Since summer of 2020, the Meransen plateau has been enriched by an attraction for locals and guests alike. At the Hinterwalderhof at 1580 m, directly at the entrance to the rustic Altfasstal valley, not the cows, sheep or goats typical of our Alpine region are kept, but equally peace-loving and perhaps even more cuddly alpacas and lamas. The large pasture area around the Hinterwalderhof offers the 14 male alpacas and the 6 lamas of Erika and Aziz everything they need for a happy and active life.
Lama- & Alpaka Trekking
From South America to South Tyrol
Tyrolean name for the animals of the Incas
Erika and Aziz have given sympathetic names to their friends with the silky shiny wool, which immediately suggest the character of the respective animal: Gustav, for example, has worked his way up to become the boss of the alpaca males due to his size and - self-confident and unselfish as he is - also keeps a watchful eye on the female lamas. The nimble Fritz runs tirelessly up and down the pastures, splashing with vitality, but gets tired quite quickly. Alpaca Siegfried, on the other hand, is an individualist and loves freedom somewhat away from the herd.
Every day Aziz provides the camels' humpless relatives with fresh food and water, looks after them and takes care of little aches and pains that can arise when the males quarrel.
"Since Gustav has been leading the herd, peace has returned. Others have tried to challenge him for his rank, but were not accepted by the herd." says Erika.
If a lower ranking animal comes too close to a higher ranking animal, the lower ranking animal is spat on. As a warning among conspecifics.
Lama – und Alpaka Trekking with the guests of the holiday area
For the short and longer tours with the guests, Aziz selects alpacas on a case by case basis. The rank within the herd must also be maintained on the tours, i.e. the higher ranking animal must not be put to go to the end of the herd, otherwise nothing will work. Children and adults alike gladly accept the new offer of alpaca and lama trekking: The trend is towards harmonious walks in the nature of the holiday region Gitschberg Jochtal, where these friendly companions are gently kept on a leash and show the way in an adventurous but familiar way.
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 lamas of the family at the Hinterwalderhof of Meransen are by nature used to high altitudes, after all the hoofed animals with the soft sole padding originally come from the Andes. Even in winter, temperatures as low as -20° C are no problem for them. Therefore the different tours from one hour to over three hours duration are offered in summer as well as in winter.
As feed for Gustav & Co. fresh pasture grass in summer and fragrant hay in winter, where the runny animals can choose between stable and open air, is just the right thing.
The fleece of the gods
The very soft alpaca wool belongs to the most precious fibres of the world.
"In my opinion it feels even better than silk or cashmere. Gustav, Fritz & Co can supply up to 40 kg of wool per year, which is really fascinatingly velvety,"
Friendship between humans and animals
During the tours, children as well as adults overcome their shyness after only a few minutes and quickly form an intimate friendship with the alpacas. The gentle animals have a calming effect, test us humans curiously with their big rolling eyes and have their favourite places to pet them. Preferably carefully on the neck. Since they are very jumpy, especially at the beginning, we use the first minutes to sniff at each other. As soon as Gustav & Co have built up trust, they like to be guided.
"The children are especially proud when they are allowed to lead such an exotic animal, which is usually much bigger than themselves, alone and are accompanied by it."
report Erika and Aziz
The difference in size is even more marked in the case of the lamas. Lamas are significantly larger than their relatives, the alpacas, but eat less, Erika says she has observed. Up to 4 kg of tasty grass per day from the Meransen plateau.
At the Hinterwalderhof just above the Hotel Tratterhof
The alpacas and lamas of Erika and Aziz are already real South Tyroleans. They have adapted perfectly to the landscape and climate, as well as to the many other animals that live on the farm: the black Lamborghini cocks, the pheasants, rabbits, cats and the neighbouring 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.
Appointments, booking & price information about tours:
At the Tratterhof reception or at this link
Images and text: Sascha Russotti