If you are planning or have planned to visit Shamwari this time of year, you are in luck!  While on safari you can expect to see an abundance of new life. Whether it be impala, springbok, zebra or even giraffe!

If you have not yet had the privilege of seeing a baby giraffe, this blog is for you. Giraffe calves have to be one of the cutest looking animals you are yet to see. They are fluffy and adorable!  They often stay close to their mothers and tend to hide away when vehicles approach on safari. Unfortunately, they are also easy prey for predators as they are extremely vulnerable after birth.

Giraffe Calf at Shamwari Game Reserve

Breeding & Gestation:

Females become sexually mature when they are 6 to 7 years old and breeding occurs throughout the year. They have a long gestation period of 15 months.

The mother usually gives birth alone and to one baby. The newborns receive a rough welcome coming into the world, falling head first to the ground. This doesn’t hurt the baby, but it does cause him or her to take a big breath. They weigh about 100kg at birth. Surprisingly, baby giraffe are able to stand about 5 to 20 minutes after birth. The females stay with their calves for a week or more, protecting them and avoiding other giraffes. At this age the calves are too young to defend themselves and will remain still, lying on the ground and hiding. The baby will be independent of the mother by two years of age.

“They stay close to their mothers and tend to hide away when vehicles approach on safari”

Maternal Instincts:

In the meantime, the mother’s preoccupation is to keep her calf safe from all the predators in the area, which includes lions, leopards, and hyenas. Its spots and patches help to give it some camouflage.

Giraffe Calf With Springbuck in the Backgroud - Shamwari Game Reserve

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The mother is never more than 10 to 25 metres (33-82 ft) away and will often leave the calf alone for several hours at a time. After 1-4 weeks, calves may begin grouping together in crèches, with mothers standing watch for predators and other dangers. They will return to feed their young before dark and stay through the night.  If she sees a danger to her calf, the mother will run up and try to kick it away. Sadly, only about 25 percent of baby giraffes reach adulthood.

If you get the chance to see one of these cuties while on game drive feel free to share them with us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Giraffe Calf Posing at Shamwari Game Reserve