We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“NOT - I repeat - NOT a Safari” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Aquila Private Game Reserve

Aquila Private Game Reserve
| P.O. Box 1861, Touwsriver 8000, South Africa
+ 27 (0) 21 421 4998
Website
Improve this listing
Book a Tour

Ranked #1 of 1 attractions in Touwsriver
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Activities: Viewing wildlife
More attraction details
Attraction Details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
North Wales
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“NOT - I repeat - NOT a Safari”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

Having been on a "Proper" safari, I was wasn't expecting much and I wasn't dissapointed. If you're in the market for a safari during your stay in the Western Cape, you'll probably be dissapointed too - you'll see as many animals (probably more) at places like Whipsnade, Longleat, Busch Gardens etc - this is by no stretch of the imagintion a safari as it claims.

First the good.
The actual resort isn't bad - nice restaurant building, bar / lounge area, pool etc. Breakfast buffet not bad either.

The bad.
The accomodation - dirty / dusty with nasty sewage smells.
The "safari" and game drive. driving around a boring landscape with a few animals dotted about. When I did a real safari at the Selous game reserve, they gad to clear the runway of deer, giraffe & zebras before we could land! Here, there were 2 elephants, 4 rhino, (2 rhino had been shot by poachers.. what type of reserve is this if it doesn't protect its animals???) 1 giraffe (no trees in the park, so adult giraffe have to be taken away as they can't feed from the ground).

Most sad (in africa of all places) was the lions in an elecrified pen looking bored, over fed and not living as they should in the wild. The rehabilitation centre was really depressing - all electrified pens - a lone leopard in one, 3 lions in another and 2 cheetah in a third. This is NOT a safari where you see these animals in their native environment. the only positive aspect was because the animals are used to people, they don't run off whe you approach, as they would in the wild.

The Ugly.
The food - absolutely dire (apart from breakfast) The same stuff was served up for dinner and lunch. Boring selection of tasteless muck. I could really relate to the people I watched circling the buffet over and over hoping something appetising might have appeared since the last tour.
The restaurant, despite being nicely fitted out, is like eating in an aviary - with lots of birds flying in and around the tables. If you manage to find a seat without bird mess on it, should you leave your table for any reason, birds would swoop down onto the tables and eat the food! There were also mice running around the tables, hiding under the central stands of the tables.

The lazy, disinterested staff made no attempt to remove the birds or stop the birds eating peoples food. I fact, the only time I saw any sign of life from the staff was when I left my table to get some coffee whereupon I was chased after as they thought I was leaving without paying for a bottle of water I ordered (Water is more expensive than beer in this place.... bring your own!)

To summarize, If a safari is on your backet list - this should not be it. Go to one of the proper reserves like Selous, Serengeti, Kruger etc etc and see the real thing in all its magnificence and you'll be amazed by the variety and abundance of wildlife.

This place is just a tourist trap. Poor value for money and a long way to go to see very little. Not recommended.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

529 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    199
    166
    78
    33
    53
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Negative reviewers are sadly lost in space. This was great and worth the cheap money.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

After reading some reviews here i had mixed feelings of what to expect. Well, after the day trip i took i was pleasantly surprised. Id like to start off by commenting on the negative responses ive read from other reviewers. These people have no idea what the difference between a safari and game reserve is. To start , a safari trip will run you about 1200.00 US dollars per day. On top of that, you'd have to travel a day to get there. This is game reserve where alot of the animals were born on thea premises. Some of the animals have been killed by poachers. Lets not forget, this reserve is 800 acres large, this not a zoo.

As far as the lions being caged is just not true. They are however confined to a huge parcel of land and terrain to free roam within a fenced area. The reason they arent released completely yet is because of bordering property owners are still working out details. This is a fairly new reserve it takes time to fill it. Especially if there breeding within the reserve.

The cages across from the reserve with cougars are rescued animals that were doomed if not saved. This is a funded project to save animals and i commend Aquila for there rescue efforts.

Id recommend this to anyone who cant afford to see the big 5 in the true wild. This is the next best thing and much safer. I saw the same animals and very close. They were all very healthy and happy. The zebras were plentiful and amazing. The rhinos were very active and playful.

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Zoo Experience, not safari”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

It was of course wonderful to see animals up so close but it wasn't what you'd call a safari but a drive through zoo. The service and explanations from the tour guide were great but one was left to wonder when he told us that three quaters of their girraffes had died on their premises. Why they had decided to breed animals in an environment that was not all adapted to the animals was a mystery and another reason this place is a zoo rather than a safari.
It was an expensive visit and we opted to drive ourselves there, for those arriving in the morning on a one day visit do take advantage of thebuffet breakfast being served. The ticket only mentions refreshments on arrival and lunch, but apparently you are welcome to breakfast.
The tour although has nice touches like stopping in the middle to stretch your legs, gaze at the animals and have a glass of sparkling wine. So you know they do try.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Day trip experience review”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I visited Aquila Game Reserve with my wife for a day trip on December the 27th 2012 and we had a fantastic experience.

For those who are considering paying the extra to be picked up from Cape Town I’d highly recommend doing the drive yourself, it’s a very simply route effectively on one road the whole way there and can easily be completed in two hours. The directions provided on the website are concise and all that you need, no Sat Nav required.

Based on some of the reviews here I feel that people need to go to Aquila with the realistic expectations. Aqula Game Reserve is just that, a private game reserve. If you are expecting/want a safari trip through the untamed outback then this is not for you.

If you wish to see the big 5 (& far more besides) in an environment that is as close as possible to natural then you should certainly give Aquila a try.
The pricing is reasonable, the guide that we had was highly knowledgeable about all of the animals in the park and the tour itself lasted for just over two hours.

Aquila is a managed park, the area is large, the animals are not penned in and are free to roam wherever they wish. Due to strategically placed watering holes they tend to congregate in certain areas which the drivers know well and take their guests to.

For the price of a day trip you will receive a buffet breakfast upon arrival, a two hour driven tour and a buffet lunch upon your return (two meals also included in the afternoon session).

I felt that the food was not of the highest quality, edible certainly, but none the less quite a disappointment considering the rest of the service provided.

Overall this was a great experience for us, the whole park is well run and the staff were very friendly, go with the right expectations and we feel that you will enjoy your visit, 4 stars.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“False advertising - this is not a game reserve but a zoo!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

My daughter has just left Aquila yesterday and was so disappointed! She saved money to go back to South Africa and take a friend to show her how amazing Cape Town is and take her on a safari. Aquila included 4 game drives in the 2 night package - well they did not bother to go on the last two drives. They were so shocked by being driven to see animals in cages and the only other animals were 2 elephants, 2 buffalo, 1 giraffe - this is not a safari!!! Shocking - they should not be able to advertise game drives and safaris - real safaris in South Africa are amazing - this is nothing like the real thing!!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Aquila Private Game Reserve also viewed

 

Been to Aquila Private Game Reserve? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Aquila Private Game Reserve, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Bookmark for later
Save Saved
You added Aquila Private Game Reserve to your Saves list