Ankole cattle in South Africa: Everything you need to know

Ankole cattle in South Africa: Everything you need to know

Ankole cattle remains one of the jewels of Africa and an investment choice for anyone who wants to make a wise decision. They are not your regular cattle! These animals are a sight to behold and simply phenomenal. Unfortunately, they are not easily located in South Africa. Some of the few lucky owners include President Cyril Ramaphosa, Lasarus Game Farm, Hodkins, and Ubhejane Wildlife.

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Ankole Cattle
These are large cows with big horns. The horns are also thick and can grow up to 1.8 m (6 ft.) long. Photo: Fuse
Source: Getty Images

These are large cows with big horns, and they come in different shades of colours as some can be speckled, solid in colour, or can have a rusty red coast colour. They stand at an average height of 5.5 to 6.6 ft. The males weigh about 450 to 720 kgs, the females weigh 405 to 540 kgs, and the newborn calves weigh ~4.7 to 6.75 kgs.

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Ankole cattle in South Africa

Ankole cows
Ankole cows are grazers and feed on grass. Photo: Heru Agung
Source: Getty Images

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These animals are grazers and feed on grass. They have a sexual maturity period of about 18 months before they can start giving birth, and their gestation period often lasts for about nine months.

What breed of cattle does Cyril Ramaphosa have?

He is renowned for having the Bonsmara stud-registered Ramaphosa breed. This is one of the top breeding bulls in South Africa. His breed is known and praised for having a splendid Roan colour.

Who owns Ankole cows in South Africa?

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the proud owners of this breed of cattle. He was the first proud owner in South Africa, and his farm is known as Ntaba Nyoni. He became interested in owning the most expensive cow in South Africa in 2014 after visiting Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni.

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Museveni offered to sell him some of his cattle; however, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries halted the importation, citing a lack of ample disease control measures in Uganda.

Ankole cattle price
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the proud owners of this breed of cattle. Photo: Russell Illig
Source: Getty Images

He was determined to become an owner and embarked on his journey by getting aid from Dr Morné de la Rey, a renowned vet and director of Embryo Plus. He purchased 43 Ankole cows and shipped them to Kenya, a destination known as Ol Pejeta, where Embryo Plus operates an embryo quarantine centre. The cows were artificially inseminated, and the embryos were removed after a few days and shipped to South Africa.

They were then transferred to the cows, and today, Ramaphosa is a proud owner of the Ankole cattle. The animals quickly adapted to the environment as they were not selective grazers. He is praised for bringing the first Ankole genetics to the country in 2004.

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Ramaphosa published a coffee table book titled Cattle of the Ages, where he expressed his love and passion for the rare breed. He is quoted saying;

They each had long, white, beautiful horns glinting in the African sun, and I suddenly became fixated and couldn’t stop looking at them. I was intrigued and in awe and immediately fell in love with these creatures.

Which is the most expensive cow in South Africa?

Most expensive cow in south africa
Ankole cattle price is determined by the demand and supply forces. Photo: Kitz-travellers
Source: Getty Images

Ankole cattle price is determined by the demand and supply forces. A few months ago, Ramaphosa’s cows’ price rose to a whopping R2.1 million. He had recently put up for sale 72 of his cows for auction.

Jacques Malan, the President of the Ankole Society of South Africa, recently revealed to Business Report why the cost for the breed is more expensive than others. He revealed that the cattle in Uganda do not undergo strict quarantine processes like those in South Africa. He was quoted saying;

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As a little boy, I remember visiting Uganda with my father and seeing this beautiful breed of cattle for the very first time. At the time, enquiries were made about bringing the cattle to South Africa, but the costs were too great. However, what the President did for this country in bringing the cattle here was phenomenal and presented many opportunities for the country.
The process of bringing these cattle to South Africa is very strict, regulated and costly. The costs can go up into the millions. Before you even bring cattle to the country, you must have a herd of cattle in South Africa. Then, send them to Uganda, where they undergo a quarantine process.

The embryo is then fertilised in Uganda, the cattle are sent to Kenya to undergo further quarantine, and many regulations and processes must be followed before bringing the cattle back to South Africa.

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Where are Ankole cows found?

What are Ankole cattle used for?
Ankole cattle are popular for their lean meat and excellent milk quality. Photo: Ian Gwinn
Source: Getty Images

This breed is rare and only found in a few African countries, such as South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania.

What are Ankole cattle used for?

These cows are popular for their lean meat and excellent milk quality. In addition, their beautiful white horns can be transformed into beer cups.

They can withstand harsh weather conditions and survive with less water and food than regular domestic livestock. This is because of their honeycombed horns, which are connected to airways that help the cows regulate their body temperature.

Fun facts about Ankole cattle

These cows reside in meadows, open forests and grassland areas. There are about 34 registered stud breeders in South Africa.

  • Some African tribes believe that the Ankole is a sacred animal.
  • They have excellent herding and protection instincts. While resting for the night, the adults bend down facing outwards while the calves remain settled in the center.
  • Some African tribes mix the blood and milk of this breed to create a high-protein drink.
  • They are also prone to falling prey to leopards and lions while grazing.
  • The Ankole cattle have a high jumping ability despite being large.
  • The meat is believed to have lower cholesterol and less fat than commercial beef.

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Ankole is a rare breed that few South Africans have encountered. The best part about the cattle is their ability to withstand unpleasant weather conditions. Unfortunately, as time goes by, the cattle price can only rise.

READ ALSO: Top 20 interesting facts about South Africa you ought to know | Details for travellers highlighted some interesting facts about South Africa to keep in mind. It is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of cultural and natural diversity.

Over the years, the southernmost African country has become a favourite tourist destination for travellers from across the globe.

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Source: Briefly News

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