Africa is known for many things, the multiple cultures, hundreds of languages, varieties of food and beautiful landscapes. So much so, it can be hard trying to fit everything within a week long holiday. With proper planning you can make the most of the time. So it was imperative this “Sistagirl” cracked out the agenda book and befriended Google. I knew my timeframe and had ideas of how I wanted to spend my time in South Africa.
If you don’t have the opportunity or funds to make it the bigger reserves near Johannesburg, like the National Kruger Park, there are options out there for you. Months before arriving to Cape Town, I searched but found it difficult to find a safari that catered to my trip. My time was limited, so Kruger Park and a multiple-day safari was completely out of the picture. However, my determination to spend my 29th birthday seeing wild animals wasn’t going to let me down. Then, WALA .. I stumbled upon “Aquila Private Game Reserve” .
Near Cape Town? One-day trips? Affordable? Done!
The Aquila Reserve is roughly a 2-hour drive from Cape Town center. For the price of about $200 USD they provide hotel pickup, a welcome drink, lunch buffet, and a 2-3 hour safari ride. Note the price varies depending on the season, but no more than $250USD. The best time to visit any of the parks is during the dry winter season ( May – October )
Run-down on the safari experience:
They began morning pick-ups at 8am-9:30am, as there are multiple people and groups on the same trip. Our driver, Heinkein (yes, like the beer) was friendly, informative and drove us safely to and from our destination. Drove. Us. Safely. That’s important, as they drive like madmen. We arrived at 12:30pm and just as promised, had a glass of white wine.
Afterwards, we continued to check-in and headed to the buffet. There were a variety of meats, rices, vegetables, fruits, desserts and drink selection including alcohol beverages. The food is a solid 7.5/10, you get a lot for your money and they had some of the most tender lamb I’ve ever had.
Once I finished my required daily glass of red wine (stop counting my glasses), it was time for the main event: Trying to Catch “The Big 5” up close and personal. “The Big 5” is referred to the animals that are the hardest to hunt on foot. These include the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and cape buffalo.
We were able to see 4/5 of “The Big 5” as the leopard is a typically shy animal and doesn’t come out much during the day. We saw zebras, hippos, ostriches, peacocks among more in a matter of 2 hours.
Along the safari, the tour guides dropped tons of facts about the variety of animals we saw. Many of them have done this for years and have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to wildlife. They allowed enough time at each location so you can take the best “Instagramable” photos. They truly made the experience about what the riders wanted.
At the end of the 2 hour tour, we were rounded up by Heinkein to safely return us to the city center.
Was it all worth it?!
100% and I’d spend my money again. While I wouldn’t exactly compare it to the Ngorongoro, this is my 2nd experience on an African safari and I didn’t regret one moment. If you ever have the opportunity to see animals in their natural habits, experience it. You may start giving zoos a major side-eye but it’s money worth spending. The Aquila Reserve Trip was accommodating, affordable, and the perfect day trip outside of Cape Town. If you are looking for more extensive safari trips, they also provide these as well.
Happy Traveling! #LoveOnEachOther