Spring safari at Aquila and Inverdoorn

Posted by Aimee Pace on 1 September 2019

Aimee Pace and her partner visited Aquila Game Reserve in Worcester about two hours-drive from Cape Town and Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve (about 45-minute drive from Aquila) and experienced both a luxury and a rustic safari in the Western Cape.

Aquila Private Game Reserve and its friendly inhabitants.

 

Upon arrival at Aquila we are shifted into a new mindset of relaxation and utter indulgence. A welcoming glass of bubbly set the mood and we were ushered into the restaurant at the pool for a buffet lunch. A friendly peacock flashed his bright feathers as made our way to our table.

The buffet lunch offered almost every option you can think of, from a vegan pasta to a meat-lover’s spread.

A table at the window is best for looking out on the expansive pool area and lawn and if you’re hungry enough, you can go back for third or even fourth helpings, as all meals are included in your stay package. However, drinks are billed separately.

The beautiful pool and lawn right by the restaurant.

After lunch we made our way to our room overlooking the fynbos-covered hills, which was centrally located near the restaurant and other activities.

Before heading off for dinner, we decided to try out the Tranquil Spa. Peaceful warm tones, dangling wooden chandeliers and serene music welcomed us, as we slipped into the heated pool.

The sound of trickling water helped us relax as we spent the next hour enjoying the water. Fresh towels are readily available and you can book your treatments on your way in or out.

A variety of unique treatments are on offer and private treatment rooms as well as saunas are available from 10am in the morning untill 10pm at night.

We can highly recommend the head, neck and shoulder massage.

The Tranquil Spa setting.

The first game drive leaves at 5pm and all guests are asked to meet their driver just outside the reception area.

The safari vehicle is comfy and blankets are provided for each seat. Each drive lasts between two and three hours.

During our drive we were fortunate enough to see lions, elephants, white rhinos, eland, springbok, giraffe, ostrich and hippo up close.

Had we missed any of these animals during our evening drive, we could look out from them the next morning. The 7am game drive also leaves from the reception area. Tea and coffee are served here from 6:30am.

A lioness being admired during the evening safari.

 

We skipped the 7am game drive and opted for the guided horseback safari instead (no previous horseriding experience required). We were pleasantly surprised by the friendly equines and appreciated the guide’s in-depth knowledge of the area. Aquila also offers a quad bike safari.

Guests enjoying their horseback safari.

 

From the luxurious Aquila we headed to Inverdoorn for a more rustic safari.

Inverdoorn is about 45-minutes drive from Aquila off the R356, Sutherland Road. After signing in at reception our guide showed us around the grounds. Both the pool area and the tented areas offering shade at the cactus garden are great spaces to unwind.

The unique pool area at Inverdoorn.

A number of accommodation options are available at Inverdoorn but we opted for a cosy Tankwa Chalet with a cute porch, perfect for sipping away at an afternoon drink.

From 1pm we headed over to the restaurant for lunch, each table is reserved for guests, so during your stay you always know where to sit.

A dreamy buffet lunch awaited us, with two dessert options and so many delicious savoury options that it was hard to count them all.

A Tankwa Chalet.

The game drive at Inverdoorn kicks off at 4:30pm and we have to say that it is one of the most unique safari experiences we’ve come across.

Our female ranger took us on a fun-filled adventure that raised our awareness on a number of important causes and issues relating to wild animals.

Inverdoorn actively rehabilitates cheetahs and is currently looking after 14 of them. It is the only place where you can watch what they call the “Cheetah Run”.

To encourage their cheetahs to run, the rangers set up a rope pulley system with a flag (similar to the rabbits that greyhounds chase) that starts at one end of the enclosure and flashes across to the other end. The cheetah instinctively chase the flag – except for one male, who has figured out that he’ll get fed whether he runs or not.

Guests who come along for the drive get to witness the speed of the cheetahs first-hand.

Cheetahs dashing to catch the flag.

The safari at Inverdoorn was intimate with a smaller number of guests than at Aquila.

While we were on the safari we learned about the plight of canned lions and even got to meet two rescued lions on the early morning safari.

The lions are not shy and even approached our vehicle with confidence while letting out repetitive roars – it was truly something to see, and hear.

One of the things that stood out most for us during the safari was Harry, the ‘special’ ostrich.

Harry, we were told, does not like female ostriches but he always has a chipper mating dance prepared when safari guests roll around. We got to see the full show and Harry followed the truck for some time before he decided to let us enjoy the rest of the safari. He was a character that we’ll never forget.

Harry doing his dance.

After the safari, we freshened up for dinner at our cosy chalet, before we headed to the restaurant for the set menu.

The yellowtail (a South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative green-listed fish) was cooked to perfection and the wines on offer where perfectly paired.

Vegetarian guests can let the restaurant staff know beforehand and a special meal will be prepared.

Dessert of chocolate eclairs with a chocolate drizzle, that blew us away, finished off the meal perfectly.

A fire keeps guests warm.

 

When the time to leave finally arrived, we found ourselves feeling as though we have been on holiday for years and too short a-time all at once.

At Aquila Private Game Reserve we experienced sheer luxury and at Inverdoorn Wildlife Sanctuary we met so many unique animals and people that we will always remember.

If you’re looking for your next holiday destination, don’t hesitate to put these safari spots on your list.

 

Aquila Private Game Reserve

Contact: 021 430 7260  www.aquilasafari.com

Inverdoorn Wildlife Sanctuary

Contact: 021 422 0013  www.inverdoorn.com






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