Niger: Koure Giraffes
About an hour drive north from Niamey takes you to the Koure Giraffe Conservation Area – the last remaining spot where you can see the West African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta), the only giraffe in West Africa and the last giraffe species I haven’t seen. It differs from other species by a slightly smaller size and much lighter coloration. There are about 300 giraffes in the reserve (that’s the entire global population of the species), but finding them isn’t easy – we basically spent 2 hours 4WD-ing across desert hopelessly trying to find one or two. When I almost gave up, we came across a couple, and then continued on foot to a large group of about 20 (I think I got 14 in one shot at one point). The animals are indifferent to humans and you can stand within 10-20 feet without them moving or caring. Beautiful animals!