Friday, December 01, 2023

South Africa Part III

The next part of our trip to South Africa was a visit to the Aquila Safari Park about two hours out of Cape Town, where we would stay the night as well. We were far removed from everything and Aquila is a large safari park.  

At the Aquila Safari Park.

Our ride out into the park started at about 16:00. We were warned that due to flooding that the dirt tracks were in bad condition - they were not wrong! It was a very bumpy ride despite our drivers best efforts. Soon we saw hippos and zebras. The hippos were mostly under water, and the zebras turned their arses to us - not much to see there. A real treat was seeing four elephants up close walking past us. These gentle giants are amazing and it was good to see them walking in a far bigger space than a zoo. Soon after we came upon a small pride of lions who have their own large enclosure. They were sleeping, but we could get right up next to them.


Do not disturb!

White rhinos were up next and we could get very close again to watch them munching on saw dust. 

Super rhinos!

We were treated to a brilliant dancing troupe in the middle of the park - very energetic. This was a pit stop in the middle of the tour where we were also provided with sparkling wine and biltong - we were being well looked after. 

Dancing and singing.

After refreshments, we continued our quest to see more animals in the (almost) wild. Ostriches came up close to our bus looking for food - I kept well back as I did not want one of my fingers to be their next snack!

Curious eye.

Dinner at the Aquila is buffet style - it had to be as a couple of hundred hungry people descended on the restaurant at the same time. The food was OK - nothing to get excited about. Afterwards there is nothing much to do though star-gazing was in the schedule for the evening. I wanted to see the Southern Cross, but my Night Sky App told me that it was still under the horizon.

The next morning we were up at 6:30 for a 7:00 start for a second tour of the park. Apart from seeing giraffes for the first time we saw the exact same animals at almost the exact same places doing exactly the same thing as the day before, all on exactly the same bumpy road. It was great to see the animals again, though apparently they were supposed to be more active in the morning.

A nice place at Aquila to write this blog post.

Overall impressions were that it was a fantastic experience dragged out a little bit. We basically did the same thing twice. I also felt that though it was wonderful to see the animals that we did, I just thought - there are not that many to see? Four elephants, four lions, three giraffes, you get the message. The food was just OK, and we had a lovely room though not much time to enjoy it. I also decided that later in the morning before we left at 12:00 that I would have a go at a 45 min quad bike tour. Our brochure told us that a tour would start at 11:00 - perfect timing so I thought, but when I went to book I was told that there was no tour at 11:00 and that the next one would start at 11:30. Disappointing again. Very much a 6/10 experience. My recommendation is that you should do the tour - it is brilliant. But not stay over and do it again.

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