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A number of years ago, during a holiday to East London, South Africa, my family and I were exploring a river on stand-up paddleboards. Our exploring took us past many campsites and open fields. As we approached a campsite, we spotted a large giraffe poking its head out from behind a tall tree. I was so delighted at the thought of meeting a giraffe in such an unexpected place that I paddled towards the fence in front of this glorious creature. As I stepped down into the swampy bank of the river and walked towards the fence, the giraffe noticed me and calmly loped over. It stood in front of me, batting its long black eyelashes. I fed this gentle giant – which was relatively tame – some grass out of my hand for a while before heading back to my stand-up board and continuing down the river. Then, later in the day, as our family headed back past the campsite, she was once again there to greet us. She clearly remembered who we were and started to escort us along the edge of the river for a little while.

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