In 2005 the Natura 24 carat gold coins featured the first theme in the "Giants of Africa" series, the Hippopotamus. In 2006, the 2nd giant, the Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis), is depicted. The giraffe is the tallest land mammal in the world.
The Giraffe's scientific name Camelopardalis indicates a resemblance to both camel (size) and leopard (spots). The body is covered in large, irregularly shaped patches of colour divided from one another by a network of light-coloured, off-white or yellowish-white bands, which tend to darken with age. Giraffe have "horns" which are not true horns, but knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes to protect the head from blows. The giraffe is characterised by a very long neck, which has seven cervical vertebrae (the same number as human beings), except the giraffe's vertebrae are each 30cm long. They have a mane of short stiff hair.
Ancient cultures in Africa revered the giraffes and they are commonly depicted in prehistoric rock and cave paintings. Giraffe occur in a wide range of dry savanna ranging from scrub to woodland, provided that these include the particular range of food plants necessary to cover their seasonal requirements. They are predominantly diurnal browsers and eat a wide range of food plants, but they do graze occasionally on fresh, sprouting grasses. Giraffe are quiet species although the males fight viciously for dominance over the group.
The giraffe's defensive weapon against its main enemy, the lion, is a kick that packs a powerful, hoofed punch. Giraffe have an unusual, ungainly gait: the two legs on each side swing almost in unison. At full gallop, with the tail twisted over the hindquarters and the neck swinging to and fro in rhythm with the legs, it can achieve a speed of 56 km/h. A sleepy giraffe may take a nap standing up, with its head supported in the fork of a tree. Even if it lies down it will usually keep its neck upright. If a whole troop of giraffes are resting, they orientate themselves in different directions so as to be prepared for danger from any direction. A Giraffe can weigh up to 1200kg, they can reach a height of 5,5m and their lifespan averages 28 years.
|Mass:||31.107 g, 15.553 g, 7.777 g, 3.110 g|
|Diameter:||32.69mm, 27.00mm, 22.00mm, 16.50mm|
|Metal Content:||Au 999.9|
|Reverse Die-sinker:||MJ Scheepers, A Minnie, C Moses, C Moses|
|Reverse Artist:||N van Niekerk|
|Obverse Die-sinker:||MJ Scheepers|
|Obverse Artist:||N van Niekerk|
|Purity:||24 carat Gold|
|Estimated Market Value: 2008||R13,000|
|Estimated Market Value: 2009||R24,000|
|Estimated Market Value: 2013||R32,000|
|Estimated Market Value: 2014||R32,500|