Arriving here, some may feel a bit lost, out of place or have horror scenes playing in their mind. With the remote and quiet surroundings, this can be expected. However, once you’re on the property, you’ll made to feel like a welcomed guest.
After the pleasant drive from Joburg to Pretoria, we arrived at the sanctuary worried we were at the wrong place. Although well-marked, it is eerily quiet. Having arrived for the tour early, we ordered drinks at the vegan eatery, while exploring the on-site store. Drinks included a luscious hot chocolate topped with the most delicious whipped cream and a hazelnut latte crowned with melting vegan marshmallows. They were a treat, even to an omnivore palate.
The tour, which runs from 10:00 – 11:00 and 11:30 – 12:30 on Saturdays and Sundays, is completely free. The hour-long tour starts with the floppy-eared, curly-tailed pigs. There are currently three of them housed at the sanctuary, lovingly named Babe, Willow and Alfie. The tour discusses their stories in-depth, including how they got to the sanctuary, their path to health and their current lives. All while visitors get to watch as the pigs terrorise the poor ground keepers, demanding some love.
The tour then followed onto the rabbits and chickens, then to the majestic horses and the naughty goats – Basil, Libi and Beverley. Basil, has to be the personality of the sanctuary with his naughty and demanding antics. But he was able to charm us into falling in love with him at first sight. Beverley has to be the most adorable little kid we have ever seen.
Next, we got to meet the stars of the show. The ladies and the lads are a group of affectionate-hungry donkeys including India, Juliet, Charlie, Delta, Tango, Bravo and Echo. After being rescued from cruel conditions, many of these equines prefer to stay away from human interaction, which the facility supports. However, some of the donkeys have a lot of love, affection and cuddles to offer. Just be careful, a few of them are quite drawn to handbags and may choose to take a bite or steal them.
The sanctuary also has a few rescued cows. We had the honour of meeting their photogenic girl Grace, and their huge and beautiful boy, aptly named Mr T. We were also lucky enough to be afforded the opportunity to play with the cow’s flaps, the loose skin under their necks, and to get some soggy kisses. These animals, who were tortured in the farm and animal testing industry, now live full and happy lives thanks to all the hard work from the dedicated team at Asher’s.
When the tour, sloppy kisses and Instagram snaps were done, we decided to end the day with a meal and mini shopping spree. Their store and eatery can easily be described as the Pretorian version of The Fussy Vegan, with the hard-to-find vegan items and scrumptious vegan fare. The menu is small but includes a range of coffees and milkshakes, burgers and hot dogs. We decided to try the Turkish Delight Milkshake, the Crumbed Burger and the Beyond Meat Burger, both served with a side salad and chips.
While waiting for our order, we browsed through the selection at their store. The selection includes vegan biltong, chocolate and caramel sauces, Nature and Moi cheese, vegan ice cream, cool drinks, bags, vegan hot chocolate, vegan sweets, vegan chocolate, Asher’s Farm Sanctuary shirts and hoodies, black salt, jack fruit and so much more. And all the proceeds from this and the eatery, go towards caring for the animals on the farm.
After making a few purchases and sponsoring our chosen fluff balls (the noble Mr T and the playful Basil), we sat down for our meal. Wow. The Turkish Delight Milkshake, which was vegan, was mouth-watering and delectable. The salt and pepper chips were golden and crisp on the outside and perfectly fluffy on the inside. And the burgers? The Crumbed Burger was a “chicken” schnitzel on a fresh bun with creamy and tangy sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion slices, cheese and grilled pickles. The Beyond Meat Burger was glorious in size and taste. And for those who haven’t tried it yet, it does look and taste exactly like real beef. Or at least the way we remember it tasting.
This was a wonderfully entertaining and informative day out, fulled with vivacious personalities, tasty food and lots of love. We’ll definitely be back soon.