Aquila Safari: Private Game Reserve
No trip to Africa is complete without driving through the desert admiring “unconventional” animals in their natural habitat. On the Safari must see list are the Big 5: rhinos, buffalos, elephants, leopards, and of course Lions. Aquila Game Reserve is one of many Safari’s offered near Cape Town that prides itself on viewing The Big 5.
Aquila Private Game Reserve offers several packages from overnight safari’s to day trips, from horseback riding to riding in 4X4 open jeeps. There are also several accommodation options to select from. Housing can range from R3000 to R12000 a night.
Aquila Reserve is located about 2 hours away from Cape Town. You can reach the reserve by driving to Aquila or by purchasing the transportation package. Aquila only picks up around Cape Town city center so plan accordingly.
If you drive to the reserve, parking is free. The premise is guarded and you will need to check in before proceeding into the Safari.
Check in was quick and easy. You will need to sign a few forms. Before entering into the lobby, help yourself to a nice glass of wine located to the right of the entrance way.
Breakfast and Lunch is provided.
After checking in, proceed to the dining area. A host(ess) will be there to escort you to your seat. Breakfast is buffet-style and has all sorts of choices. There are tons of vegetarian options from mushrooms to tomatoes to tarts. There are several options for carnivores as well.
Juice and water are complimentary. Ordering anything else will cost you a few rands.
Lunch is also buffet-style and filled with unique African favorites. There were chicken, beans, sponge cake, and other anonymous mixtures. Everything was tasty so sample everything.
For lunch, there are no complimentary drinks but there are servers walking around taking drink orders.
Aquila takes you around their reserve on a 4×4 open jeep for 90 mins where you can witness all of the big 5 in a safe malaria-free environment. The first animal we witnessed, were 2 young elephants. We also saw hippos hiding in a pond, countless zebras, rhinos, and springboks. Our driver told us a few tidbits about each creature like zebras have poor spines and springboks use their color to hide from predators. After roaming through the reserve for a good 30 or so minutes, our driver drove us into a secluded area where lions rested.
We saw 5 lions: 2 males, 3 females, resting on a wooden table. They made little movement but they were aware of our presence. A smaller vehicle approached nearby and the lions were on defense. Our guide told us that the lions are not yet familiar with the smaller vehicles and would attack if they felt threatened. The smaller vehicle had to back away slowly out of the premise. After viewing the lions, our guide took us to see 3 giraffes.
He pulled over and let us enjoy a glass of wine or grape juice with the view. This was perhaps my favorite part. I got to chat with our tour guide. He was from Zimbabwe but settled in South Africa with his wife and son due to the outburst of violence in the country. He was 28 years old and have witnessed many tragedies that people in our lifetime will never encounter. Yet, our guide had an aurora that could light up a room. His smile was contagious. After our chat, we headed back towards the welcoming area where we enjoyed a delicious buffet.
I urge everyone to make a visit to Aquila. This tour group is accommodating, professional, and educational. The food is spectacular and the people are friendly. Book your tour today!