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Giraffes are the tallest land animal on earth and are easily recognized by everyone because of their extremely long neck and legs that make them stand out from all the animals.

From Julius Ceasar's Roman empire to some of our current movies and cartoons, giraffes are a true fascination for us humans, and seeing them on an African safari is always a treat.

In this article, we will look at some places all around Africa where you can go to see giraffes in the wild.

Where Do Giraffes Live In The Wild

Giraffes live in savannah and open woodland areas of Subsaharan Africa. Their range stretches from Chad to South Africa, and from Niger in the west to Somalia in the east.

As much as giraffes can live over a wide and favourable geographical range, their populations are very scattered in a few protected areas over this range.

selous game reserve zebra giraffes

The scientific classification of giraffe species is unclear, with some research suggesting up to 8 species and other sources sticking to a single species with 8 subspecies. For our purposes, we shall follow the classification recognized by the IUCN, of one giraffe species and 8 subspecies.

Since giraffes can be found in many places, you can go to any country of your choosing. In each of the countries, we'll offer our suggested place to visit.

Giraffes In Eastern Africa

1. Uganda

  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
  • Kidepo Valley National Park
  • Lake Mburo National Park

The best place to visit in Uganda for giraffes is Murchison Falls National Park because of the larger numbers. Murchison Falls National Park is popular for both locals and foreigners because of the abundant wildlife.

giraffe in murchison falls

Kidepo Valley is the second-best option for giraffes in Uganda where you will also be guaranteed a sighting. The advantage that kidepo might have on Murchison is the presence of zebras.

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and Lake Mburo National Park are popular because they have low numbers that were relocated there some years back. These giraffes are thriving in their new home and you will meet them when you are visiting even though the low numbers mean you have fewer guarantees.

2. Kenya

  • Meru National Park
  • Tsavo East National Park
  • Ruma National Park
  • Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Tsavo West National Park
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy
  • Amboseli National Park
  • Samburu National Park
  • Mount Longonot National Park
  • Masai Mara National Reserve
  • Chyulu Hills National Park
  • Nairobi National Park
  • Malka Mari National Park

Kenya has the most protected areas with giraffes and this is one of the reasons why it is an icon when it comes to wildlife safaris. With so many options, our recommendation is Masai Mara, especially during the migration.

giraffes in samburu national reserve

Another great alternative is Nairobi National Park, for the simple reason that it is just outside the city and even visitors on business can go and see wildlife in a quick afternoon.

3. Tanzania

  • Serengeti National Park
  • Arusha National Park
  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Lake Manyara National Park
  • Saadani National Park
  • Nyerere National Park
  • Mikumi National Park

Tanzania is another heavyweight when it comes to African wildlife safaris, and it has plenty of options where you can see giraffes in the wild. Our recommendation is Serengeti National Park and Selous Game Reserve.

giraffes and flamingos in manyara

The animal migrations of Serengeti are unmissable, however crowded they could be with tourists. Selous Game Reserve is another perfect option for those who want as little crowds of travellers as possible. 

Since most of the popular travel spots in the north of Tanzania have giraffes, any wildlife safari should be able to bring you eye-to-eye with giraffes in the wild.

4. Ethiopia

  • Abijatta-Shalla National Park
  • Awash National Park
  • Gambella National Park
  • Mago National Park
  • Nechisar National Park
  • Omo National Park

You can see giraffes in 6 of Ethiopia's National parks along with other wildlife such as zebras. Our recommendation is Abijatta-Shalla and Awash National Parks which are close to Addis Ababa - the Captial and also have great opportunities for birding, hiking and hot springs.

5. South Sudan

  • Bandingilo National Park
  • Boma National Park
  • Southern National Park
  • Kidepo Game Reserve

In South Sudan, giraffes can be found in 4 protected areas, and Boma National Park is the favourite place to visit. There is a wide variety of wildlife and birds in the unexplored African wilderness.

South Sudan's security situation means that safaris to the country are hard to plan and require extreme caution for safety.

Giraffes In Southern Africa

6. Zambia

  • Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
  • North Luangwa National Park

In Zambia, you can find giraffes in 3 national parks, which are all quite popular. Our recommended park for giraffes and wildlife in Zambia is Mosi-oa-Tunya (Smoke That Thunders) National Park.

Named after Victoria Falls - which it surrounds on the Zambian side of the border, Mosi-oa-Tunya is ideal because it is close to Victoria Falls which is an unmissable spot for a trip to Zambia.

7. Namibia

  • Etosha National Park
  • Ehirovipuka Conservancy
  • Khaudum National Park
  • Mudume National Park
giraffe in etosha

Giraffes can be found in 4 protected areas in Namibia and the best place to go is (of course), Etosha National Park. Besides the Saltpan that can be seen from space and the variety of wildlife, Etosha also boosts high numbers of animals, and they are very easy to find near the water.

