Tag Archives: gerry the giraffe

Animal Spotting at Giraffe House in Stellenbosch (2017-09-30) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 02 SEP 2018

The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre (better known as the Giraffe House) sits on the outskirts of Stellenbosch on your way to Paarl. Their focus is on providing easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species, a place for people to enjoy being outdoors whilst experiencing and learning all about the animals – but most important of all is the fact that they are home to Gerry the hand reared giraffe.

Actually that isn’t all that accurate any more. These days the Giraffe House is home to a handful of giraffes, joining the rest of the stable that includes the likes of monkeys, meerkats, eland, bontebok, grysbok, duikers, springbok, zebra, caracal, cape fox and a black backed jackal!

In addition to the wildlife, Giraffe House also has a couple of farmyard enclosures set up, filled with goats, sheep and geese, perfect recipients for kids eager to feed the animals. (Of course this does then mean with every kid wanting to feed an animal, a lot of kids walk away slightly disappointed when the now obviously not so hungry/quite full goats refuse to take even a nibble! :D)

The center also has a collection of snakes, Nile crocodiles and tortoises on site, with the bird complement being filled by the likes of ostriches, blue crane, storks, lovebirds, parrots, ducks and even a couple of starlings.

Given the open space, the venue also makes for a great locale for kids’ birthday parties, and they have a little snack vendor and small kids play area to ensure that the kids don’t moan too much once they tire of walking about watching the animals.

My favourite part of visiting Giraffe House is however the interactive reptile show with their extremely affable host, who is guaranteed to pretty much always pull a good coupe of laughs out from the crowd.

At least this time around I didn’t end up with a tarantula on my face!

Pro-Tip: Avoid going in the middle of the day when it is too hot – there isn’t a lot of shade, it is a lot of open ground to cover, and quite frankly neither you, your kids or the animals aren’t going to be even bothered with one another if all are miserable and drenched in sweat.

Related Link: The Giraffe House | Stellenbosch

Giraffe House and Wild Clover (2015-08-08) Photo Gallery 13 AUG 2015

Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather we had been enjoying for the last big, Saturday saw me abandon Chantelle with her work and the need to sort out the baking/braai room, and head out with the girls to the middle of nowhere, corner of the R304 and R101 to be precise.

This is of course the location of The Giraffe House wildlife awareness centre, and where we happened to be meeting up with Michelle and little Logan for a fun day out looking, touching and feeding the animals!

IMG_20150808_115800 michelle oosthuizen at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Naturally, the moment Michelle arrived I pretty much lost Jessica, with her absolutely refusing to let go of Michelle’s hand for more than 30 seconds at any point in time!)

Thanks to the earlier spell of wet weather, everything was pretty slushy and muddy, but regardless (or perhaps because) of this, the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the sun, seeing the various animals (Gerry the giraffe was, as expected, a big hit), feeding the farmyard goats and ponies, taking in the entertaining reptile show, and of course clambering all over the central jungle gym!

IMG_20150808_105049 jessica lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Pleasingly, unlike the last time I found myself there, I walked away without having a tarantula clamber all over my face!)

In case you aren’t familiar with The Giraffe House, I grabbed this off from their website:

“At The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness centre we provide easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species. Focusing on African wildlife, Giraffe House aims to provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals and why they are special.

Most of the animals at Giraffe House form part of our wildlife education program. The giraffe, for instance, is the tallest land animal on earth, eland is the biggest antelope, the blue duiker the smallest antelope and ostrich the biggest bird. We are also proudly South African by having our national animal, the springbok and national bird, the blue crane bird forming part of our team.”

It certainly is a varied selection of animals housed, that’s for sure. Jackals, servals, flamingos, snakes, bat-eared foxes, goats, ponies, chickens, crocodiles, warthogs, springbok, zebra, blue cranes, eland, giraffe, duikers, ostriches, monkeys… well, you get the picture.

