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Damaras are a breed of sheep originating from central Africa. The breed were separated from all other sheep breeds for about 2000 years and has never been genetically altered through breeding for particular traits such as white and woolly like almost all other sheep breeds. They are naturally immune to many diseases and parasites, so due to this fact they can survive in very hostile environments where other sheep breeds would perish. They do prefer dry arid conditions best.
The sheep come in all shades of black, brown and white. Often mistaken for goats by lay people from a distance because people are unused to seeing coloured sheep.
Damaras were kept by local tribesmen of what is now Namibia for thousands of years. In fact the name ‘Damara’ comes from Damaraland in that area.
The nomadic tribesmen kept the sheep for meat and their beautifully marked hides. They maintained a totem system for meat consumption matching the common colourings and markings of the Damara sheep hide. This allowed them to naturally ration scarce proteins to a particular totem. E.g.-Only those with totems for solid tan coloured sheep could eat meat from that colour category. The tribesmen have never bred the sheep for any particular colour so you can have a solid black ewe produce white offspring or the other way around.
About the middle of last century some South African farmers recognized the worth of the breed and began the first Damara Sheep flocks in South Africa. All Damara sheep worldwide have pretty much continued from those beginnings.
Our Damara Stud is helping to maintain for future generations the large gene pool of purebred Damaras available in South Africa as importation of any further genetic material from any sheep breeds has been banned by the South African Government due to the prevalence of Scrapie Disease in many sheep flocks and breeds worldwide.