About Us

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AKELEI-ALPAKAS (-SA -cc) was founded in 2004 by Mrs. Johanna Tatzreither and began with breeding coloured Huacaya alpacas as a prime investment. When in 2005 the first Suri stallion, the black QAI LAUTARO, was imported from Chile, it initiated a new direction for breeding. As a proven homozygous stallion, he has since produced numerous first-class crias (alpaca babies) in a variety of colours with wonderfully silky Suri curls. Over the years we acquired several more fine-bred alpaca stallions. Since 2008, AKELEI-ALPAKAS has been the only company in South Africa that offers the extremely rare and coveted Suri wool in addition to the finest spun Huacaya wool. The alpaca herd and our product range has since grown steadily.

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When Eva Dölitzsch-Tatzreither and her son Christopher took over the company in 2009, they expanded their product range to not only include fluffy alpaca wool, but also exclusive locally produced and imported alpaca fashion, hand-woven scarves, stoles and quilts- as well as 100% organic alpaca fertilizer. In October 2012, we moved our animals from the Cape Town suburb of Durbanville to our 11-hectare farm STILLWATER ESTATE near Philadelphia, just 40 minutes North of Cape Town.

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As the drought of the century hit Southern Africa in 2017, we halted our breeding program to keep a stable and sustainable amount of alpacas and as feed prices sky-rocketed, we improved our farm land cultivation for growing oats as feed. As the agricultural economy had to adapt to the new challenges, so did we. In those tough years, we have developed an exclusive range of jewellery, combining alpaca-felt balls with semi-precious stones under the label AFRO-ALPACA-BIJOUX which we now ship locally and internationally with increasing demand…

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Alpaca History

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Over 5,000 years ago, alpacas belonging to the New World camelids were domesticated by the indigenous Inca tribes in the rugged Andean mountain ranges of Chile and Peru. They were considered a gift of the sun god Inti to his people. While the llamas, resistant and very frugal, were used as beasts of burden for work and transport, the Incan Alpacas were bred only for their fleece. However, because of its luxurious qualities, the wool was reserved only for the godlike Inca kings and their families, whose clothes were only made from the finest, softest fabrics.

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Even today you can visit well-preserved antique clothing pieces in South American museums. When the Spaniards conquered South America in the mid-16th century in search of gold, they did not recognize the value of the alpaca fleece and it was forgotten for a long time. It was only rediscovered in the middle of the 19th century and made its entrance into the European fashion industry. Today the centre of alpaca wool production lies in the heart of the Altiplano, the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Chile and alpaca wool has become affordable to everyone.

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Apart from their countries of origin in South America - the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, England and Central Europe have also made a name for themselves as global alpaca wool producers in recent decades.

Alpaca Fleece

In addition to Vicuña and Kashmir, alpacas are one of the most valuable wool species today and achieve top prices in international markets. The quality of the fleece is judged according to fineness and density, gloss and feel.

There are two different types of alpaca fleece:

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Huacaya fleece that grows curly from the root onwards (crimp) similar to sheep.

Suri fleece, which hangs down in long, silky locks and rotating pencil-locks, as well as in straight strands.

Huacayas account for more than 90% of the international alpaca stocks, while Suri are very rare and have less than 10% in shares. Once a year in spring, before it gets too warm, the alpacas are sheared here on our farm. Per animal between three and five kilos of fleece in different shades and qualities, are expected. The best quality is obtained from the saddle of an alpaca, the area on the back and over the ribs. It is mainly used for wool yarn production, while the other lots are also used to make felt and to fill health pillows and duvets. The quality of the fibres is calculated in microns, the finer the fibres, the lower the number and the higher the value. Baby Alpaca Wool with the lowest micron count is the most valuable and the most expensive.

Alpaca fleece grows in a variety of natural colours between white, black, grey, beige, light, medium and dark brown, in total there are over 50 shades, of which 12 are officially registered in South Africa. In the major fashion centres of the world, alpaca is known as the raw material for luxurious materials. Alpaca fibre fabrics and alpaca wool knitwear are among the finest in the fashion world. It has been scientifically proven that alpaca wool, due to the absence of lanolin (as in sheep), has anti-allergenic properties and has a positive-reducing effect on conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism.

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Alpacas in South Africa

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In November 2000, the first 60 alpaca herd was imported by a Cape Town dentist after falling in love with the animals from Chile and Peru during his holiday on an Australian alpaca farm. "If alpacas in Australia thrive and reproduce so well in this climate, it would have to be possible under similar conditions to sedate and successfully breed them in South Africa." This assumption proved true and in 2003, another 53 animals followed ...

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In the meantime, the national herd has grown to over 3,500 through successful offspring and further imports, and 50 registered alpaca breeders are grouped together in the South African Alpaca Breeders Society (SAABS).

Fact Sheet

Weight

Height

Age

Pregnancy

Registration

Usage

 

Shearing

Personality

Requirements

40 - 80 KG (Males tend to be heavier and larger in size, also depends Suri or Huacaya)

70-100cm (Suri are generally smaller than Huacaya)

12 - 16 Years (This accounts for South African environmental conditions)

11.5 Months (1 Cria per year)

SA Studbook, South African Alpaca Breeders Society, Microchip and ear tag

High quality fleece/fibre
Herdguards for sheep
Tours and visitor attraction

Once a year: September - November (3-5KG fleece in 3 qualities)

Good-natured, gentle, intelligent, social, very watchful

Fresh water at all times
Paddock or Field (Depending on soil and greenery)
Oat-hay, Herbiviore Sweetfeed Pellets, Lusern
Addition of minerals
Vaccinations once a year (Clostridia)
Dewormer for Summer and Winter time
At least 2 animals together