10 Best Places To See Giraffe On Safari
Giraffe are one of Africa’s most mesmerising animals. Spotting a head peering over the top of an acacia tree or admiring the effortless ease with which they canter across the plains never fails to delight. They are rarer than many would think, with current estimates suggesting around 111,000 individuals – a drop of nearly 45,000 from the mid 1980s. Split into four distinct sub-species, they can be seen in a variety of locations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
- Where can I see the biggest giraffe herds?
- Where can I see reticulated giraffe?
- Where can I see Masai giraffe?
- Where can I take young children to see giraffe up close for a few hours?
- Where can I see giraffe up close?
- Where can I see giraffes with the Big 5?
- Where can I horse ride with giraffe?
- Where can I see a giraffe on a walking safari?
- Where can I see desert giraffe?
- What giraffe charities are there?
1. Where can I see the biggest giraffe herds?
You can see groups of up to 50 giraffe in northern Selous, Tanzania, and Murchinson Falls National Park, Uganda. Back to Top
Northern Selous, Tanzania
The Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is perhaps the closest Tanzania gets to a true wilderness paradise, a fantastically large, remote region – the size of Switzerland and the biggest reserve in East Africa – and with plenty of water, opening up a whole range of activities other parks can only dream of.
Stay at Beho Beho where open plan stone and thatch cottages offer glorious views over the landscape beyond, or opt for Bailey’s Banda, still part of Beho Beho and close to the camp, but a lovely private house for those seeking exclusivity and privacy. As well as wildlife drives guests can go on walking safaris, sleep out under the stars in a tree house or take a boat trip on Lake Tagalala, and swim in the nearby hot springs.
Murchison Falls, Uganda
View Rothschild’s giraffe, at Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area. The park is famous as one of the best places to see the extraordinary shoebill as well as a diverse selection of mammals and birds.
2. Where can I see reticulated giraffe?
Northern Kenya is home of the reticulated giraffe, the most distinctive and handsome of the species, with polygonal patches divided by a neat grid of bright white lines. You can see them in Meru and Samburu Buffalo Springs in Kenya.
Meru National Park, Kenya
With only a couple of safari camps, Meru is little-visited and you’re unlikely to encounter many other vehicles here. It is one of the most rewarding of all Kenya’s National Parks and certainly a great part of any safari. All the large mammals are found in Meru and, with a bit of luck, you can spot the ‘Big Five’ of lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant, but that’s not really what you come here to see. More rewarding is to search out the ‘northern five’ of gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx and Somali ostrich.
Stay at Elsa’s Kopje which takes its name from the orphaned lioness Elsa in the film Born Free. One of the most elegant lodges in Kenya, this lovely property has nine suites, and a honeymoon suite, all offering grand views of the park. Wildlife drives, guided walks, rafting on Tana River, and fishing are all possible here. If you’re after total privacy then nearby Elsa’s Private House would be a great choice.
Samburu-Buffalo Springs, Kenya
For many travellers Samburu is the highlight of a Kenya safari. It’s a wild and beautiful place, and wildlife is easy to spot in the parched landscape. There are large herds of elephant and plenty of buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe and zebra, and also dry-country rarities such as gerenuk, which reach tender shoots by standing on two legs. There’s rarely much grass cover so lion, leopard and cheetah are relatively easy to spot, and the banks of the river Ewaso Ngiro, with its large shady trees, provide plenty of excellent vantage points as the wildlife gathers at the water for an evening drink.
Stay at Moroccan style Sasaab, set on a ridge over the Ewaso Ngiro River and with views of Mount Kenya, where every now and again the pool is used as a water hole by wildlife. Activities here include wildlife drives and walks, day trips to the Samburu reserve for its large herds of elephants and endangered Grevy’s zebra, mountain biking, camel riding, spa and cultural village visits. Back to Top
3. Where can I see Masai giraffe?
The Masai is the most widespread species of giraffe found in Kenya and Tanzania and is famous for its irregular coat pattern of blotches on a yellow fawn background.
Chyulu Hills, Kenya
If it is views of Kilimanjaro you want then you have to stay in the Chyulu Hills. A wide variety of wildlife can be found in this area but due to low rainfall it is a little sparser than in other regions. It may take a little longer to find them than in the Masai Mara, but you might see gerenuk, hyena, bat eared foxes, lion, huge old tusker elephant, jackal, wild dog and large numbers of zebra, wildebeest, Masai giraffe and other antelope in wonderful privacy and absolutely stunning scenery.
Stay at Ol Donyo Lodge where each of the ten guest suites has its own rooftop sundowner or ‘star bed’ to enjoy the dramatic views over the plains and Mount Kilimanjaro. There are two family cottages which have space for four and their own pool. Enjoy beautiful walks as well as day and night wildlife drives, fantastic horse riding, and and mountain biking. Another great option for the more adventurous is to camp out on the plains under the stars.
Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
The Mara Nabiosho Conservancy – a private 50,000 acre wildlife conservation area adjacent to the Masai Mara Reserve – hosts an impressive amount of wildlife, including what is considered to be the greatest density of giraffe anywhere in Africa. Among other wildlife thriving here are healthy populations of elephant, buffalo, zebra, hyena, and lion. The number of guests within the conservancy is strictly limited so you will never find a queue of vehicles huddled around a sighting. Not restricted by rules with in the Masai Mara Reserve itself, visitors here can enjoy off-road day and night wildlife drives, walking safaris and fly camping.
Naboisho Camp is a great place to stay, and since the conservancy is a partnership between local people and the safari camp operators your visit directly benefits the community.
Known by the Masai as the ‘endless plains’ the Serengeti is filled with grazing species, including giraffe, topi, hartebeest, impala and Grant’s gazelle, alongside huge herds of buffalo and plenty of elephant. All these herbivores provide a rich and varied diet for predators and in the Serengeti you get them all. There are lion aplenty, leopard and cheetah as well as smaller species such as serval cat. Unusually, all three species of African jackal are found here, along with spotted hyena. There are aardvark and also aardwolf, a rare and delightful species which dines on the endless termite mounds dotted across the Serengeti.
Stay at Singita Explore Camp, a private mobile camp located in the Singita Grumeti Reserve. Designed to offer guests a true wilderness experience in complete luxury, there are no set camp sites; rather location is selected for the very best wildlife viewing and scenery for the time of year.
The camp has just six large tents, each luxuriously appointed with uninterrupted views across the grassy plains. All have en-suite bathrooms with bucket showers and all the little touches synonymous with the Singita brand. The comfortable main mess area and open fire provide the focal point of camp and the perfect place to relax, enjoy a G&T and chat about the day’s adventures. Back to Top
4. Where can I take young children to see giraffe up close for a few hours?
The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya (Giraffe Centre), Nairobi, Kenya
Commonly known as the Giraffe Centre this charity was founded to provide free environmental education to the Kenyan youth, and aid the conservation of endangered species. In doing so it gives visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with endangered Rothschild giraffes at its sanctuary in Nairobi.
Giraffes amble right over to you to snack on peanut pellets from your hand. If getting licked by a foot-long tongue and hit with musky giraffe breath isn’t your idea of fun, there’s also a café, a gift shop and a tortoise pen. Back to Top
5. Where can I see giraffe up close?
Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya
With ten rooms and two family suites, this luxury house-turned hotel in the Karen suburb of Nairobi is a great place for a night before or after safari proper. Resident Rothschild giraffes join guests for breakfast or can be fed from your bedroom window. Cheeky giraffes have also been known to try and squeeze into the foyer.
