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Aquila Private Game Reserve - Aquila is the closest Big 5 safari reserve to Cape Town (under 2 hours) offering day or overnight safaris (ideal if you have limited time).

On safari at Aquila Game Reserve near Cape Town

Since the 4-star Aquila Private Game Reserve was founded, its ethos and that of the team of dedicated staff, has always been to educate guests on the importance of wildlife conservation, how it affects us all and what we as individuals can do to protect it and indeed the environment.

Aquila is not yet another luxury game reserve and lodge, its primary purpose is to offer an educational experience to all who visit in the hope that knowledge will enrich our understanding of the importance of living in harmony with Mother Nature.

Over the years, Aquila Private Game Reserve has gone to massive efforts and expense to source and re-introduce wildlife into the Cape region and are therefore proud to offer our visitors an opportunity to experience a Big 5 safari so close to Cape Town (something that was previously not available).

In another of their conservation efforts, Aquila currently offer our visitors a complimentary educational introduction to cheetahs, highlighting the plight of the free ranging cheetah and their critically diminishing numbers. It is important to note that the cheetahs were captive bred and not ‘born free’ nor do they form part of Aquila’s game drive and the experience is strictly controlled and in the interest of cheetah survival worldwide. Guests however are not allowed to directly interact with the cheetahs but are given a comprehensive talk on the plight of these beautiful cats.

Aquila has all of the Big 5, elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and rare mountain leopard and is also home to giraffe and hippo. Aquila's lions have been saved from the ‘canned hunting’ trade. They are genetically linked to the ‘Barbary Lion - a close relative of the extinct Cape Mountain Lion. Aquila is also proud to have the first rhino to be born in the Western Cape in 200 years.

Large herds of game are also found on the reserve such as black wildebeest, burchell's zebra, springbok, gemsbok, steenbok, caracal (lynx), blesbok, bat eared fox, ostriches, klip springer, duiker, greybuck, baboon, black backed jackal, eland and red hartebeest.

Aquila and its natural wetland is home to 172 species of birds and is also home to several breeding pairs of the rare and endangered black eagle, after which the reserve has been named.

Karoo chat, rufous-eared warbler, fairy flycatcher and yellow-bellied eremomela can be found on short walks into the surrounding wilderness. Lark-like bunting and black-headed canary move in after the rainy season. In the summer months the booted eagle is a regular visitor and the rainy season attracts flamingos to the reserve.

Aside from the ever-popular Game drive day trips, Aquila offers Horseback Safaris, Quad Bike Safaris, Walking Safaris and combinations of all four. Aquila has by far the greatest selection of game in the Western Cape and was rated by SAA’s Sawubona In-flight Magazine as ‘One of the Best Day Trips’, right up there with Cape Point and Table Mountain.

Day trip Safaris from Cape Town - By Road:
These are offered with or without transport from Cape Town to the reserve.

Self-drive guests have the option to do another activity after lunch such as horse-back or quad-bike safari, which are all subject to availability. It is recommended to book these activities well in advance.

Example itinerary for day trips with arranged transfer from Cape Town:
6am: Collection from hotel or guesthouse and transfer to Aquila.
8am: Welcome drink on arrival served in the reception area. Full course buffet breakfast served in the restaurant.
9am: Depart on a 2 to 3 hour safari (in 4X4 safari vehicle with ranger guide) -visit San Rock Art site - Snacks and ‘champagne’ served at lookout point.
12.30pm: Buffet lunch served in the African boma restaurant
After lunch guests are able to use the pool facilities and are encouraged to browse the African curio shop or purchase the afternoon drive departing at 1.30pm.
3pm: Return to Cape Town.
(Please note these times are all approximate)

You can choose to fly from Cape Town to Aquila on a helicopter or fixed wing light aircraft. Usually this will include an exhilarating flight over the majestic Hex River Mountains & vineyards and your return flight would probably be over Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront (Cape Point optional extra)

Example Overnight Safaris - By Road from Cape Town
Day one:
6am: If you are using the Aquila transport then a representative will collect you at your hotel where you will travel via the scenic Du Toitskloof Pass and Winelands to Aquila Private Game Reserve.

8am: A welcome cocktail will await your arrival whilst you relax by the rock style swimming pool (in summer) or enjoying a roaring log fire in our cigar bar or lounge (in winter).

2pm: Check in at Aquila Private Game Reserve. Buffet lunch in the restaurant

5pm: Depart for a two to three-hour game drive with experienced rangers and visit the celebrated Khoi San Bushman rock art sites. Snacks and ‘champagne’ will be served at various look out points en-route.

7pm: Return to the lodge and restaurant for an authentic African dinner or traditional South African braai (barbecue). Overnight in one of the Luxury or Premier Luxury Cottages.

Day two:
6am: Early morning game drive, coffee and rusks served en route.
9am: Breakfast.
10am: Check out of Aquila Private Game Reserve.

(For guests using the Aquila transport you will depart Aquila at 15h00)

Activities on the Reserve:
Game Drives:
Morning and evening game drives with qualified field rangers in open 4x4 vehicles. Game drives range between two and three hours with sparkling wine, grape juice, water and snacks such as biltong, ‘droewors’, nuts and dried fruits served at various lookout points.

Horse-back Safari – No experience is required. Minimum age requirement is 16 years old.
There is a maximum of 9 people per safari; they are guided by one of our rangers. Duration: 2 hours

Quad bike Safari – Minimum age requirement is 17 years old. There is a maximum of 10 people per safari guided by two rangers - 1 guest per vehicle. Duration: 2 hours

The little Karoo enjoys sunshine for most of the year. Summers are dry and warm, winters are dry and crisp. The prevailing weather lends itself to long walks, hiking, cycling and other sports activities.

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