The world's best goat-watching spots: Study finds 'goats love it when you smile at them'

People-watching is an activity many engage in, not only when flipping through Instagram Stories, when commuting on the train or sitting at the Sea Point promenade watching people pass/jog/strut by, but, for many, it is a quintessential part of a travelling experience - almost an anthropological journey into local culture. 

However, trends are shifting and some travellers are enjoying more than just watching people. Some even heading to specific locations around the globe just to interact with animals. Currently, goats.

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Goats have been the subject of many a funny meme, there are 222 000 000 results on Google when you search for 'goat videos' (fainting goats being the biggest players here by far!) and The Cut has even referred to the goat as the new dog. 

Could it be?

Man's (new) best friend. 

A recent study by the Royal Society, called 'Goats prefer positive human emotional facial expressions' found that goats like it when you smile at them. The results of the study pointed to goats having very little desire to interact with those humans who have an angry face.

Smiling is preferred. 

Just doing my part

A post shared by Amelia Diamond (@amilli0naire) on

And the world is getting into it. Not so much smiling at goats directly or as a regular activity, but smiling in their general direction. 

Lithuania already has a Goat Beauty Pageant, says the BBC, which basically means we like looking at them for extended periods, be that in appreciation of their fun, playful side, or because, maybe, just maybe, they bring out the best in us too. 

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The world's best goat-watching spots:

Faroe Islands, a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark


                                                                              (Goats roaming in Trøllanes, Faroe Islands. Photo: André Crous) 

So with a crisp summer season average of 13°C, this is not a spot for sunning oneself. It is, however, a nature-lovers dream. Complete with goat-watching to boot. Come rain, shine, or snow. Lots of goats to be seen in the area known as Trøllanes, a village on the northern part of the islands. 

But there are sheep everywhere!

Mittenwald, Germany

After spending around four months grazing the mountains, Avax says that around this time every year herders dressed in Bavarian traditional garb navigate a herd of goats down to the town. 

And curious on-lookers enjoy the parade of goats passing through town.

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goats, Germany

(Bavarian herder leading goats down the mountain in Mittenwald, Germany. Photo: Getty) 


                                                       (Herder leading goats through town in Mittenwald, Germany. Photo: Getty)  

Alaska, British Columbia

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the vast majority of the world's mountain goats live in the Alaskan mountains. If you're keen to go goat-roaming, it's important to note that they move to sheltered areas during autumn and winter, and can be found in lower elevations. 

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Bloggers and Instagram seem to be smitten with the mountain goats trotting along the slopes of these mountains, as there are so many posts about them. They seem to be spotted mostly around the Grays and Torreys peaks, which are both over 14,000 foot (4,26km) high peaks in Colorado. 

Fairview, Paarl

Wine, cheese and some goat-watching! This sounds like the perfect Saturday. Now is also the best time of year to go, as Fairview says "Each year during September, we experience a very special time on the farm when our nanny goats welcome their kids into the world – and on occasion, we’ll bring them up to the Goat Tower so you can welcome them too!" 

CAPE WINELANDS: Alternative activities to warm you up

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