Llamas actually come from the South American Andes, where they feel perfectly at home even at altitudes of up to 4,000 metres. No wonder that the Alps can also be an alternative for a nice llama life. In recent years, a number of llama-friendly Austrians have “imported” the “camels of the new world”, as they are also called. You could be forgiven for thinking that a trend is taking over the whole country.
In Altenmarkt-Zauchensee it’s Christoph Warter. Not only does he let his llama Fredi graze on his meadow, no, he prefers to take his four-legged companion on a leash and invites guests of all ages to come along on llama walks. What he experiences on the way is often funny – but always out of respect for the animal’s well-being.
Of course, I wanted to try out this special llama experience from Altenmarkt-Zauchensee for myself: The route took our small group along a winter path through the snow-covered fields right next to Fredi’s home. A wonderful path on which we always just had to look at the so cute looking llama as it marched calmly towards its destination. Everyone had a turn leading Fredi and thus got up close and personal with the woolly animal.
By the way, you don’t need to be afraid of spitting. Llamas do not spit at people if they have been properly socialised and have grown up in a herd. Llamas also do not push, kick or bite. Llamas approach visitors in a curious and friendly manner, but then keep a small distance.
What fascinated me most? Fredi’s special charm and his witty, good-natured manner – and if I’m not mistaken, first of all, the surrounding peace and beauty of nature had a relaxing and calming effect on me, and then the presence of the llama. What a feeling! Could this really be, I asked Christoph? He confirmed my impression and even told me that llamas are also used very successfully in animal assisted therapies due to their sociable and sensitive disposition.
Would you like to experience this feeling? If you have taken a llama walk, please write to me about your “animal experience”! Looking forward to it …
photo credits: Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourismus