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Giraffe
Asset 7

Giraffe

Giraffes in Africa

Giraffes tower above the bush in many African parks and conservation areas. These extraordinary herbivores boast many unique qualities, most famously that of being the world’s tallest land mammal.


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Quick facts about Giraffe

Scientific name: Giraffa camelopardalis Habitat: Woodland savanna
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 800–1,200kg

Some taxonomists recognise nine species of giraffe while others believe they are subspecies, and others again contend that these varieties – which differ in details of their blotchy patterning – are simply different geographical races of a single species.

All giraffes share the same key features, namely, their prodigious height, with long legs and the world’s longest neck; a tasselled tail; and two bony, horn-like ossicones on top of the head.

Giraffes’ markings provide effective camouflage in savanna woodland, where they can browse higher than other herbivores. Their extreme anatomy necessitates some extreme adaptations, including the largest heart of any land mammal, required to pump the blood to those distant extremities. Giraffes move in loose, single-sex herds, forming larger aggregations during the dry season.


5.88m

Max. height (male)

45cm

Length of tongue

±11kg

Weight of heart

60km/h

Max. speed

Africa's top camps for seeing giraffes

Based on 1520 reports by our travellers since Mar 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting giraffes. Simply follow the key below.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for giraffe

% of travellers who saw giraffe

Top 10 camps for giraffe

% of travellers who saw giraffe

Where to see giraffes in Africa

Giraffes occur in most major reserves across east and southern Africa, and their stature makes them easy to spot. The largest gatherings take place around waterholes during the dry season.


Top tips for viewing giraffe

You are highly unlikely to miss giraffes in any reserves where they occur. A quick scan often reveals their lofty profiles on the horizon or their pale ears conspicuous against the distant greenery. Up close, these vigilant but inquistive animals usually tolerate your approach – even, up to a point, on foot.

Larger gatherings form during the dry season, where at waterholes you can watch the drawn-out caution with which individuals prepare to drink. ‘Necking’ bouts, when males contest dominance with ritualised head swings, are equally enthralling.

Among the various subspecies, look out for the reticulated giraffe north of the equator in Kenya and the Thornicroft’s giraffe of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley.

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Holiday ideas to see giraffes

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good giraffe sightings


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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,670 - US$5,970 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,310 - US$3,400 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$4,830 - US$6,690 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,470 - US$15,070 per person

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Hartebeest Self-drive Safari

16 days • 8 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

This self-drive safari focuses on the best cultural experiences in Namibia. Visit a Himba village and enjoy three days living with the San Bushmen interspersed with some excellent wildlife watching.

US$3,530 - US$3,860 per person

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Our top destinations for giraffes

Click below for detailed information about giraffes in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.


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