In the middle of our nine week stay we thought: what a good idea it would be to escape the every day life of Obs and take a trip somewhere – maybe even spoil ourselves and stay in a nice hotel or Airbnb.
We had heard of Aquila Private Game Reserve from others (Rihanna had even made an appearance in the past so if it’s fit for her it must be fit for us) and we found out they were holding a winter special for the weekend we wanted to go. Barely $100 for an over night stay in a premium lodge at a nice resort that included not one, not two, but THREE safaris, a complimentary massage, welcome champagne, AND three unlimited buffet meals. Say no more.
But of course, with all good things come trials and tribulations. Including the inevitable struggles of getting everyone on board and figuring out the logistics of how to pull it all off. When it came down to final numbers, we had an odd number of people and the rooms were only offered in even numbers – of course. We then had to figure out how to get there since it was two hours outside of Cape Town. Not to mention simply biting the bullet and actually booking something took us nearly two weeks – so that was fun.
But eventually – after putting it off and having to talk to several Aquila customer service agents cause we were literal baboons who didn’t know what we were doing – we were all set for an overnight stay at Aquila! We rented a car and designated Ariel our Uber driver while I DJ-ed in the passenger seat – a full mom and dad with the kids in the back moment.
BUT, before we could get our car, we get to the airport to find out that we needed a passport in order to rent a car (not listed anywhere on their website, mind you). So we were off to a great start! Had to Uber all the way back to Obs to get Ariel’s passport just to turn around and stand in line at the Rent-A-Car office all over again.
Nonetheless, we were finally on the road to our weekend vacation (read: hands clutched to the steering wheel driving on the left side for the first time in a foreign country). Luckily, it was a straight shoot with minimal turns or exits so we were truly blessed. And the drive was absolutely GORGEOUS with views of mountains and small towns and even some ostrich sightings along the way.
We were welcomed at the resort with champagne and a lunch buffet. We had a few hours before our first safari – so we set up our massages (you know, the important stuff).
Then we took a seat on a huge Jeep truck with a bunch of other families for our first safari that took place quite literally in the hotel’s backyard. We pass the gates and instantly see elephants so we were already content with our decision.
We take two hours to tour the immense acreage of the resort and see springbok, zebras, buffalos, hippos, rhinos and elephants.
We stop halfway through the safari to have snacks and more champagne – our tour guide gave us nearly 3 bottles for our group since we were his favorite (aka we were scavengers and asked for the leftovers). We stepped out of the safety confines of our truck and were on the same ground level as these amazing animals which was pretty surreal. We got to see a gorgeous sunset while we were at it too.
We returned to our resort for our buffet dinner, which to no surprise, left us outrageously full. We went back to our rooms and found heated water pads in our beds – all the extras! We got into some comfy robes and made some late night rooibos tea and slept in queen beds for the first time since we left America. I don’t know what you’d rate this hotel based on American standards but we felt like royalty compared to our housing in Obs so we were living it up.
We woke up before the sun rose for our morning safari. This time we went to the area where the giraffes tend to stay and ended it with a trip to the lion cage. We were apparently lucky since apparently the lions tend to be hiding, but we got to see the entire pride of lions up close and personal. They even started roaring to each other which was pretty intense.
We came back to the resort and got to watch elephants grazing from our windows. After picking our jaws off the floor, we went to our last buffet meal (which we took full advantage of. When I tell you they had an entire bowl of feta you best believe I ate nearly the entire thing. We were eating GOOD this weekend.
We got to have our complementary massages and decided to get our eyebrows waxed while we were at it cause why not – saving little time to make it to our last afternoon safari before we left. But we were pampered so we remained unbothered – until we showed up and realized everybody had been waiting for us for a solid 15 minutes – oops.
Our last safari was a mere recap of the previous two so we couldn’t help but focus more on how frigid the air was and complained the entire time – but hey at least we had shaped eyebrows – again, the important stuff.
So our overnight excursion came to an end and we were back on the road, but of course the fun didn’t stop there – how could it when you spot a crocodile farm on the side of the road!? But typical us, we were late for the tour.
I mean we still got to hold a baby croc so it was well worth it (whether it looks like I enjoyed it or not).
After turning down a lovely offer of crocodile meat spring rolls, we finally made our way back to Obs. I’d say a successful weekend after all – we got a change of scenery, got to pamper ourselves AND ate until we couldn’t move – what more could you ask for tbh.
Sidenote: for anyone ever planning on visiting Cape Town and NOT Johannesburg (or any city in the eastern provinces for that matter), Aquila is the perfect place to get your African safari experience being that it’s only two hours outside the city and an easy drive – you can even set it up to have Aquila pick you up and drop you back off from your hotel in Cape Town. Aside from going to Kruger National Park, or even Etosha in Namibia, Aquila is the best you’re going to get in the Western Province.