Absolute highlight of my trip to South Africa was definitely my safari experience with Aquila Safari (here). In South Africa you have situated famous Kruger National Park and plenty of smaller Private Game Reserves. As my plan was to relax the most as I could during my holidays, going to Kruger Park was really out of question due to transportation. Around Cape Town you will find a few Private Game Reserves and I decided to visit Aquila, which is only 2 hours drive from Cape Town. Aquila offers plenty of different adventures as a half day safari/ all day safari or overnight safari. I have decided for overnight safari as I wanted to enjoy the much of its atmosphere. For extra cost you can also get a return transportation between Cape Town and Aquila, so you don’t have to take care about anything and just to enjoy.
Accommodation type :
You can stay in lodge room or in a cottage. I stayed in Premium Lodge Room, which was amazing spacious room with super comfortable king size bed, very nice spacious bathroom and balcony with the most amazing view over Aquila. If you are lucky enough, you can spot some animals walking around. I was lucky to spot elephants quite often, as well as some buffalos 🙂
Food in Aquila :
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served as a buffet with plenty of amazing and very delicious choices. You have also many vegetarian choices, which I really appreciated. I am very picky considering food, but all meals in Aquila are so yummy! There is always a huge choice of desserts and a dessert called bananatoffee was definitely my most favourite. I am not sure I have eaten better dessert in my life. I highly recommend trying it once you are in Aquila 😛 All meals are served in Aquila restaurant, which has absolutely breath taking interior design or if you are lucky, you can enjoy your lunch on the terrace near the pool with a view over Aquila. During my lunch I sat outside on the terrace and spotted elephants walking near by. Such a fabulous experience!
Part of Aquila is also spacious spa, where you can relax between your safari drives 🙂 It offers you heated pool, sauna, steam room and for extra cost you can also book a massage.
Safari drives :
Drives around Aquila are made in vehicles and you can choose from different safari options. I have done afternoon safari, which gives you possibility of seeing the sunset and animals are slowly going to sleep. I have done also morning safari, which is drive early in the morning and you have chance to see the sunrise and how the animals are waking up to a new day, starting to search for their food. Morning safari is very cold, so make sure you wear warm clothes and also staff from Aquila will offer you warm blankets. All drives are guided with guides from Aquila and they have so many interesting facts to tell, I was really amazed! Considering animals I usually know everything and nothing surprises me, but In Aquila I have learnt so many new facts. Not just only about the animals, but Karoo region in general.
Extra actvities :
If you like a bit of adrenaline, Aquila also offers 2 special safari types : horse-back safari and quad bike safari. My other half persuaded me for quad bike safari instead of horse-back safari, but I don’t regret anything. It was absolutely unforgettable! My blood was pumping adrenaline high and being so close to the animals was a real dream. But be ready, if you decide for quad bike safari, you will get really dirty from the dust 😀 I definitely recommend quad bike safari!
Animals in Aquila :
Many times when I talked to people, they asked me why I am supporting ‚animal tourism‘ in a Private Game Reserve instead of going to Kruger National Park. Truth is, Aquila is far from animal tourism. Animals in Aquila are rescue animals, who wouldn’t survive in a real wild, as they are used to human interactions and Aquila offers them life closest to the one, they would have in a real wild. Aquila is home for Africa‘s Big 5 (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo), as well as other wild game which roams freely on 10,000 hectares of land. Karoo region where Aquila is situated, was back in time home for plenty of animals, but due to hunting and human settlements, animals were pushed away from this region until 1999, when the owner of Aquila re-introduced back Big 5 to their original home.
Aquila Rescue Center, Antipoaching programmes and Eco Synergy Systems :
Many people don’t know there is a Rescue Centre as a part of Aquila, where are brought rescued animals from all around South Africa which need medical interventions and rehabilitation. They are treated and rehabilitated in Aquila and released back to wild, once they are ready. Aquila also has its own rangers, who are protecting the animals from hunters, predominantly elephants and rhinos, which are interesting for hunters due to their horns and ivory. Aquila runs programmes for land rehabilitation as well, community support and eco-friendly tourism. Did you know that for example cans from which were prepared meals for guests, are used as a heating for aquaculture? You can read more about Eco Synergy System (here).
I highly recommend visiting Aquila, not just because of their amazingly comfortable rooms, fabulous spa, delicious meals and breath taking safari drives. But also for everything they do for animals, for Karoo region and for our environment in general. We definitely need more places like Aquila !