Two subspecies of the Southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa) occur across Southern Africa.

Together, they make up almost 50% of the continent’s total giraffe population.

Angolan giraffe (G. g. angolensis)

Despite their name, Angolan giraffe were extirpated (locally extinct) in Angola until recent translocations from Namibia. The Angolan giraffe’s range includes central Botswana, most parts of Namibia, and various populations scattered throughout Zimbabwe. Extralimital populations (those outside their natural range) have been translocated to South Africa and to private land in Botswana and Zimbabwe. The estimated 5,000 individuals three decades ago have, today, more than quadrupled to over 20,000 in the wild. Considering this recent increase in numbers, the Angolan giraffe has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

The Angolan giraffe is relatively light in colour. In northwest Namibia, where it is particularly arid, they can be almost colourless. They have large, uneven and irregularly notched light brown patches. Their patches are surrounded by a pale cream colour, and their lower legs are randomly speckled with uneven spots.

South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa)

The range of South African giraffe is dotted throughout south-eastern Angola, north-eastern Namibia, northern Botswana, south-western Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, and throughout South Africa. Previous re-introductions of the South African and Angolan giraffe to overlapping areas have most likely resulted in hybrid populations. There have also been extralimital (outside their natural range) introductions of South African giraffe across Angola, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. At present, the South African giraffe population is estimated at almost 30,000 individuals, showing a marked increase of over 150% over the past three and a half decades. More recently, the population has begun to stabilise in numbers. No IUCN Red List assessment of the South African giraffe has been undertaken, and there remains uncertainty about how many of these giraffe are hybrids with Angolan giraffe after many years of regional translocations. The historical increase and the recent stabilisation of numbers suggest a listing of Least Concern.

The South African giraffe has star-shaped patches in various shades of brown, surrounded by a light tan colour, very similar to the Angolan giraffe. Their lower legs are randomly speckled with uneven spots.