The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre in Stellenbosch

Posted on 15 July 2013

For some time I would drive past the Giraffe House on my way to wine farms in the Stellenbosch area, and was always intrigued as to what lay behind the fence. Did they have a real giraffe? Was it like a mini game farm? What did they do there? My friends also said the same thing, so I decided it was time to find out!

Is there a giraffe at the Giraffe House?

Yes, they do have a giraffe, called Gerry! Gerry was orphaned through a very necessary game capture (she was too small at the time to be loaded onto a truck as she would’ve been squashed) so she was hand-reared by a game ranger. She’s now five years old and still gets two bottles a day, just because she loves it. The public are welcome to view her feeding at 14h00 daily, although this time may vary slightly according to her needs. The exciting news is that Gerry may soon be getting a boyfriend who will be a few years younger than her. Lucky girl!

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Meet Gerry the giraffe, see ostriches and Blue duiker at the Giraffe House.

Other animals at the Giraffe House

In addition to Gerry the giraffe (the tallest animal on earth), they have the largest African antelope (Eland), the largest living bird (ostrich) and the smallest buck in Africa (Blue duiker). You’ll also be able to see zebra, springbok, impala, Vervet monkeys, Bat-eared foxes, tortoises, snakes, crocodiles, meerkats, a warthog, our national bird, being the Blue Crane and lots of other interesting African wildlife. As Giraffe House is essentially an educational and awareness facility, there are plenty of information boards and staff are on hand to answer any questions from inquiring minds.

Interactive shows at the Giraffe House

Through interactive animal encounters (held daily), children are introduced to hissing cockroaches, a tarantula, an African toad, an egg-eater snake, a python and an Australian dragon. While the children are learning more about creatures that generally give us the chills, the brave ones can handle them too. I was the only “volunteer” at the time, so I got to play in my own series of Fear Factor! I think holding the tarantula was my greatest achievement (and I had it sitting on my face at one point too – very brave of me!), but was most disappointed that toad didn’t actually turn into a prince when I gave it a kiss! These shows are fun (even for one) and will keep kids amused and interested while they learn important facts. Animal encounters are at 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00, but check on the day as this can vary depending on large groups, school visits and the number of visitors.

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