05 February 2013 by Chris Marais

Take me to your mo

Come and learn why a mo is not a mo, but an angora goat ...

The angora goats of Hillston Farm

OK, so before you make the same mistake I made when I was foolish and young, mohair does not come from a mo.

I don’t really know what comes from a mo. I used to think it was mohair, though. Until someone told me about angora goats – South African angora goats in particular, which produce half the world’s mohair.


Landscape magic of the Karoo Heartland Landscape magic of the Karoo Heartland


Now if you want to see angora goats in action in the Karoo, growing longer mohair fleeces as we speak, then I would point you at Hillston Farm outside Middelburg in the Eastern Cape.

And if you had a hankering for history, then I would direct you to the really comfortable old ironstone cottage at Hillston Farm. Right next to it is a genuine South African (Anglo-Boer) War blockhouse peppered with real bullet holes. They don’t wage war from it anymore, however. It’s used as a lapa for indoor braais (barbecues) and such.


The South African (Anglo-Boer) War blockhouse on Hillston Farm The South African (Anglo-Boer) War blockhouse on Hillston Farm


Owner Riana Southey, with deep Karoo roots, will welcome you to the dinner table. Then she will leave it up to her superb chef-daughter, Adrienne, to feed you the kind of grub you’ll rave about for a long time after leaving Hillston Farm.

What I like about Hillston is the walking. You get to strap on a pair of boots and stride the hills and dales around the farmstead. Just the kind of journey-break one needs between Jo’burg and Cape Town. And if you’re not feeling all that energetic, no one minds if you sidle off for a nap or a gentle stroll to the angora goats.


Walking around Hillston Farm – time to meditate on great spaces Walking around Hillston Farm – time to meditate on great spaces


And then, in the early morning way before breakfast, you walk down to the dam to see the blue cranes preparing to take off on their day’s foraging. Their chitter-chitter-tweet-tweet grows louder and louder as they wake up and realise you’re there. Then they’re suddenly gone, in a flap and a flurry of wings.

And after coffee and a hearty breakfast you too are gone, in a flurry of luggage and goodbyes. See you next season. The cranes and the goats are missing you already...

Category: Attractions

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