8. Botswana

  • Chobe National Park
  • Nxai Pan National Park
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Khutse Game Reserve
  • Mokolodi Nature Reserve
  • Moremi Game Reserve
  • Okavango Delta

In Botswana, 7 protected areas are home to giraffes. These are all very popular parks and visiting any of them offers great opportunities to see giraffes in their wild habitat - as well as other animals.

Our recommendation is Chobe National Park where the numbers of wildlife are just unbelievable and the popular boat cruises are a magical experience.

9. Zimbabwe

  • Hwange National Park
  • Victoria Falls National Park
  • Kazuma Pan National Park
  • Lake Chivero Recreational Park
  • Matobo National Park

What most people don't know is how great of a safari destination Zimbabwe is and wildlife is one of its strong suits. With 6 National parks where you can see giraffes, the choice is up to you. 

Our recommendation is Victoria Falls National Park - which surrounds the Thundering Victoria Falls, on the Zimbabwe side of the border with Zambia.

Another great alternative is Hwange National Park because of the large numbers of wildlife such as elephants, lions, buffalos, and more.

10. Mozambique

  • Zinave National Park
  • Limpopo National Park

In Mozambique, giraffes can be found in 2 natural habitats Zinave and Limpopo National Park. Our recommendation is Zinave National Park, for the simple reason that it is closer to the coast and the beaches on Mozambique's Indian Ocean coast are worth visiting.

Limpopo is very close to South Africa's Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou which are both incredible and worth a combined visit.

11. South Africa

  • Kruger National Park
  • Mapungubwe National Park
  • Mokala National Park

South Africa is a top tourist destination for African wildlife and has 3 national parks where you can enjoy seeing giraffes in their natural habitat.

Our recommendation is Kruger National Park whose popularity for wildlife safaris is very justified by the variety and number of big mammals and predators to the birds and landscapes.

Giraffes In West Africa

12. Niger

  • Koure Community

Unlike all the other places, the giraffes in Niger live alongside the community in Koure. This is in the southwestern part of the country, around 60 kilometres from Niamey the Capital City.

From a dwindling population of around 50 animals in 1980, the giraffes have increased and the population has more than tripled. This is impressive given that the giraffes aren't living in a protected area such as a national park.

While Niger might not be the first destination you think about in terms of African wildlife, you will see giraffes in this local community if you happen to be visiting.

13. Cameroon

  • Waza National Park

Like Niger, the one and best place for seeing Giraffes is in Waza National Park - an important UNESCO biosphere reserve where you can see other animals from elephants to lions, cheetahs and lots of birds.

Waza National Park is found in Cameroon's Far North province near the border with Chad and going there needs careful planning ahead of time. Since the country's tourism sector is not very developed, the park is still very pure and raw for those who enjoy the discoverer-explorer feeling in travel.

Giraffes In Central Africa

14. Democratic Republic Of Congo

  • Garamba National Park
  • Lomami National Park

Garamba National Park is our recommendation for the best places for giraffes and other wildlife in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, the park is rich with biodiversity and you will enjoy the classic wildlife like elephants, hippos, rhinos and more.

Because of the volatile security situation in Eastern DRC, especially due to rebels, you have to take caution before travelling. In as much as the situation is improving, you will need extensive research and local expertise.

15. Chad

  • Zakouma National Park

In Chad, the best and only place is the nation's oldest National park - Zakouma National Park. While the park's history has been one of violence between poachers and rangers, the situation is slowly turning around and the elephants protected in the area are starting to see a surge in numbers.

With an underdeveloped tourism industry, going to Chad might not be the easiest thing to plan but it is possible. Because of safety reasons, Chad might not be a destination for many with untouched nature.

16. Central African Republic

  • Manovo-Gouda St. Floris National Park

Similar to Chad, there is one place where you can see Giraffes in the Central African Republic, and that is Manovo-Gouda National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a lot of animals from leopards, cheetahs, rhinos and so much more.

The instability in the country has left the park vulnerable to poaching, and almost no development for tourism. If you plan on visiting the Central African Republic, take extra caution for safety reasons.

Final Thoughts

With more than 60 places where you can see giraffes in the African wilderness, it should be easy for you to plan your travel to any of the 16 countries.

You don't have to follow our recommendations in each of the countries, because we fully know how everyone loves to travel differently. Honestly, we are more inclined to the charm of unexplored places.

Since Giraffes live in savannah and semi-arid areas with trees to feed on, you will also find other animals as this is a perfect habitat for many animals - both herbivores and their predators.

In some places, we indicated how you have to be aware of the fluid security situation and in such cases, you have options elsewhere.

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