Cape Town, Travels
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Cape Town IIII – Meeting the Big 5

I really wanted to see wildlife as I’m in Africa after all. But I didn’t have the time to spend a week or more and to fly to the Kruger Park. I found a great option in Aquila Game Reserve a couple of hours drive inland. It felt wonderful to leave city life and see a bit of the countryside.

Safari_lodge_webWe arrived at lunchtime and after a substantial buffet we got our rooms. I got a little cottage with a thatched roof and with a lovely round outside shower as well as a large bathroom. In the afternoon our safari began.

The big 5 are Elephant, Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo. We were able to see four out of the big 5. But as well we saw elephant, giraffe, zebra, antelope, hippopotamus, springbok and ostrich on our two outings.

Safari_view_web“Aquila is a private Game Reserve spread over 10, 000 hectares. The owner is a lover of wildlife and searching for the perfect location to re-introduce the big 5 to Western Cape, came upon this piece of land. Searching for the closest species for the Cape Lion to inhibit it, he came across an industry that shocked him; the canned hunting industry. This industry includes the practise to breed animals specifically to be hunted. It also means hunting animals in small enclosures, tame animals and drugged animals.”
 Safari_malelion_webAll the lions here at Aquila have been rescued from this detestable industry. How can anyone want to shoot this beautiful animal?

Safari_lioness_web The lioness is so cleverly camouflaged in her colouring, it’s hard to discover her. I got the impression that it’s the lionesses that were always on the ball and looking for game to hunt. While the male lions chilled back home…

Safari_lions_webWell ok some times they made their voice heard too.

Safari_buffalo_webBuffalo is one of the most dangerous of the big 5 because they don’t give any signs before they attack.

Safari_rhinos_webAquila was devastated in 2011 when poachers attacked their Rhinos. Two were killed and one was injured. The one that survived is the one with the shorter horn.

Safari_rhinobaby_webSince then they have had a beautiful baby Rhino born on the estate, the first rhino born in Western Cape in over 250 years. It’s just like any kid, full of life and jumping joy. So sweet.

Safari_me_webMe afraid?? Er no way…

Safari_elephants_50
elephantsplaying_webHappy elephants playing by the water. ♥

Safari_zebras_web
I asked why the Zebras aren’t camouflaged like most of the other wild animals. They really stand out. The theory is that when a predator attacks a heard of zebras, it cannot identify one individual, because the vibrant pattern of the zebras skin blend into each other and confuse the attacker. Not hide but daze and confuse. Like that kind of defence technique.

As soon as Aquila was established, word got out as the place to turn to with hurt, rescued or endangered animals. They have donated a separate piece of land and run A.R.C. – Aquila Animals Rehabilitation and Rescue Centre, for the rehabilitation of animals that can never be released into the wild. They get to live out the remainder of their lives in relatively comfort and they are being taken care of well here.

Safari-cheetah_webThese Cheetahs were kept as pets (!) before they were saved. Wildlife like these that have been in contact and thus “contaminated” with people can never be released into the wild again. So sad…

Safari_group_webEvenings falls and it’s time to go back to camp.

I’m happy that the place I chose out of convenience turned out to be a place that is very much ruled by heart and well being of all wild life. Keep up the good work Aquila!

Copyright and photo: Anita Martinez Beijer

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