From South America to South Tyrol
Un unforgettable experience
Alpacas behind the Tratterhof
The high plateau of Meransen has one more attraction for locals and guests. At the Hinterwalderhof farm just behind the Hotel Tratterhof at 1580 m directly at the entrance to the Altfasstal valley, not cows, sheep or goats typical of our Alpine region are kept, but just as peace-loving and perhaps even more cuddly alpacas and llamas. The large grazing area around the Hinterwalderhof offers the 14 male alpacas and Erika and Aziz's 6 llamas everything they need for a happy and active life.
TYROLEAN NAMES FOR THE ANIMALS OF THE INCAS
Erika and Aziz have given their friends with the silky, shiny wool names that immediately indicate the character of the respective animal: Gustav, for example, has worked his way up to become the boss of the alpaca males thanks to his size and - self-confident and unselfish as he is - also keeps a watchful eye on the female llamas. The nimble Fritz runs tirelessly up and down the pastures, bursting with vitality, but gets tired quite quickly. Alpaca Siegfried, on the other hand, is an individualist and loves freedom a little away from the herd. Every day, Aziz provides the humpless relatives of the camels with fresh food and water, looks after them and takes care of little aches and pains that can arise during quarrels between the males.
A walk with rules
Adventurous but ordered
"Since Gustav has been leading the herd, peace has returned. Others have tried to challenge his rank, but were not accepted by the herd," says Erika. If a lower-ranking animal gets too close to a higher-ranking one, the lower-ranking animal is spat at. As a warning among conspecifics.
On the short and longer tours with the guests, Aziz selects the suitable alpacas on a case-by-case basis. The rank within the herd must also be respected during the tours, i.e. the higher-ranking animal must never go to the very back, otherwise nothing will work. Children and adults alike are enthusiastically accepting the new alpaca and llama trekking offers: In line with the trend, these are harmonious walks in the nature of the Gitschberg Jochtal holiday region, where the friendly companions are gently kept on a leash and show the way in an adventurous but knowledgeable manner. Erika and Aziz are very flexible in their offer, offering the tours daily and also at different times of the day, depending on the guest's wishes.
The alpacas and llamas of the family at the Hinterwalderhof in Meransen are naturally accustomed to high altitudes; after all, the hoofed animals with the soft sole padding originally come from the Andes. Even in winter, temperatures of up to -20 ° C are no problem for them. Thus, the various tours of one hour to over three hours duration are offered both in summer and in winter. The food for Gustav & Co. is fresh pasture grass in summer and fragrant hay in winter, where the animals, who love to run, can choose between the stable and the open air.
The very soft alpaca wool is one of the most precious fibre fabrics in the world. "In my opinion, it feels even better than silk or cashmere," says Erika. "Gustav, Fritz & Co. can supply up to 40 kg of wool per year, which is really fascinatingly velvety," Aziz enthuses.
The tour in the Altfasstal valley
A mutual sniffing out
Start behind the Tratterhof
During the tours, children as well as adults overcome their shyness after just a few minutes and quickly form an intimate friendship with the alpacas. The gentle animals have a calming effect, curiously examine us humans with their big googly eyes and have their favourite places to pet. Preferably carefully on the neck. Since they are very skittish, especially at first, use the first few minutes to sniff each other out. As soon as Gustav & Co have built up trust, they are happy to be led. "The children are especially proud when they are allowed to lead such an exotic animal, which is usually bigger than they are, on their own and are guided by it," Erika and Aziz report. With the llamas, the difference in size is even more obvious. Llamas are significantly larger than their relatives, the alpacas, but they eat less, Erika says she has observed. Up to 4 kg of tasty grass per day from the high plateau of Meransen.
Book cuddle tour
Info at the reception
Fixed in the weekly schedule
Erika and Aziz's alpacas and llamas are already true South Tyroleans. They have adapted perfectly to the landscape and climate, just like the many other animals that live at the Hinterwalderhof farm: the black Lamborghini cockerels, the pheasants, rabbits, cats and the neighbour's dog. A fluffy and unforgettable experience for young and old alike, starting directly at the Hinterwalderhof just a few metres above the Tratterhof Mountain Sky Hotel.
Appointment, booking & price info for tours: Tratterhof reception.