Volunteer Diaries
April 10, 2014

My favourite African animal, the giraffe!

This is what Zimanga's wildlife volunteer Melissa Aldenhoven had to say about her 'WOW' moment of the day after meeting her favourite African animal in South Africa for the first time!

Zimanga giraffe - Rebecca Hart

“Of all the wild animals in Africa my favourite is the giraffe. I was very excited to think I might glimpse one at some stage during my stay at Zimanga Private Game Reserve but couldn’t believe my luck when, on our second monitoring session, a small herd was standing in the middle of the track of our vehicle. They hardly moved away as the bakkie rolled close to them so that we were within 10 metres of the bull. They really were like a group of ballet dancers – poised and elegant and yet curious and passive. To feel the presence of these unhurried, beautiful and yet totally “out there” creations so close was captivating but the way they were so relaxed and slightly amused by our presence was quite exhilarating – it really was. Magic. ”This particular ‘journey’ of giraffe was around ten strong and included a number of small youngsters. Female giraffes give birth standing up. Their young endure a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) to the ground at birth. These infants can stand in half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth.Volunteers: Melissa Aldenhoven, Yvonne Good, Dorien Bennink and Moira HartWildlife Monitor: Craig BatemanBy Rebecca Hart and Melissa Aldenhoven