If you've never been to the south of Namibia, you are missing out big time! This part of Namibia is hot and beautiful, full of sand and beautiful, some places chock-a-block full of rocks and stones and beautiful, harsh but always, always beautiful! Part of the diverse beautiful Namibia that we so dearly love.
Hartebeestloop Bonsmaras mainly operate from the southern part of Namibia, on the farm Hartebeestloop. Stampriet is the closest town (17 km away) and the area is also well known for the huge underground water reservoir. The Stampriet Artesian Basin (see the lighter area on map) is the largest source of groundwater in Namibia and this shallow artesian water coupled with the mineral rich iron-oxide earth, is utilised for successful vegetable crop growing as well as a potential supply of feed for animals during periods of drought. It is reassuring to know that fresh and clean drinking water for animals is never really a problem.
|Hartebeestloop lies in the Stampriet water basin (light brown area in map) |
This area of the Kalahari is covered with calcrete and dune sand. Hartebeestloop and the adjacent farms where Hartebeestloop Farming is operated from, have typical red longitudinal sand dunes (10-15m high in a NNW-SSE direction) and in between those, scenic grass "streets", filled with a variety of grass species and acasia trees (mostly Camelthorn). It is assumed that these linear dunes were formed during the last glacial period when a persistant high pressure cell circulated over the subcontinent, resulting in strong dry windstorms.
The density and quality of the vegetation on Hartebeestloop depends on seasonal rainfall (average 220 mm per year) and the carrying capasity is in the range of 30 - 35 hectares per large stock unit.
Dassiesfontein further to the west, near Mariental, on the other hand, is a rock and stone treasure! The landscape is flat and you are literally walking on rock everywhere.
|At Dassiesfontein, rocks are literally everywhere! |
Why do we farm in such different regions of Namibia? Farmers from the Kalahari region do not want to buy animals from the rocky areas because they are afraid of unwanted and excessive claw growth. On the other hand, farmers from the rocky parts do not want to buy animals from the Kalahari dune veld, because they believe that the hooves are too soft and will not withstand the rocks. We are moving animals constantly from the sandy dunes to the rocky areas and back and have proven to the farmers that with careful selection, bulls can be bred with excellent claws and hooves that will last in any area. Every year at the auction, we sell bulls from both areas.
Joggie Briedenhann has been managing Hartebeestloop Farming with various managers over the years. Joggie himself, is based in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and runs the farming enterprise from there. He is a practising orthodontist and is married to Eugenie; they have 3 children.
|Photograph taken late afternoon on|
Hartebeestloop in one of the game camps
As Joggie grew up in a household where the buying and selling of cattle was the main income, he always longed to be back in that business. He was born in Aroab but grew up in the north (Grootfontein). The south is definitely very different to the North, but in time he adapted and learnt many (hard) lessons!
of the Hartebeestloop enterprise are hand picked and play a major role in the business.
Nico Visser (Accountant) assisted Joggie with managing the farm from Windhoek, until 2014. Financing the whole operation, took some careful planning. Anita Schroër started with Hartebeestloop Farming in 2005 and was based on the farm Okongona. When her youngest daughter finished school, she left to join her husband full time on their farms, further south.
Pieter Visagie took over for a brief period as the Stud Manager. He has a Masters degree in Agriculture and is an expert in BLUP values and the use thereof.
Hano Swart grew up in the area and took over from him in 2015. He is married to Renee. JP de Klerk has been appointed as the Operational Manager in 2015.
Timotheus Kanime and Pius have been looking after the various groups of bulls, and nothing escapes their eyes!
Other employees are equally valuable and the enterprise is fortunate to be surrounded by a group of workers who really work well together and understand the bigger picture.
friends of the Briedenhann’s are instrumental in the success of this enterprise. They support and help, laugh and cry with the crew and are always just a phone call away.
