It is no coincidence that Alzette Mocke of Le Bonheur Croc Farm looks more like Beatrix Potter than Crocodile Dundee.

This soft-spoken, gentle and charming lady is an artist and a published illustrator of children’s books. Her editorial illustrations also appear in a variety of publications. She is known to the publishing world by her maiden name - Alzette Prins.

When she is not busy in her studio on their family croc farm, Alzette is managing the Visitors Centre there, while her two brothers, Mick and Kadys and their cousin, Jurgen, manage the farming side of the business.

Le Bonheur, (which is French for “Happiness”) is on the Babylonstoren Road (between the R45 and Simondium Road). The farm was purchased by Alzette’s father over 50 years ago, and initially run as a fruit farm.

In the 1980’s her father decided to try his hand at crocodile farming and the initial breeding stock of crocodiles were brought in from Botswana.

He soon realised that the Cape winters were too cold to allow for the breeding of crocodiles. Subsequently a breeding farm was set up in Mpumalanga, from where the baby crocs get brought down to Cape Town when they are about 3 months, and one ruler-length old!

Over a thousand crocs are retained on the farm for the education and delight of visitors – and can be viewed from ramp-ways above the pens during the frequent daily guided tours.

Growing up on a crocodile farm has had its challenging moments for the family, one of which took place just prior to Alzette’s wedding. It involved her brother building a platform on the dam for use at the wedding, under the vigilant gaze of an old crocodile, who had escaped from the croc enclosure. The situation was fortunately remedied before the happy event took place!

On one occasion, they were notified by Cape Nature Conservation that there was a crocodile in the Eerste River in Stellenbosch. Presuming it to belong to Le Bonheur, they were advised that they needed to come and collect their property.

The presence of this croc mystified the Le Bonheur family until they received a phone call from a guilt-stricken Maties student who confessed that they had stolen the baby croc some time earlier from the farm as a prank. Having kept it in a bath at one of the male residences for weeks, it had started to become a danger, so they released it into the local waterway!

The roaming reptile was duly captured and returned to the farm.

Crocodiles are fascinating, prehistoric creatures that owe their survival to the fact that they can go for long periods without food. During the cold months of winter, they slow their metabolism down completely, and stop eating for about 4 months. A fully grown crocodile can actually go without food for a whole year if necessary!

Another interesting fact is that during the average life-time of a croc, he will go through about 40 sets of teeth! (No need to floss, when they can just be replaced!)

Apart from the guided tours that visitors to Le Bonheur can enjoy, there is also a licensed cafe (where specialities like croc spring rolls can be sampled), a function venue, facilities for children’s parties, and a gift shop.

Picnic baskets can be ordered and enjoyed on the banks of the dam, and rods can be hired for “catch and release” bass fishing.

This scenic and fascinating farm is just one of the many interesting country places that can be visited on the doorstep of the Tygerberg area. Go to www.capecountrycalls.co.za to find out more about them.

 

Web Design by Pixagraphics Toolbox