About Akabeko

The dream of a boutique hotel became a reality in early 2016 when the Akabeko project was completed after 3 years of construction. AKABEKO is built in a valley with fantastic natural views on the river and mountain cliffs and a dense forest. This was the favourite spot on the Ranch where family and friends came together to picnic, relax and appreciate nature.

The name AKABEKO was chosen for its simple meaning that relate to the hundreds of “Red Cows” that roams around the farm.

AKABEKO Boutique Hotel is a private property which is located in the heart of the First Generation Tait Family owned Cattle Ranch.

The 2000 ha Cattle Ranch is home to more than 500 Bonsmara Cattle, the same number of Marino sheep and 15 different Game Species. The Arabian horse stud “Abu Monia “ is named after Monia Tait who is the General Manager of AKABEKO. George Tait, owner and Entrepreneur of several local and international business entities has dreamt for years of building a Boutique Hotel of his own. The Family Ranch is located 1900m above sea level in one of the most beautiful areas in Mpumalanga with its waved grass mountains that remind you of the Scottish highlands.


“AKABEKO (赤べこ , meaning “Red Cow” in Japanese) is a legendary cow from the Aizu region of Fukushima in Japan. In 1611 the Aizu region was hit by a big earthquake . Aizu was greatly damaged with many casualties. Houses and temples were destroyed. The people rebuild their lives and in 1617 they tried to rebuild the Kokuzoudo temple which was located on a rocky hill. The workers had a really hard time carrying up the lumber from nearby villages near the upper stream of the Tadamigawa river to the top of the hill. It is said that while the workers struggled, suddenly, a herd of powerful Red Cows and Bulls appeared from nowhere and helped them carry the lumber. The cattle disappeared after the completion of the temple except for 1 cow that refused to leave the temple. When the cow died the people made a cow statue to show their appreciation and asked visitors to touch it. Based on this legend AKABEKO became a representation of persistence, strength and happiness. The cute traditional AKABEKO toy is a copy of the statue and is produced with the techniques of Aizu Hariko (moulding). The toy was created by Gamo Ujisato, a servant who called on doll makers from Aizu to teach their doll making techniques to low-class Samurai in order to establish a foundation of culture, economy and industry in Aizu. This AKABEKO toy making tradition was carried over by many generations and the AIZU region economy is benefitting from this toy until today. AKABEKO is one of the cutest of all traditional crafts in Japan and is loved by people of all ages around the world. It is said that the sight of an adorable AKABEKO toy brings inner sense of joy, happiness, peace and love in us.”

We at AKABEKO Boutique Hotel & Spa strive to bring this ultimate experience to all of our guests.