Our alpaca herd make up the greatest proportion of the Serena family, with us currently caring for over 220 alpacas within the rolling hills of our 77 hectare farm. That makes Serena Alpacas the largest herd of alpacas in Africa and it is a number that is growing each year. Take a few minutes to watch the video and meet our herd...
If you aren’t familiar with these beautiful creatures, alpacas are animals revered as having a certain majestic presence. Our herd is made up of a breed called ‘Huacaya’, which translated from Quecha means ‘sacred soul.’ Not at all surprising for an animal famed for having a captivating and calming effect on all who meet them.
Beyond their personalities, alpacas are special for the nature of their fleece. Having originated from South America, high up in the mountainous Andes, alpacas naturally developed a fleece that kept them comfortable in extreme temperatures; from 25oC in the day to -20 oC during the night. Within each fibre of the fleece is a microscopic air pocket that enhances insulation, adds to the beautifully soft texture of the fleece and keeps the fibre light in weight. For thousands of years the Andean people have lovingly fashioned this special fleece into clothing and blankets and it has been traditionally considered both a symbol of status and a prized item for trading.
The finest grades of alpaca fleece were reserved for use by nobility and were a sign of sheer prosperity and abundance. Understandably, many refer to this luxury fibre as the ‘fibre of the Gods’ and it is for this reason that we craft our duvets from alpaca fibre, celebrating its warmth, luxury, softness and light weight by encasing it in pure cotton for a peaceful night sleep every night of the year.
We really do love our herd which is why we make sure each alpaca is cared for and nurtured to the best of our ability. For us, that means we use selective breeding techniques that are natural and non invasive. We carefully select our males based on the characteristics of their fibre so a new generation of alpacas is birthed with longer, softer and more uniform fleece. Even more than that, we know that happy alpacas make for the most luxurious of fleeces which is why our alpacas are treated with the utmost respect, free to roam our extensive and well cared for land, living natural lives among the herd.
We chose our home in Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Midlands for its cold winter temperatures and, of course, its magnificent landscapes. It is important for the Serena Alpaca family that we treat our land as well as we do our alpacas. So we follow natural and holistic practices when it comes to looking after our land as we believe Mother Nature knows best! That means our nutritious grass fields are naturally irrigated and nourished. That means our nutritious grass fields are naturally irrigated and nourished. We use permaculture techniques in order that we maintain a nutrient rich soil that is free from harmful chemicals. In the winter we supplement our beautiful Kukuya grass with alternative vitamins and minerals found in nature and, for our pregnant alpaca moms, we plant winter crops that provide them with a diverse diet to keep them and their babies as healthy as possible.
This nature-led way of looking after the land extends to how we treat our un-well alpacas too. Our excellent team of caregivers treat our sick or injured alpacas using natural elixirs that include garlic, ginger, diatoms and apple cider vinegar among other health restoring ingredients found in nature’s larder. The farm even makes its own colloidal silver water, historically known for its use in treating a whole host of ailments. Whatever the challenge, we believe that nature knows best and so we gently listen to our rolling hills needs, meeting them with solutions found in nature, confident that that makes for happy alpacas and a quality fleece.
It is here, at the mill, where the magic happens and our beautiful alpaca fleece is taken through a careful process that results in a lovingly made, luxury duvet. The same love and nature-led methods that we apply to our land and herd of alpacas doesn’t stop at the mill door but continues through our eco-friendly process of producing your Serena Alpacas’ Luxury Duvet.
That means that no toxic waste is produced during the making of our duvets. We only use natural, biodegradable cleaning solutions to wash and prepare the precious alpaca fibres, and it is this environmentally conscious approach that means we can proudly say our fleece maintains its natural, hypoallergenic properties.
More technically, we have designed a wash system that reduces wash water consumption by 84%. The hot water we use to thoroughly wash our fleece is heated to 80oC by four large solar power geysers; dramatically reducing our energy costs thus helping the environment.
After the fleece has been carefully dried on one of our racks it passes through the ‘Lulubelle Carding Machine,’ turning the fleece into a soft, fluffy, ‘cotton wool’ like texture while removing any grit and vegetation that got caught up in the fibre. At the duvet filler station the fleece is laid between the first layers of fabric and enclosed with our unique pocketing design. Next, the pure cotton fabric layers are draped over the base layer, our logo is precisely stitched onto the fabric and the edges are neatly bound.
The final stage of the process at the mill sees the finished duvet guided through a quality control check before being Serena stamped and approved, beautifully packaged and sent off to its new, happy owner, set to provide them with a lifetime of luxury, peaceful sleeps.