There are many things that you can do to relax, recharge and reconnect with nature but one of the most fun ones is definitely taking a walk with alpacas. These beautiful, curious animals are just the company you may need when wanting to get away from it all and enjoy yourself. One of the earliest domesticated animals, alpacas are very intelligent and intuitive and will bring a smile to everyone. No wonder then that walking with alpacas has become one of the favorite activities among nature and animal lovers – both children and adults.
In the midst of the pristine nature, just a short drive away from Brussels we visited EcoSnooze farm, a true paradise on Earth spreading on 15 ha land across greenery with its own water source, lakes and creeks. Here you will be welcomed by Mieke and Jos, wonderful owners of the farm whose love for alpacas started over ten years ago when they first met these gorgeous animals while on their yearly bicycle trip to Santiago de Compostela. They came across an alpaca herd in Charente and immediately fell in love. The decision was made to adopt four pregnant beauties and the rest is history – they have been raising the alpacas ever since, bringing them closer to people and making it possible for others to enjoy the company and friendship of these incredible animals.
Meeting the alpacas already starts with fun – with the herd walking freely in the meadow and grazing, the first thing to do is help gather them around so you can put a halter on and prepare them for the walk. You have to earn their trust though first, and the carrot bits, the delicious treats prepared to feed them will certainly help you in making friends and taking the first step. You will have help though – a beautiful border collie Jack knows his job well, making sure that none of the alpacas wander away.
Once you have the halter on your alpaca it is time for the walk around the farm. Keep in mind that it is usually the alpaca who leads you and not the other way around so you follow their wishes which can be quite fun – from stopping at every bush to have a bite to running a bit to catch up with her friends. No worries though, Mieke knows each alpaca very well and the walks are adjusted – from calm walks with very small children participating to the more adventurous ones having fun with alpacas in the field.
Taking a walk around the farm is the most beautiful experience – in a company of alpacas you will pass through the greenery by the small lakes and creek and learn interesting things about the farm and vegetation growing. Among other things, you will see plants that in ancient times were a basis for dinosaurs’ diet and also visit the area where Mieke and Jos grow shiitake mushrooms that are both delicious and very beneficial for the health.
You will walk over a small island between the water streams where they hold workshops such as surviving in the woods and teach people how to make fire and shelter to come to a relaxation area where you can refresh yourself and your alpaca and drink water that comes from the source on the farm. Completely immersed in nature, you will enjoy the company of alpacas and have fun with them.
Once you have finished your walk with alpacas, visit the farm’s shop – here you can find a variety of products, all with the focus on sustainability and fair trade – from clothes and slippers made of quality, hypoallergenic alpaca wool in collaboration with people from Peru and Ecuador to delicious shiitake mushrooms and honey produced on the farm.
Before going home, enjoy the excellent home-made lemonade and soak in a bit more of the nature around you for an end to a perfect day. You will have made new friends and this will probably be just the first time visiting and enjoying the company of alpacas – I am sure I will be back soon!