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Can You Ride A Giraffe?

Have you ever visited a zoo or safari park and found yourself wondering “can you ride a giraffe?” while watching these amazing beasts meander around their enclosure?

There is no doubt that giraffes are impressive and elegant creatures, and it might seem very appealing to climb onto the back of one so that you can get a great view of the world and feel tall. However, it probably is not a very good idea, and people do not generally ride on giraffes, despite their height.

Giraffes are often considered pretty docile and beautiful creatures, and many people list them as our favorite animals, but they aren’t something that we tend to ride on the backs of, for good reason.

Although giraffes are usually gentle, they can actually be extremely dangerous creatures, as they can swing their long necks with speed and strength, and they can kick hard enough to kill a person.

Even predators such as lions tend to give giraffes a wide berth and will not tackle them unless the giraffe is sick or injured, so it’s pretty clear that these are powerful animals.

Many people would love to ride a giraffe, but the opportunities to do so are almost non-existent, since these creatures are usually only seen in zoos, and it is not generally considered fair to come into close contact with them.

It would cause stress to the giraffe, and few zoos will allow people to touch their animals, let alone ride on them.

Can You Ride A Giraffe?

The short answer is that you could theoretically ride on a giraffe if you were able to get onto its back and somehow secure yourself. It is technically possible to do, and if the giraffe then walks around with you on its back, you would be riding it.

However, few people would be able to do this successfully, and you would be unlikely to find a saddle that would fit a giraffe, which has a very sloped back.

There have been a few records of people attempting to ride giraffes throughout history, but no notable successes in this area, and since giraffes are very hard to keep, they do not make good options for riding.

Giraffes are challenging to pen, have long gestation periods, guard their calves fiercely for a long time, and need huge amounts of food every day: all of these things make them far less suitable for riding than a horse or a donkey. 

One of the biggest challenges of riding a giraffe, assuming it was domesticated and used to humans, would likely be getting onto its back in the first place.

They are the tallest land living animal and a giraffe’s shoulder is usually between four and five meters from the ground, while the average horse is less than two meters to the shoulder.

Most adult humans can get onto a horse’s back without assistance, but trying to get onto a giraffe’s back would require a special platform or a ladder, making it enormously impractical.

What Happens If You Ride A Giraffe?

If you tried to ride on a giraffe’s back, the most likely outcome is that you would be thrown off, because the back is pretty sloped and the giraffe would probably dislike having a human clinging to it.

This would result in a long fall that could seriously injure you, and you would also be at risk of being trodden on or kicked by the giraffe.

Because of how sloped a giraffe’s back is, you would probably find it extremely difficult to stay on, even if the giraffe did not try to throw you off itself.

The angle is surprisingly steep, and nothing like the smooth and flat plane offered by a horse’s back, so without a good saddle and some straps to secure yourself, you would be unlikely to stay in place for long.

Furthermore, it would be impossible to direct the giraffe, as this usually depends upon the rider having a bridle and securing a bit in the animal’s mouth, which would be extremely hard to do even if the giraffe was domesticated.

Furthermore, the bit might damage the giraffe’s mouth, which is likely to be quite different from a horse’s and less able to stand up to being tugged by the metal bar. A rider would therefore be unable to make the giraffe move in the desired direction, which would probably result in an accident.

Where Can I Go To Ride A Giraffe?

Some safari trips in Africa do allow tourists to ride on exotic animals, and many people enjoy showing off these holiday snaps when they return home, but you are unlikely to find any business that allows people to ride on giraffes, for all the reasons mentioned above.

Giraffes simply are not suitable for riding, and few – if any – businesses would allow you to attempt it. You would be very likely to hurt yourself in doing so, which could result in legal trouble for the business.

You may be able to ride on a buffalo or a camel while on a holiday abroad, but you will probably not find any business offering rides on a giraffe. Similarly, most zoos keep their guests and their giraffes separate to minimize the risk of injuries occurring.

Some safaris may let you ride a horse alongside their giraffes, which is probably the closest you will come to ever riding on a giraffe’s back. You will also have an opportunity to compare the two animals and get a more visual idea of why a giraffe is so unsuitable for riding.


The simple answer to “can you ride a giraffe?” is therefore no, you really can’t, even if you find a domesticated giraffe that is happy to have a human climbing onto its back. You will not be able to find a saddle or bridle to fit a giraffe, and even if you could, it is highly unlikely that the giraffe would respond well to these things, or that the bridle would work to control it. You would also be in major danger of sliding off the giraffe’s back and hurting yourself.