Nestled in the heart of Nairobi National Park, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Elephant Orphanage stands as a beacon of hope for orphaned elephants in Africa. Established in 1977, the orphanage has since rescued and rehabilitated hundreds of young elephants, providing them with a second chance at life in the wild. In this blog, we delve into the history, purpose, and impact of the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, and learn how it contributes to the conservation and welfare of Africa’s majestic elephants.

History and Purpose::

David Sheldrick was a pioneer game warden who had done much to combat poaching

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded by Dame Daphne Sheldrick in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick, a pioneering conservationist and the founding warden of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. Their lifelong dedication to protecting Africa’s wildlife led to the establishment of the Elephant Orphanage, which has since become a renowned sanctuary for orphaned elephants and other endangered species. The orphanage is home to dozens of orphaned elephants, many of whom were rescued from the wild after being separated from their mothers due to poaching, human-wildlife conflict, or natural causes.. The elephants are cared for by a team of dedicated keepers,  veterinarians, and conservationists who provide round-the-clock care, including feeding, bathing, and medical treatment.

Rehabilitation Process:

elephant orphanage

Each elephant at the orphanage undergoes a carefully tailored rehabilitation process. The first stage is focused on stabilizing the orphan’s health, both physically and emotionally. The keepers offer the elephants a nutritious milk formula, developed by Dame Daphne herself, and round-the-clock care to ensure their well-being.

As the elephants grow and develop, they are gradually reintegrated into wild herds in Tsavo National Park. The process can take several years, as the elephants learn essential survival skills and form bonds with their new family. Ultimately, the goal is for the orphans to return to the wild, living as free and independent elephants.

Visitor Experience:

The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage offers a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the incredible work done by the DSWT team. Each day, the orphanage hosts a public visiting hour, during which tourists can observe the elephants playing, feeding, and interacting with their keepers. Through these interactions, visitors gain a deeper understanding of elephant behavior and the importance of conservation efforts. Rustic Nature Tours offers daily tours to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage at an affordable price. You get a perfect up-close interaction with the baby elephants.

Conservation and Education:

The DSWT’s work goes beyond the care of orphaned elephants. The organization is committed to the conservation of wildlife habitats and the fight against poaching. The Trust operates anti-poaching units and aerial surveillance teams to protect wildlife and support local communities.

Furthermore, the DSWT emphasizes the importance of education in fostering a sustainable future for wildlife. The Trust runs community outreach programs and works with local schools to teach children about the value of conservation and their role in protecting their natural heritage.


The David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage is a testament to the unwavering dedication of conservationists working to protect Africa’s elephants. Through their rescue, rehabilitation, and reintroduction efforts, the DSWT offers hope for a brighter future for these gentle giants. As visitors to the orphanage, we can contribute to this mission by spreading awareness, supporting the DSWT’s work, and advocating for the conservation of elephants and their habitats

If you’re ever in Nairobi, be sure to join Rustic Nature Tours in visiting the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and see for yourself the incredible work being done to protect Kenya’s elephants.