IMG_20150808_110449 emily lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

In other words, more than enough going on to keep the little ones entertained! :)

(Oh, a nice touch that I forgot to mention. On entry each child gets handed a bucket full of food to feed the farmyard animals with – which Emily usually promptly trips with and spills half out all over the floor. Judging from the amount of feed lying all over the place, this is a relatively common occurrence though…)

At the end of what was a good outing, we opted to head down the road to Wild Clover, in order to meet up with Damen who had just finished his archery session at their field.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to the wine farm / brewery / restaurant / archery field / model aircraft flying strip / farmyard animals / accommodation establishment that is Wild Clover – and I have to say, I was seriously impressed.

Extremely kid friendly in terms of a great outside play area, the restaurant features both a great indoor and outdoor space, and quite frankly, it really has everything that makes for a ‘lekker kuierplek’.

(In other words, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again!)

(I ordered a pizza to share with the girls. Happily, they turned out not to want much, meaning that I ate most of it. Oh, and it was quite a treat to watch a couple of guys flying their model aircraft about. One sometimes forgets just how big they actually are!)

Related Link: The Giraffe House | Wild Clover

Giraffe House Visit (2015-03-07) Photo Gallery 10 MAR 2015

Saturday. Having already fed the ducks in Strand and eaten pancakes at the Root 44 market, Chantelle, the kids and I next jetted off through Stellenbosch and along the R44, until we reached the next destination on our epic weekend of family activities – the Giraffe House wildlife awareness center.

IMG_20150307_144132 craig lotter takes selfie with baby emily at the giraffe house

There we met up with Evan, Natasha and Evalynne, and with our tickets bought and monies handed over, we were handed a plastic bucket of feed and let loose upon the animal sanctuary.

The star of the show is without a doubt the hand reared Gerry the giraffe (which actually ate out of Evan’s hand!), but the Giraffe House also plays home to a variety of other African wildlife examples, like eland, ostriches, springbok, crocodiles, meerkats, llama, small deer, foxes, flamingoes, caracal and of course a plethora of farmyard animals, including the odd pony or two – perfect feeding targets for the little ones in other words!

IMG_20150307_143529 chantelle lotter, natasha granger, evan granger at the giraffe house

It took Jessica a little while to get into it, but once she had gotten the hang of it no goat was safe from her holding out a handful of pellets, letting the goat eat out of her hand, and then laughing her head off as if this was the funniest thing in the world!

Evalynne and Jessica soon got into a competition in terms of trying to show each other all the wonderful animal discoveries they were making, and with a little breeze keeping us cool on a rather warm day, we ambled (and were occasionally pulled) around the sanctuary for a pretty decent while!

The Giraffe House also houses the odd snake or two, and as such they have a short reptile show a couple of times a day. They have a nice little pavilion theater going to allow for the best views of the encounter, and with a wonderfully charming and humorous animal wrangler by the name of Pieter leading the show, this quickly turns out to be the highlight of the day’s outing!

Of particular surprise to me was just how brave Jessica suddenly became, going so far as to volunteer alongside the other kids to hold the big albino python at the end of the show. (Apparently she still thinks that it wasn’t a real snake which may just explain the bravery away, but nevertheless, I was suitably impressed and proud of my little girl!)

IMG_20150307_154043 jessica lotter holding a python at the giraffe house

As for me, I too had an encounter which I never thought I would ever have – as a hapless volunteer I had a live, hairy tarantula plonked down in my hands!

And if that wasn’t a freaky enough of a first time experience, I then got a “facebook” photo opportunity… i.e. the tarantula was unceremoniously put on my face!! (It is a pretty weird sensation for sure, but surprisingly enough, not actually all that bad.)

tarantula crawling on craig lotter's face

Will I purposefully put a tarantula on my face given the opportunity ever again though? Probably not! Will we visit the Giraffe House sometime in the future again? Most definitely yes!

Related Link: http://www.giraffehouse.co.za/