The first and only academy of its kind in the world. The genius behind The Herding Academy is that sheep are being used to mimic the natural migratory movements of animals and in so doing, this brittle landscape is being rehabilitated, perhaps most significantly, in the midst of a drought! ‘Sheep farming has traditionally centered around keeping sheep in the same camp for most of their lives which of course leads to overgrazing,’ explains Johan Brouwer, the manager of The Herding Academy.
‘Now the soil has time to recover, and to allow for the germination of new grass and plant life that serves to increase the organic content or carbon bank of the soil.’ The Academy accepted its first intake of 12 students in 2018 and offers a year-long course that is mostly field-based with students getting out into the veld for seven days at a time to herd sheep in spurts of intensive grazing. In addition, it teaches the ancient skills of migratory and pastoral herding to both men and women and with an estimated 30,000 herders needed in South Africa alone, the import of this training cannot be underestimated.