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Where to see Giraffe in South 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.


Max. height (male)


Length of tongue


Weight of heart


Max. speed

The top camps for seeing giraffe in South Africa

Based on 32 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in South Africa have the best chances of sighting giraffe.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

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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 inquisitive 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.


Our best South Africa holidays for giraffe sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for South Africa safaris are likely to give the best giraffe sightings

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations

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$3,320 - US$3,810 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations

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$14,400 - US$18,280 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,240 - US$18,020 per person

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

US$2,860 - US$4,440 per person

View all holidays to South Africa

More information about giraffe in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about giraffe in other countries, including the places for sighting giraffe.

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