With 'modern life' continually encroaching upon nature, it's only natural (pun intended) to want to reconnect with the wilder side of the planet. What better way is there to do that than with a safari? Large expanses of wilderness teaming with wildlife lie barely a few kilometres outside of Cape Town, South Africa. These reserves put safari tourists within viewing distance of buffalo, rhino, giraffes, leopards, and karakul (also known as the lynx).
One interesting safari tour begins a short distance away from Cape Town, taking visitors across the Hex River Valley to the Aquila reserve. Aquila verreauxii (a rare Black Eagle) are found in abundance in the southern Karoo highlands. You can catch a glimpse of rhinos, lions, and giraffes on these game drives or spot herds of zebras, black wildebeest, klipspringers, duikers, greybucks and ostriches. Keep a close eye out for the resident troops of baboons as well. As part of the game drives, visitors are shown a number of bushman rock art sites that are thousands of years old. Game drives are offered by the Aquila Private Game Reserve for morning, sunset, or night time in an open Land Rover. For the truly adventurous, two hour long horse safaris for groups of up to nine people are also available in the evening and early morning. These have a minimum age requirement of nine years. Those aged 16 and above can opt for a quad bike safari in a group of up to 10 people.
Accommodation is available in the form of cottages that feature en-suite bathrooms, outdoor showers, ceiling fans, fireplaces and mini bars. The Aquila Private Game Reserve offers a luxury honeymoon suite (equipped with a private Jacuzzi), a Conference Centre that can support 40 to 80 delegates, a Cigar Bar, and the popular Boma Restaurant, which offers indigenous cuisine. Luxury chalets are also available. These are equipped with all the amenities of the cottages as well as tea and coffee facilities and high quality linens.
One or two day wildlife safari tours are also offered at the Inverdoorn Game Reserve. Luxurious en-suite chalets and guesthouses are offered, inclusive of full breakfasts, buffet lunches and five course dinners. Their tour packages include one or two two-hour game drives in an open four wheel drive vehicle as well as a trip through the wine regions and fruit regions near Cape Town. In addition to the game drives, guided nature walks can also be requested.
The Kagga Kamma private game reserve near Ceres is located about 40 minutes (by air) from Cape Town. The region is rich in culture and history as evidenced by the numerous Bushman/San rock paintings found here, some of which are as much as 6,000 years old. Experienced field rangers guide safari tourists, explaining the significance of these icons of South Africa's cultural heritage.