An email from Vergelegen with photos of their Nguni cattle herd yesterday made me happier than I have felt for a long time.
Country girl, me.
Smooth-drinking wine and hardy indigenous Nguni cattle might seem an unlikely pairing – yet 320-year old Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West is home to one of South Africa’s largest Nguni herds, numbering over 400 prime cattle. The good news is that this renowned estate has welcomed 132 Nguni newborns over the past few weeks (wow!)
One the calves sports a prominent ‘V’ marking for Vergelegen on his handsome forehead.
“We officially registered the Vergelegen Nguni Stud in August 2010, and since then this popular indigenous breed has thrived. Our breeding herd currently consists of 146 cows,” says Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer.
In addition, there is a separate herd of 66 heifers and 70 oxen (castrated bulls) which were born last year between June and August.
These do not form part of the breeding herd.
“While all the newbies are lovable, one young bull born this year is red and white in colour with a perfect white V on his head. Needless to say he will be kept for breeding as the ‘V’ bull of Vergelegen,” says Coetzer.
The herd roams out in the pastures on weekdays, accompanied by a herdsman, feeding on the natural vegetation.
At night and over weekends they are placed in camps. Visitors to the estate often spot the magnificent herd while driving to the wine tasting centre – pass through the entrance gates, and look to your right.
To visit Vergelegen: Opening hours Monday-Sunday 09h00-17h00 (last entry 16h00). Entrance R10/adults and R5/pensioners and scholars. Pensioners enter for free on Mondays.