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Celebrating the Giraffe

 
A safari is one of the most rewarding holidays for families. It is the chance to spend quality time together, to share unique experiences. The giraffe is one of Africa’s most spectacular mammals. Shy in nature, you may first glimpse just a head above the tree line – their stature makes it impossible to hide – as they watch you respectfully approach.

We have collated some fascinating giraffe facts along with the best places in Africa to see them up close.
giraffe above trees in front of sunset

FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES

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FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES

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FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES

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FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES

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FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES

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1. Giraffe are the tallest of all land animals – from the moment they are born, they are already taller than you and I.

2. A giraffe's tongue is blue-black in colour to prevent it from getting sunburnt. It can grow up to 18 inches in length.

3. There are two collective nouns for giraffe: standing still, we call them a ‘tower’, and on the move a ‘journey’.

4. Giraffe have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
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5. A giraffe will usually only sleep for about 12 minutes at a time.

6. Just like human fingerprints, no two individuals have the same coat pattern.

7. Giraffes have the highest known blood pressure of any creature on earth.

8. There is only one species of giraffe – with nine subspecies that are identified by their patterns.
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9. Giraffe eat up to 75 pounds of food per day.

10. A giraffe’s neck is not long enough to reach the ground. So, to drink they spread their front legs in a yoga-esque pose to reach the water.

11. A giraffe’s foot is around 12 inches in diameter - that’s approximately the size of a dinner plate.

12. A giraffe’s favourite food is the acacia leaf. Males and females will browse on different parts of the tree, so they don’t compete for food.
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13. Giraffe’s bodies had to adapt to cope with their long legs and necks. They are so unique that NASA carried out research on giraffe to help develop their space suits!

14. Male giraffe participate in neck wrestling to establish dominance in a herd.

15. Giraffe very rarely lie down – they eat and even give birth standing up.
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Giraffe on the lawn at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi
Giraffe on the lawn at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi
 
Giraffe Manor is a beautiful manor house, built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, situated in 140 acres of lush forested land in the Nairobi suburb of Karen. For many years, the manor was a private home and became famous for its resident Rothschild giraffe, which have been bred in the grounds since five babies were relocated there in the 1970s. When you stay at Giraffe Manor, you can enjoy feeding these beautiful mammals from the second-floor bedroom windows or even the breakfast table.
 
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A giraffe’s ability to go without water has allowed them to adapt to life in the desert. Yet, to spot one in this arid environment is still an unusual experience, as the BBC’s Africa series displayed in dramatic style. In the desert the scarcity of food and females, combined with the presence of their greatest predator, the lion, offers the chance to observe the unique power of these magnificent mammals as they fight for survival.
 
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Lewa Downs is a 62,000-acre conservancy, home to a diverse array of wildlife and set amidst some of Kenya's most spectacular scenery. Lewa Wilderness is one of Kenya’s oldest private safari lodges; for 40 years guests have been coming to this remarkable region to be part of an adventure like no other. One of the most exciting ways to explore Lewa is on horseback, when you can enjoy the unique experience of riding alongside giraffe that are undisturbed by your presence, as they regard you as part of the horse.
 
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There is just one species of giraffe, with nine subspecies. The elegant Thornicroft is endemic to Zambia’s South Luangwa, where it is estimated that a population of around 500 exists. Pioneered by the legendary Norman Carr in the 1950s, the South Luangwa is the birthplace of the walking safari. Over the course of a week, you can combine two or three fabulous bush camps on an exhilarating walking safari, the perfect opportunity to encounter this unique subspecies on foot.
 
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Their extraordinary size and beautiful markings make spotting just one giraffe an exciting experience. So, imagine encountering a herd of over fifty. Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, in the remote south of the country, is one of the best places in Africa to see herds of this size. The Selous is vast and wonderfully wild. In the north of the reserve, a haven for wildlife, sits Sand Rivers, one of just a handful of superb safari lodges, from which you can explore in privacy by vehicle, boat and on foot.
 
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