The farm Hartebeestloop was aquired in 2001. Back then, it was a Dorper and Karakul sheep farm with just the usual game found in this part of Namibia. The Bonsmara stud was founded in 2002 with the proud purchase of 80 Bonsmara stud animals from Woestyn Bonsmaras (the late Ponk O'Kennedy).
|Black Face Impala and Sable, part of our vast numbers of game species. |
Hartebeestloop Farming is constantly looking at new ventures. The Bonsmara stud is well established and the game division has expanded to having most of the common as well as exotic game species that can survive in the area. Agricultural activities have been added and Hartebeestloop is producing lucern, oats and maze for own use as well as to the retail market.
The natural choice for cattle was Bonsmara as their system of compulsory performance testing fits the way Joggie wants to farm. The Bonsmara's ability to adapt to the very hot summers and cold winters in Namibia, was a contributing factor in his choice of breed. Some of the farms are covered with grass, some with sand and some with mere rocks – the Bonsmara has proven itself to adapt to all of these conditions. Namibian farmers believe in "no pampering and sissying" of their cattle - the Bonsmara stands out as the breed of choice.
Says Joggie: “I made a lot of mistakes in my stud farming in the beginning! We were so busy with numerous other very necessary things – fencing the farm (for cattle as well as game), drilling for water, laying water pipelines to the camps, to name just a few - not to mention getting the farmhouse ready for hosting friends and family! This caused me to make some crucial mistakes in the beginning. Slowly but surely I acquired the right animals (and got rid of the wrong ones) and slowly but surely I also acquired the knowledge to run such an enterprise. This however is an ongoing journey which never ceases to amaze me!” The wise Chinese proverb stating that “The journey is the reward”, is ever so true of Joggie's rewardful journey.
Joggie feels strong about breeding the right genetic material for Namibia. He also believes in veld-reared animals, that can withstand the conditions and heat.
He started off by acquiring his first genetic material from South Africa from various breeders in 2005. This never came cheap, but was instrumental in quickly getting Hartebeestloop Bonsmaras going. Never did Joggie budge on price at the various auctions for the "right" animals. Most of these animals have now been phased out (old age and failure to meet Joggie's approval). He has managed to breed his own Stud Sires and Stud Cows that are now in use. He feels confident that he is on the right way as his Cow herd has won numerous awards over several years. His stud has also been nominated amongst the best in Southern Africa more than once.
Today the stud comprises of 1500 Bonsmaras – their worth and preciousness compared to the stunning diamonds found in Namibia, as captured in the stud's logo and advertisements every year.
Every year the stud is growing – since the year 2012, Hartebeestloop Bonsmaras has presented more than 50 carefully selected bulls for sale every year.
Joggie was privileged that early on in his endeavour, he became friends with knowledgeable Bonsmara breeders and consultants. Amongst others, Arthur de Villiers and Danie Bosman. Danie is still "on board" and can be seen on the yearly auctions, ready to give advice to prospective buyers.
Joggie is not shy to ask questions and also to question things. He will learn from all and anybody. Japie Bestebreutje (Windhoek) became his consultant in 2013, and Hartebeestloop Bonsmaras since then, never looked back. “I advocate the use of independent experts as it has worked so well for me. I also treasure our local Bonsmara circle of friends for help and advice, or to just sometimes listen to my misery!”, says Joggie.
Hartebeestloop Farming sadly reminiscence the 2 managers who have passed away - Cobus Blaauw who had a fatal car accident in 2007 and Joggie’s brother, Johan, who had a heart attack in January 2011.
passed away in September 2012. He was a legend and a very good friend.
They are all surely missed.
The south of Namibia is notorious for long periods of drought. Namibia has experienced some very good rainy seasons until 2012 and we thank our Maker for that. Since then unfortunately we have experienced severe drought and can only hope and pray for good seasons to come soon!
We have seen a keen demand for quality Bonsmaras among breeders and commercial farmers alike. Right now Hartebeestloop Farming knows they are in the right business at the right time, with a world craving for meat and more meat!
Enough said and let’s conclude by taking the wise advice of George Burns of what he said of a sermon – which we can surely make applicable to our website! –
to have a good beginning and a good ending and keep the two as close together as possible!