Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre is a good starting point if you are looking to introduce your young ones to indigenous wild animals. Since the closure of Tygerberg Zoo, Giraffe House is certainly one of the best places in the Western Cape where children can see and learn more about South African wildlife. Animals that may be seen at Giraffe House include giraffes (of course!), meerkats, antelopes (eland, bontebok, springbok, duikers), zebras, smaller wild cats, foxes, warthogs, farm animals, snakes, Nile crocodiles, as well as birds such as ostriches, storks and blue cranes.
The main attraction at Giraffe House is viewing the animals and the daily interactive reptile show is a firm favourite among visitors. Visitors get to walk at their own pace on the designated paths to view the animals in their separate camps. We finally got to visit Giraffe House on a school trip after several failed attempts to visit. The first visit we planned was thwarted by rain and the pathways were so muddy we couldn’t enter the centre. The second time we planned a visit was when we got invited to a birthday party to be held at the centre, but both children fell ill and we had to cancel at the last minute with great disappointment. We were therefore delighted to learn that our school had arranged a field trip to Giraffe House. I tagged along on the field trip with the baby in the pram.
At the start of the trip the children got feeding buckets with food to feed the farm animals – mostly chickens and goats. Ask at reception about the feeding buckets if you would like to get interactive with the animals. The giraffes as you can guess are a favourite under the children and luckily these animals are in the habit of sticking out their long tongues as if on cue when a visitor approaches their camp. Aforesaid really had the children in giggles. The smaller wild cats and foxes also turned out to be a great source of entertainment as the children were checking the shrubs in their camps for any signs that the animals were hiding out in there and, finally, when they were successful in spotting one of the little fugitives in their hiding places, they felt very proud to point out the animal in hiding to everyone. The antelopes and zebras are held in a larger camp but they too tend to frequent the fence to present visitors with the opportunity of looking them over at close proximity.
Visitors can learn more about giraffes and some creepy crawlies at the short, interactive reptile show that is held daily at 11:00/ 13:00 and 15:00. The staff from Giraffe House who presented the daily show on our outing were professional, entertaining and were able to keep the attention of the preschoolers who were present. The highlights of the interactive show are definitely getting the opportunity to touch a python (luislang) and tarantula or to hold a small iguana and gecko in your hands! Just a note on the side: on weekdays school trips may disrupt the show times so do phone ahead to make sure you catch the show on the day of your visit.
What else does Giraffe House offer?
Giraffe House is also a kids party venue and makes for a very interesting party for both boys and girls. Included in the fee per child attending the party are:
- entrance to Giraffe House
- the use of the thatched roof lapa with some balloons
- table setting (consisting of a paper plate and serviette)
- a party pack (containing Niknaks, Smarties, small chocolate, lollipop, gummy sweets and 200 ml juice) and a small toy
- feeding bucket
- interactive reptile show
(Party information is available on the website).
An amount is payable for the adults attending the party which covers the adults’ entrance to Giraffe House, the interactive reptile show and a free coffee and tea.
Kiosk, picnic tables and jungle gyms
You can buy snacks and drinks (including coffee and tea) at the kiosk and enjoy them at one of the picnic tables. It is also possible to bring your own food/ picnic basket. There are a couple of jungle gyms for the kids to play on when you wish to take a break from viewing the animals or after you have finished your picnic.
What you need to know:
- Giraffe House is outdoors… If the sun is shining bright, pack hats and sunscreen and if it is cold outside, dress warm! The paths between the camps are dirt paths so do wear boots if it is raining when visiting or even when it has rained heavily in the days prior to your visit.
- Take cash for the entrance fee as no ATM facility is available at the entrance.
If you are entering the centre on your own and not with a school or another group, adults pay R45 and children (2 – 15 years) R25 at the gate (2015 prices). Giraffe House is open all year round seven days a week from 09:00 – 17:00 except for Christmas Day when it is closed.
021 884 4506 | Corner of R304 (Klipheuwel/Stellenbosch road) and R101 (Old Paarl Road) | www.giraffehouse.co.za