this should not be an issue but noted,” she posted on Instagram.
J’s Fresh Bar and Kitchen, which has branches in Westlands and Karen, responded with a shocking reply.
“This exists all over Kenya not just J’s. It’s about tip culture not racism. All restaurant owners know this and it’s important to state the truth,” J’s staff responded.
The response has since been taken down by the establishment after it elicited a backlash.
The restaurant issued a statement on June 13, 2019 emphasizing their position on discriminatory behavior.
“Notices will placed in our establishments stating our zero tolerance policy to any form discriminatory behavior or harassment of any form whether this maybe from any member of staff, patrons or any external security services deployed,” part of the statement read.
Check out the social media reactions to Giraffe Manor below:
UPDATE: Tuesday June 9, 6.56pm: Giraffe Manor Issues Apology regarding critics who hit out at the destination for racist policies.