Guests can feed and photograph the giraffes and the warthogs at the Manor, and also wander through the adjoining primeval forest to view the bushbuck, dik dik, and more than 180 species of birds. Back to Top
6. Where can I see giraffes with the Big 5?
Kruger, South Africa
The wildlife in the Kruger is almost overwhelming, especially in the well-watered south around the Sabi River. The best sightings are probably around the Sabi Sands region as this is where you will also find good rhino populations. It’s a fabulous area to quickly spot the ‘Big Five’ of lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.
Chitwa Chitwa’s stunning location in the Sabi Sands offers a great chance to see leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, hyena – and if you are lucky, the elusive wild dog. Eight luxury suites overlook the nearby lake which is a popular water hole for a wealth of wildlife. Chitwa Chitwa offers guests the chance view the abundant wildlife on morning and evening drives, or bush walks. Back to Top
7. Where can I horse ride with giraffe?
Okavango Delta, Botswana
For experienced equestrians, a riding safari with African Horseback Safaris in the Okavango Delta affords a unique way to glimpse this wildlife hotspot. Cantering through the delta floodwaters alongside giraffes is a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. Accommodation with African Horseback Safaris is in a classic safari style twin bedded Meru tents. Each has an adjoining bathroom, as well as a spacious verandah with armchairs overlooking the flood plain. At the heart of the camp there is a large furnished dining tent and tucked away in the trees is a small plunge pool on its own deck. Though this is for confident riders, we can also offer options for novice riders wishing to ride out with giraffes. Back to Top
8. Where can I see a giraffe on a walking safari?
South Luangwa, Zambia
You’re never that far from the wildlife in the South Luangwa – it’s one of Africa’s finest wildlife areas with more than 60 animal species and at least 400 different types of bird. When you see a lion, others won’t be far behind as here they tend to roam in prides of up to 30. It’s also home to the Thornicoft giraffe, a sub-species found only in the South Luangwa.
Stay at Chinzombo Camp, one of the finest in Zambia, where the six private villas with lovely views over the Luangwa River provide a wonderful base for exploring the park on day and night drives. Walking safaris are available too, or you could just watch the wildlife from the comfort of the open plan lounge.
Camel supported walks can be arranged in many parts of Kenya such as the Laikipia region, or in lesser travelled areas such as the Mathews Range to the north of Mount Kenya. Giraffes are seen in good numbers in these areas and when walkers are alongside the camels, the giraffes are happy to allow them to get really close.
The mobile camp used by Karisia is very comfortable with walk-in traditional style safari tents. Each tent is furnished with a large mattress on the floor and a table, chair and basin outside. Behind each tent is a loo and a bucket shower, which is filled with hot water upon request. Meals are freshly prepared each day with hand chosen local produce and meats, and all of the cooking is done on a camp fire. Walking through the Kenyan bush with one of Karisia’s expert guides allows guests to experience the smaller things often missed from a vehicle – the tracks, the plants, the sounds, the smells.
9. Where can I see desert giraffes?
Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia
Namibia may not have quite the populations of wildlife as its near neighbours, but its desert adapted species are quite astonishing. Elephant, rhino, giraffe, oryx and springbok are among those that have developed to cope with the harsh conditions here. Footage taken near Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp featured in the BBC David Attenborough “Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants.”
Hoanib camp sits unobtrusively in its surroundings, overlooking a small waterhole which is occasionally visited by elephant, oryx and other animals. There are seven twin tents and one family unit, each of which is comfortably appointed and has en-suite facilities. The tents are raised on short stilts with a private, shaded outdoor lounge which is a perfect spot for relaxing in between activities. The camp has a lounge, bar area, dining room, library, fire pit, plunge pool and deck. Guests can experience walking and vehicle safaris. Hoanib also offers a flying visit to the Skeleton Coast if you stay three nights or longer.
10. What giraffe charities are there?
Giraffes are endangered – loss of habitat and poaching for bush meet – has led to numbers plummeting in some areas. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation featured in the BBC documentary, Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants is a leading international charity dedicated to giraffe conservation and management in the wild. Back to Top
If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.
We would be delighted to help you plan a giraffe safari, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.