Having grown up on “Chander Pahaar”, how can I not romanticise about Africa? Alright, it is South Africa, but it is the continent that matters and so since I am in the continent right now, how could I go back without doing a Safari. Ok, it is not Kruger, but it is a game safari for heaven’s sake!
The Aquila Game Reserve is a two-hour drive from Cape Town along the Karoo Mountains in the most picturesque Renosterveld and Mountain Fynbos landscape close to the Touws River. This private game reserve is a resort with multiple options, doing a day safari being just one of them and with a high probability of meeting the big 5 – Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros (both black and white species), Elephant, and Cape buffalo! Well, I was short of time and hence, a day safari is all I could manage and what a day it turned out to be! And no, I did not get to see all the 5 but whatever I saw was a “first” for me!
How do I write about it? A safari is hardly an experience to put into words, but yes, having done the same back home at the Corbett National Park, the one difference that I could very easily decipher was the distinct difference in the landscape. The region is a part of a semi-desert natural region with stretches of the Savannah grasslands. This meant lesser tall trees and more bushes or shrubs. Strange how the giraffes survive here without being able to stretch their necks further up! Well, as we realized and as the guide shared, they stretch their long legs to bend their necks down, resulting very slowly to shorter heights.
The safari took about 3 hours and we travelled through various parts of the reserve area encountering Hippos, Ostriches, Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Elands, Zebras, Wildebeests, Springboks, and or couse Lions. And no, I had never seen an untamed free lion from this close, EVER!
And God, it was cold! I mean, yes I know it is winter but how the hell does it get soooooooooo cold! So, if you ever plan a winter visit to South Africa with a safari planned to any of the reserves, be prepared! The wind can kill!
The best part was something I noticed on my way out. Incidentally, they randomly put up flags from various countries along with the South African flag and for some strange reason, the Indian tricolour was fluttering that day! Well, once an Indian, always an Indian. And to think this was the weekend before Independence Day! The little joys of life!