Aquila Safari: Unveiling the Wild Tapestry in Cape Town's Unexpected Oasis

Aquila Big 5 Near Cape Town

Voices mingle in a cacophony of languages and accents beneath the warm embrace of the African sun. Drivers, guides, cars, and buses create a bustling atmosphere, indicative of a popular tourist hub. The welcome desk handles a booking irregularity with the grace and ease of a seasoned air hostess, accompanied by a perfect smile.

Aquila, established to address the absence of an authentic African safari experience in Cape Town, is a testament to the region's booming tourism. Despite being a global tourist hotspot, Cape Town needed a genuine African safari, with the nearest about one thousand kilometres away. The Karoo biome, known for its open rolling hills and unique flora, traditionally did not host the big five species. However, Aquila introduced these iconic animals, prompting unconventional measures like supplementary feeding in the nature reserve.

Key Considerations

  • The reserve houses the Big 5 (lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos)

  • The area is not the traditional ecological home to the Big 5

  • Aquila is just 2 hours from Cape Town

  • The Nature Reserve offers many tourist activities geared to make your trip fun

  • Aquila is ideal for Wildlife Photographers looking to catch the Big 5

  • Aquila adds to conservation in South Africa. By supporting them, you support conservation

Book your tour to Aquila now.


Aquila Private Game Reserve is a family-friendly wildlife conservancy located in the Western Cape, South Africa, just under 2 hours from Cape Town. The reserve is home to the legendary Big 5 (lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos) and covers an area of 10,000 hectares between the Langeberg and the Outeniqua Mountains. It offers a range of safari experiences, including traditional, quad bike, and horseback safaris, as well as luxurious African hospitality, traditional culinary delights, and service excellence.


Private conservation areas like Aquila are crucial in South Africa's wildlife preservation efforts. About half of the wildlife space in the country is provided by private reserves like Aquila. Supporting initiatives like Aquila offer ample roaming space for wildlife and create economic opportunities for local communities.

During a one-night stay and two game drives at Aquila, a diverse range of animals, from giraffes and baboons to lions and elephants, captivates visitors. The experience even includes unique demonstrations, such as an antelope dung oral demonstration, showcasing the expertise and enthusiasm of knowledgeable guides like Stephen.


Aquila Private Game Reserve is a perfect destination for a day trip or an overnight stay. The half-day trips include early morning, afternoon, and sunset safaris, while the full-day trips can include the safari experience and meals. Aquila offers a variety of accommodation options, including lodges and cottages. The lodges include standard, family, and premier options, while the cottages include Karoo, family, and premier options.

Despite the impressive array of wildlife, the integration of the big five into the Karoo habitat may feel a little out of place. Giraffes, resembling someone hunched over a laptop, appear out of place among the small trees. Hippo feeding stations are a necessity due to the lack of grass, and buffaloes seem uneasy in the dry, dusty areas. Even the fenced-in rescued lions seek refuge from the heat in the shade of brick buildings.


Aquila undoubtedly plays a major role in the tourism industry, which is evident in the daily influx of tourists arriving on buses. It caters to those whose only stop in Africa is Cape Town, providing an opportunity to witness sought-after wildlife in a short time. It's ideal for enthusiastic photographers seeking quick and excellent photographic opportunities. However, for those averse to crowded tourist hotspots or expecting an authentic African safari, Aquila may not be the ideal choice. Instead, visitors are encouraged to explore Cape Town's culture, wine, beach, Fynbos mountains, and ocean adventures, reserving the true safari experience for the North East of South Africa. 

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Dr Adriaan Buys
Dr Adriaan BuysEnvironmentalist, Speaker & Consultant
Adriaan Buys, the founder of, is a researcher, environmental consultant, speaker and wildlife photographer. With a passion for inspiring change, he tells the stories of nature's plight. Contact him at

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