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What’s What: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a giraffe eat from your hand? In an effort to heighten awareness and save giraffes from extinction, unique conservation efforts have been launched worldwide. As a result, there are now a lot of interesting ways to interact with these majestic creatures, from afternoon tours and day long safaris to overnight adventures and luxury dining.

Amava Take: Giraffes are vulnerable to extinction and two subspecies, the Rothschild’s giraffe and the West African giraffe, are endangered. Giraffes are gentle creatures whose long necks can’t easily reach the ground for feeding and they happily eat out of humans’ hands. With legs as long as 6-feet and black tongues stretching 20-inches, giraffes are stunning to experience up close. Any way you choose to spend time with giraffes helps fund sanctuaries and conservation strategies for our planet’s tallest mammal. Most of the more interesting adventures are in Africa, where most of the world’s giraffe population resides. But there are also some feeding and tour opportunities in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

From the Front Lines:

Who would enjoy this experience?

Anyone who wants to get up close and personal with giraffes while also contributing to preventing their extinction.

What are the costs?

Dining overnight with endangered giraffes in Kenya comes at a steep price: an average of $650 USD per person per night based on a two-person occupancy. Zoo-type safari tours and other experiences in the U.S., U.K. and Canada are as low as $40 per person.

Any tips for first-timers?

Make reservations as early as you possibly can; rooms and tours fill up fast. Some experiences are also seasonal so it’s important to pay attention to dates.

From the Trenches:

What’s rewarding about this experience?

There is simply nothing else in the world like being face-to-face with a giraffe.

What’s the hardest part?

Giraffes don’t want to be cuddled. They’re friendly, but they’re in it for the snacks.  

What would you tell someone who is thinking about doing this?

The giraffes are the main event but the experience is so much more and there is a lot to learn and know.

Special requirements: The only requirements are those necessary to travel abroad. The experiences are open to most ages.

Related Classes: Dr. Jane Goodall Teaches Conservation, Photographing Nature with Your Digital Camera, Secrets of Better Photography, Mastering Your Digital Camera

Finding a position: Giraffe Manor is a luxurious boutique hotel associated with Kenya’s Giraffe Centre. Endangered giraffes eat from your hand while you dine on gourmet meals and vacation on 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest in the Langata suburb of Nairobi. The B. Bryan Preserve, in Point Arena, CA, has various tours that bring you close to giraffes in a natural environment.

At Paignton Zoo in Devon in the UK, you’ll experience what happens behind the scenes at the Giraffe House and help out with feeding time. At Longleat’s Giraffe VIP Experience in Wiltshire in the UK, you’ll get up close and personal with giraffes in their own environment. At Safari Niagara in Stevensville, Ontario, you can take behind the scenes safari-type tours. At Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, MA, you can experience the giraffe habitat and feed them three times a day on weekends, weather permitting.