Estancia Nibepo Aike, dedicated to cattle rearing with a breeding herd of Hereford and many remnants from the times when sheep production was at its height, is a readily accessible spot from El Calafate, for immersing yourself in the life of an authentic Patagonian estancia.
We depart from El Calafate in the morning along an unmade road known as “the road to the estancias”. We reach the estancia after travelling along the edge of Lago Roca and having entered Los Glaciares National
The host guide welcomes us to the Estancia and takes us to the Quincho [rustic dining room] where we will be invited to have a hot drink (tea, coffee or mate) accompanied by home-made cakes and pastries.
We go for a walk around the main building, to learn about this estancia which was formerly devoted to sheep rearing and nowadays has become a prestigious Hereford breeding ranch of these latitudes, while still retaining a small herd of sheep.
At the stables, those who have chosen to do a horse-ride will be given a mount and go out to explore the surroundings accompanied by a guide. Meanwhile the rest of the group has a good long walk during which there are excellent views to discover the diverse rocky outcrops eroded by glacial action. The route may vary according to weather conditions.
After the walk or horse-ride, the group meets up again at the door of the shearing shed. This is a chance to see inside such a shed with all its skilled hands and understand the work of the shearing teams.
There´s also a demonstration horse handling skills, or according to the rural activities of the day, working with the herd in the corrals close to the main buildings. Between the daily activities the guest could also be able to participate at the morning of the cow milking and at the afternoon of the herding sheep (these activities are subject to the weather conditions).
Returning to the Quincho where a whole lamb is being roasted on a vertical stake in traditional Patagonian way, emphasis is on the history of the place, retelling anecdotes and stories from the early settlers.
Back in El Calafate, the experience of life on a typical Patagonian estancia will have given a fresh outlook on things, making more sense of the wide open Patagonian landscapes characteristically stretching out into the remoteness of infinity.