Flight to Aquila

2007-11-30
Hired a small dual prop Beechcraft to fly to Aquila, a game reserve not too far from Cape Town. We could actually go there driving (about 2 hours), but I prefer to make it an unforgettable experience & enjoy the view of south Africa from above. Up to the last minute we cannot say if we will be able to fly due to the high winds and unpredictable whether, but in the end on Thursday we finally take-off and land on the tiny Nadini airport, where the pilot parks the plane until the next day.

At Aquila itself we do not really know what to expect, as this is a reserve with a very effective overselling marketing department, and comments on the web are not always so nice. But our experience was quite fine. the reserve land is actually small (by game reserve standards in South Africa) and fully enclosed. For the French it feels like a giant . It claims to have all “Big 5’s”, but Lions are kept separate in a special section (I guess there are not yet enough spingbocks to eat), and no signs of giraffes. We did see however a group of hippos with a 3 week old baby, rhinoceros, african elephants, bulls, gnus, the lions (after a second try), and of course the springbocks & ostrichs.
The best game drive is the 9am one, early enough to see the lions (afer they are likely to sleep) and elephants. Later at 5PM most animals wil be seen around the dam as they get a drink for the night, but this is not as good as seing them moving around. The 6am game drive, which we managed to swap for the 9am, is a joke: a 1 hour 1/2 rush to see animals missed the previous day (it is sold as part of their 2 day packages).
We will also remember the night: awakened by loud ‘booms’ which were, we found out, bulls managing to get around in the main camp and bypassing electric fences by going through the lake and getting out right under our lodge, bumping into the pillars on the way. Luckily they were gone in the morning, and we had been warned to not go out at night!

Alex by the plane at Nadini

Alex in the front seat

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