This one pretty much does what it says on the box – but it’s certainly a unique experience. The brace (it’s the right collective noun – check it!) of Indian Runner Ducks at Vergenoegd make the journey from the farm’s dam to the vineyards three times a day, where they help boost the farm’s biodiversity credentials by eating the snails and bugs that would otherwise threaten the vines and grapes – instead of using pesticides.
They’re herded to a ‘starting line’ of sorts at a set of gabled gates by some very patient team members, where they all stand proudly and wait for a signal. There’s a pathway charted for them through the grounds in front of the homestead by a set of shin-high barriers, lined by enthusiastic visitors who travel from far to see the parade. Once all the ducks are gathered, there’s a signal of sorts and the waddling begins.
A curious Indian Runner Duck quirk is the way they waddle – leaning forwards with their wings tucked back, giving them more than a passing resemblance to shuffling italic letters. The total flock numbers more than 1200, but they do race past relatively quickly – spurred on, no doubt, by the promise of a fresh bounty of snail snacks nearby.
The ‘waddling workforce’, as they’re known, are a pivotal part of the pest management program, which has been a work in progress since 1984.
The daily duck parade is free of charge, as is the breeding program experience. Wine tasting and cellar tours attract a fee of R85 and R300, respectively, with bookings for those available, online.
There’s also a breeding program in place, and visitors can extend their stay beyond the 10-minute parade to take a tour of the duck pens and breeding rooms.
The daily duck parade is free of charge, as is the breeding program experience.
Baden Powell Drive,