Giraffes 101

giraffes in okavango delta

One of the most charming and impressive animals to come across on a safari is the giraffe. With their impossibly long legs, sweet faces, and unique patterns of spots, giraffe sightings make your African adventure all the more magical.

Amazing Facts About Giraffes

Giraffes eat leaves, particularly of the acacia tree. Because they are so tall, they don’t need to compete with smaller animals—they just eat off the highest branches.  Acacia trees have thorns that prevent most animals from consuming them, but giraffes’ 45 cm long tongues have adapted to be able to handle them.

Giraffes are large animals that may eat up to 75 pounds of food a day to maintain their energy levels. And because they only chow down on a few leaves with each bite, they spend most of their days eating— literally! They require some of the least amount of sleep out of any mammal, and spend only 10 minutes to two hours snoozing each day!

Drinking from watering holes requires bending down in an awkward and vulnerable position for, making it easier for predators to attack them. Luckily, giraffes receive most of their hydration from the juicy acacia leaves they spend all day nibbling on.

Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth, at 18 feet tall! Just their necks alone are 600 pounds in weight and six feet in height. Even baby giraffes are born six feet tall. When they are birthed, the mother is standing up and the calf drops about six feet to the ground. But don’t worry, the babies are fine from the fall. They can actually stand within just a half hour after being born, and run alongside their family after only ten hours.

Where to See Giraffes and Your Unique African Safari Package

Kruger National Park—South Africa: The open woodlands of Kruger, paired with the highly skilled safari guides, increase your odds of spotting a giraffe in the park. Private reserves bordering the area mean you will be completely immersed in nature, making it even more likely you’ll come across a variety of wildlife. Our 10 day Kruger Victoria Falls and Okavango African safari package makes for the perfect trip, especially if you’re eager to see a six foot neck!

Selous Game Reserve—Tanzania: The shores near the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve are often referred to as “Giraffe Park” because there are so many giraffes in the area. Visit between June and October to see herds of giraffe moving along the riverbanks as well at plenty of other exotic wildlife. Our Grand Tour of Tanzania package includes three days in Selous, which is right next to Rufiji River Camp.

Etosha National Park—Namibia: Namibia’s bleak landscape is actually a positive feature when it comes to spotting giraffes. Because of its flat plains and minimal amounts of water, you can usually count on finding a cluster of wildlife at the few watering holes.

Etosha has tons of acacia trees in large open spaces, meaning giraffes are as visible as it gets. Take a look at our Best of Namibia African safari package for a two-night stay at Andersson’s Camp just south of Etosha in the Ongava Game Reserve. A floodlit waterhole at the camp means you can spot wildlife all day and night. For more information on our safari adventures, contact us at Roho Ya Chui today!

Jill Liphart for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa

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