The Africander is a native South African breed. It belongs to the Sanga type and is used primarily for meat production. The breed is usually red with long lateral horns. Sanga cattle, in huge herds, were owned by the Hottentots when the Dutch established the Cape Colony in 1652. The animals were obtained by the colonists who improved them for use as draft animals. It was Africander oxen that drew the wagons which carried Boer farmers and families on the Great Trek of 1835 – 36 from the Cape of Good Hope to the Orange Free State, Natal and the Transvaal to escape British rule. Whe word trek is originally Afrikaans, meaning draft.
The Africander is South Africa’s most popular native breed, comprising 30% of the cattle population. Africander cattle exhibit good resistance to heat, a high level of tick resistance, quiet temperament and a satisfactorily high level of fertility under harsh conditions. Mature cows weigh approximately 525 to 600 kg (1150 – 1350 pounds) and bulls weigh 750 to 1000 kg (1650 – 2200 pounds).
The Africander was used with Shorthorn in developing the Bonsmara breed and with Holstein in creating the Drakensberger.
Africander in Australia
The small numbers of Africander cattle in Australia have developed from a relatively small base importation from America. As it belongs to the Bos indicus group, the Africander is mainly found in the hot-tropical-humid and sub-tropical-dry areas of Australia.
The Africander tends to mature late and yields a carcass with comparatively low fat. Through the use of bulls and frozen semen, the Africander has been used in up-grading indigenous cattle in tropical countries as it passes on fertility, docility and excellent weight gains to progeny.