For the boyfriend’s 21st birthday, my mum gave him a meet a giraffe experience (Aaron’s favourite animal) which, by extension, meant I was able to go along too. Months later, Aaron and I finally booked the trip for August and it had been something we were both really looking forward to. Even though I couldn’t wait to meet the tall beauties, I was super excited to be back at the w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l Longleat. I went lots when I was younger and have very fond memories of the place. So, on Sunday morning, with my favourite new loud shirt on (that just so happens to double up as giraffe merchandise!) and silver rucksack strapped to my back, Aaron and I travelled an hour and a half to get to Longleat Sarafi Park!
We arrived about twenty minutes before our experience was to kick off (at 9:30) and were immediately offered a beverage when we met our awesome guide, Mike. With a tea in my hand and a souvenir guidebook (which you’d have to pay for normally!) that told us about the animals at Longleat, we waited for the other two to arrive and join our We Love Giraffes party. Soon enough we were heading out in a zebra-print Land Rover to meet the uniquely spotty animals.
The first section of the experience entailed taking buckets of food to feed the giraffes. The giraffes are easily scared and, for this reason, you don’t always get the opportunity to feed them- although, if you’re heading to Longleat, there are times where you can pay to feed the giraffes so you might get an opportunity to be up close with them then anyway. We were lucky enough to have Kate (in the pictures above) wander over to munch on her breakfast. And she went for it. She chewed all four buckets of the food and Mike told us that she’s feeding her young child and, therefore, is very hungry.
It was hard not to spend the whole time admiring Kate’s beautiful eyelashes and crumpled ear that sets her apart from the others. She is quite a gingery giraffe, but this isn’t the case for all giraffes, we were told. Later, we noticed other giraffes that were more white in colour or had lighter colouring in general. Mike warned us of how strong giraffes are and we almost toppled over occasionally, as Kate yanked the plant out of our hands. Her tongue was maybe my favourite part about her. Super long and purpley black in colour, she would twirl it around the plant to grab the leaves to munch on. It was hard not to giggle at her perfected routine. This was my favourite part of the day, feeding the lovely creatures and watching Aaron become very excited. It was super special to have such isolated time with the hungry Kate.
Mike told us lots about giraffes and this list far from includes everything he taught us but here are a few facts about giraffes:
- Giraffes have seven bones in their necks (just like us!)
- There are few animals that would successfully challenge a giraffe in the wild but, when they do, they are likely to have taken them down when they’re vulnerable: necks down as their legs are apart
- Their tongues are 45cm long!
Mike then drove us closer to the rest of the tower (the equivalent of the term “pack of” for particular animals- not sure that I’ve used this correctly here!) and we were able to “awww” at the gorgeous younger giraffes. Sometimes a giraffe would follow the vehicle, nibbling on it as it did and we’d have to drive away. On the way back we got a glimpse of one of the new babies born recently. The giraffe hasn’t yet been named but we got to see the creature run, its gangly legs almost in slow motion as it panicked a little.
Thank you to Mike for a wonderful morning and teaching us lots of facts that will definitely help us in pub quizzes in the future. If you adore giraffes or know someone that does, this is the ideal day out or present. They are such lovely creatures and it was magical to get to know Kate for half an hour or so. Finally, thank you to my mum for buying us the experience. We had the best day and Aaron looked star-struck when he met the lovely Kate!
~ Kat ~