Alpacas: growing up, I loved visiting these cuddly animals at the Kinderzoo Rapperswil. Their heads would move in sync as I would approach their enclosure. And if I got lucky, I overheard the alpacas humming.
Several decades later, alpacas have turned into an Internet meme. No wonder: they are still as adorable as I remember them from my childhood! When Alpaka Erlebnisse Schweiz reached out and invited us to one of their pastures, I did not think twice: a session of alpaca yoga would be the perfect opportunity to reunite with these furry party animals…
It turns out that alpacas don’t just love yoga, they are also into hiking - and even painting. While researching all the ways to meet the alpacas in Switzerland, I decided to try many of these just as soon as spring is here. Where to start with all these choices?
Alpaca yoga at the scenic Greifensee
Since slots fill up quickly, we have scheduled our very first session of alpaca yoga ahead of time. For most dates, there were just a few spaces left. That’s usually because participants hold out until the last moment when it is clear what the weather would be like.
In order to offer outdoor yoga classes held among grazing alpaca, Alpaka Erlebnisse Schweiz cooperates with different breeders and yoga teachers. For those living in Zürich, Alpaka am Greifensee located in Maur will be the closest option.
Bus 701 from Klusplatz stops at “Maur, Platten” which is right by the alpaca pasture. We bring our own yoga mats as well as plenty of water and some snacks for after the session.
On this August evening, the meadow appears unkempt and natural, with clover and various flowers. It feels great to walk through the tall grass barefoot. We place our mats in a vacant area. And to keep our backpack away from the curious alpaca, we place it on one of the apple trees.
With views of Lake Greifensee below, this is such a perfect setting for outdoor yoga. But where are the alpaca? Our yoga instructor, Nadia, introduces the local alpaca breeder, Barbara Zollinger, who is about to lift the secret.
The alpacas are actually kept in an enclosure next to the pasture. After Barbara opens the gate and whistles, it takes a minute for the first alpaca to walk through. Then another, and another. When it rains, it pours, and before we knew it, we were surrounded by 25 cuddly animals!
The animals’ humming communication sets the tone for pure relaxation. Since this is their chance to graze on a pristine meadow, the animals are in constant motion. Some alpacas keep a distance from us yogis while others seemingly ignore our presence. At one point, an alpaca decides to munch on clover right beside my yoga mat… Despite the proximity, I have no fear and simply enjoy this special moment.
Nadia’s instructions are in English and Swiss German. In her explanations, she masterfully incorporates the sights and sounds of our place and time. I find it beautiful how she points out the clouds passing by, the chirping insects, or the light summer breeze. My mind is at ease and I feel that regular sessions with her would do me good - even without alpaca.
I would like to challenge you to try alpaca yoga at least once, even if you are inexperienced at yoga. Instead of exhausting yourself with a downward dog, you could always sit out an exercise and instead observe the alpaca herd. Try locking eyes with an alpaca and you will feel the calming vibes they spread…
Alpacas in Switzerland: additional experiences 🦙
While I loved alpaca yoga, I get that this may not be everyone’s thing. That’s why Alpaka Erlebnisse Schweiz, among other hosts, offers other experiences to meet alpacas in Switzerland. Below are some highlights, but have a look at the alpaca community listings to find a place or experience near you.
There are numerous possibilities for alpaca trekking in Switzerland, but the idea behind this activity is always the same: each participant gets paired up with an alpaca for a hike. Along the way, there is usually a picnic which the alpacas have dutifully carried along.
Bern and Seeland:
- Alpaka am Berg (Flumenthal SO)
- Alpakafarm (Wengi b. Büren BE)
- Alpakahof Bern (Ortschwaben BE)
- Alpaka Trekking (Balmberg SO)
- Funrange Alpakahof (Selzach SO)
- Gnöd5 Erlebnishof (Hägendorf SO)
- Natürlich Freizeit (Lamboing BE)
- Alpaka am Greifensee (Maur)
- Alpaka Zürich Oberland (Bauma)
- Alpakahof (Opfikon)
- Tumigerhof (Greifensee)
- Yacana Farm (Gossau)
- Alpaca Trekking Wednesday (Bellwald/Goms VS)
- Alpajama (Fräschels FR)
- Lampaga (Romainmôtier VD)
- Lama- und Alpakahof (Triesenberg, Liechtenstein)
- Rarner Chumma (Raron VS)
- TierErlebnisHof (Urnäsch AR)
Painting with alpacas
Alpacas are not only cute but also very versatile: they provide wool, graze the meadows, and are utterly creative. At least they have a way of unleashing the creativity in us humans.
As such, Alpaka Erlebnisse Schweiz offers painting workshops held among a herd of alpacas. This year’s workshops take place in Köniz BE, Maur ZH, Hägendorf SO and Selzach SO.
Can you imagine looking into the black eyes of an alpaca, cute as can be with its long eyelashes and soft fur? The workshop takes approximately two hours and is held outdoors. Thanks to the step-by-step guidance of the teacher, Jana, each participant will be able to create their very own acrylic painting. I am sure that your inner artist will be activated in this unique setting.