The whole ambience is exceptional; you can’t really understand it, until you experience it yourself! It’s a unique day out for all ages, from children to grandparents. Our numerous questionnaires as well as the guest book at the Donkey Farm provide some interesting statistics: 100% customer satisfaction; 50% would like to come back again; and 10% ask if they can spend the night at the Farm.
Our aim is focussed not only on the satisfaction we give to our guests, but also on the healthy breeding program we have instituted for the benefit of the 90 donkeys we shelter. A couple of important points: Each donkey bears a sub-skin microchip and we have a strong program of preventive medical treatment for all the animals.
ARGONAFTIS Donkey Farm location: The farm is located in 19 hectares of land approximately 30 km East of Paphos in the Xeros river valley, one of the most untouched and tranquil parts of the island. The beautiful landscape, the variety of plants and wild life and the authentic sounds of Nature in this area, makes it the perfect setting for nature lovers. Our facilities attempt to blend in with the natural environment. Stone & wood are the main materials and we can accommodate up to 160 people for lunch or dinner during winter months, and 300 people or more in the summer.
Kelokedara Village: Is part of a special environmentalist tourism project, dealing with concepts known as “sustainable” and/or agro-tourism. The main aim is to help local village economies participate in tourism without changing their traditional lifestyles. The village lies on the eastern slope of the Xeros River. In Kelokedara, there are less than 300 inhabitants with an average age of 55 years old. Young people are leaving the village to go and work in the towns. During the Ottoman Period (1571-1878) and the period of British colonial rule (1878-1960), the village served as an administrative centre for the area and therefore one still finds such facilities as an old police station and a courthouse. The abandoned primary school is now used as a cultural centre. A short time will be given to wander around the village and enjoy the typical Cypriot architecture and atmosphere, found only in such remote areas of Cyprus.
The Village Bus: Some things just keep on running, like this old Bedford “chicken bus,” still in action with Mr. Christodoulos as the driver. Mr. Christodoulos bought the bus new in 1969, and for the past 34 years he his bus acted as a life-line for the village, transporting villagers down to the towns and urban centers. In the old days, this bus was the only means for locals to go do their shopping or for older students to reach their school in Paphos. The village bus also supplies the village with the necessary supplies and brings in the daily post.
Today, Argonaftis has drafted this bus to transfer all the adventurous Donkey Riders down to the Farm, a 15-minute journey through picturesque landscape dotted with orange groves.
Local delicacies: On arrival at the Donkey farm guests will sample many of local delicacies such as halloumi cheese, “sushukko”, village bread, olives, cucumber, all of them produced and made in the village, as well as local wine, the famous local distilled “Zivania”.
Donkey Riding: All visitors will have a chance to meet and pet the friendly baby donkeys before a demonstration and a safety briefing will take place about how to ride & control the Cyprus Donkey. Each rider will be assessed according to his/her weight & will be given the appropriate donkey. Then we will start our ride that will take us for about 25 minutes through the riverbed and along country tracks passing local shepherds with the flocks of grazing sheep and goats. The entire Donkey Ride is conducted under the watchful supervision of our professional staff to ensure safety and comfort for all.)
At the far end of the valley nestled in the hills we will find the 16thC Sindi monastery. Once at the monastery, we will have an approx. 20-minute break for guiding, light refreshments and free time to wonder around on your own.
Sindi Monastery: This is an abandoned 16th century monastery, which has been restored by UNESCO. In 1997 this restoration project was granted the prestigious EUROPA NOSTRA award and was recognised as a World Cultural Heritage monument. It is surrounded by some of the most spectacular landscape in Cyprus. Watermills: There are ruins of four watermills in the area, remnants of an era long past, when wheat and barely were cultivated widely and abundant amounts of water flowed regularly through the valley. Now the river is flowing only during the winter months December to May and is dry during the rest of the year.
Lunch or Dinner: The meal is a mix of typical Cypriot homemade dishes, such as afelia (pork with wine and coriander), pourgouri (cracked Bulgar wheat) tzatziki (yogurt dip), mixed vegetables, souvla (BBQ pork with oregano & CHICKEN), potatoes in the oven, village bread, salad and lemon. Village wine and zivania will be served through the meal with squash for the children.
Fully Stocked Bar: Soft drinks, beers or other import alcoholic drinks can be bought at reasonable prices.
The “Party”: After the meal we will entertain you with Greek and Cypriot music & dancing, including the famous sirtaki, which will tempt you to join in. The Argonaftis Donkey Farm team will be there to entertain you and to make sure that all your questions and requests will be fulfilled. We go on with some Latin and English music before turning back to some slow and romantic music where you can dance the night away under the stars. A final sirtaki will signal an end to the festivities.
Certificate: A diploma will be handed out to every participant who completed all the ‘tests’: zivania drinking, sirtaki dancing, and donkey riding. Take it home as a souvenir and as proof that you were initiated into traditional Cyprus village culture, and that you were able to capture the original spirit of the island.