Check Availibility

Safari on Horseback at Aquila Game Reserve

Close enough to watch the water evaporate off the back of a sleek hippo, and near enough to count the wrinkly folds on a rhino! This is the type of exhilarating experience guests can expect when saddling up for a Horseback Safari at Aquila.

Just two hours out of Cape Town, in the stark beauty of the Southern Karoo, Aquila Game Reserve gives visitors to our fair province the chance to enjoy the majesty of the Big 5 in a natural setting.

Guests are welcome to view buffalo, rhino, hippo, elephant, buck, giraffe, lion and even leopard (if you are lucky) from the back of a traditional safari vehicle, but those who wish to get up close and little more personal should opt for the Horseback Safari instead.

Day visitors to Aquila are received from 9 am with a tasty glass of bubbly on arrival, after which they’re invited to tuck into a buffet breakfast in the Africa Boma Restaurant. Having left with the scheduled transport at 6 am, I was ready to feast and lined my tummy with a hearty helping from the continental and cooked offering (they even have pap – a type of porridge and a local favourite).


With a little time to spare before our 10 am start, I headed out to take a stroll around the grounds. Just moments after reaching the fence line, the peaceful morning quiet was punctured by the loud trumpet of a male elephant! He playfully trundled right up to the fence, tossing branches and kicking up a dust storm as he gambolled along, much to the delight of the awestruck onlookers who happened to find themselves in the right spot at just the right moment.

With this auspicious start, I headed off to meet my trusty steed and guides for the morning. While my proficiency in the field of horse-riding is shaky at best, my chaperones assured me that no experience was required and that we’d go at a comfortable pace.


Saddled up to Dynamite, my sweet and sturdy pony, our band of three entered the park, framed by the dramatic mountains and cornflower blue sky. Unrestricted by roads, and with no rumbling engines to frighten off any potential game, it was indeed a safari like no other.

Cresting over our first hill, we spotted a pod of hippos, sunning themselves just a few metres from where we paused. Known as the most aggressive creatures in the African bush for a reason, I was keen to move on swiftly, unperturbed as they were by our presence.

As we picked our way through the indigenous fauna and flora quietly, it was always a bit of a shock and thrill to find that we’d just about walked into the game we were seeking out.


While each outing might differ, I was fortunate enough to see White Rhino, Eland, Ostriches, Hippo and Springbok on our 90-minute sojourn. My guides also expounded on the qualities of each animal, peppering our journey with tales of their origins, traits and behaviours.

With a camera full of our morning’s adventure, we headed back to the confines of the estate, sadly shutting the wild behind us as we left the special reserve.


Before pausing for lunch, I visited the ARC (Aquila Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Conservation Centre) – situated across the road from the estate. Home to rescued lions, a leopard and breeding pair of Cheetahs – the Arc is a sanctuary for animals that can’t be released back into the wild, and a temporary haven for those that can be rehabilitated.

Morning trips end with a buffet lunch served in the Boma area. I enjoyed their fresh salads (many ingredients having come from the ARC aquaponics system that you can read more about here) and fish, but guests are spoilt for choice with meats, hearty veg and loads of side dishes as well as puddings.

Book Your Aquila Horseback Safari

  • Water and helmets are provided.
  • Bring along your sunscreen and make sure that you wear comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
  • Bookings can be made online via the Aquila website.

Blog post by: Tarah Darge

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with our hotel’s latest developments as well as our concierge team’s top recommendations regarding the best places to visit in and around Cape Town.
Discover Cape Town

A little more to explore.

In addition to our mobile app, our blog serves as a guide and gateway for the luxury traveller. Through our well-informed concierge team, we provide our readers with up to date information on the finest restaurants and places to explore in and around the Mother City.
Day Zero Heroes! Using Water Responsibly
Explore and ExperienceDay Zero Heroes! Using Water Responsibly
We are thrilled that the latest news from city officials is that ‘Day Zero’ – the day when the City of Cape Town may have needed to cut the water supply in order to reduce water consumption – will not occur in 2018. Our combined efforts as a community and city has seen a drastic reduction in water usage – the largest reduction in consumption ever recorded by a city. We would like to thank all of our guests and visitors who have …
Skeleton Gorge: One Guided Step at a Time
Explore and ExperienceSkeleton Gorge: One Guided Step at a Time
Image courtesy of Cape Town Tourism There are endless paths up and down Table Mountain and something suitable for every fitness level. Skeleton Gorge, with its Kirstenbosch start, jungle forests, panoramic views of the city and historic dams is a favourite for a reason. But it’s also no small feat to tackle - the steep ascent and tricky decent a challenge even for seasoned hikers. However, we’ve partnered with OTC Adventures - a tour company specialising in Table Mountain - to …
Kayaking with Dolphins: An Atlantic Outlook Experience at the V&A Waterfront
Explore and ExperienceKayaking with Dolphins: An Atlantic Outlook Experience at the V&A Waterfront
There are certain moments in life that are hard to describe. Watching a school of dolphins power through the deep blue water beneath your kayak, just centimetres from your awaiting fingertips, is one of them. This is just one of the wonders that lie in store for those who choose to venture out into the open sea and paddle along the coastline with Atlantic Outlook - conveniently located at the V&A Waterfront. What to Expect While dolphins are a bonus …
Cape Grace Mobile AppA curated cultural & lifestyle guide to Cape Town in your pocket
Our concierges’ preferred selection of extraordinary wine estates, restaurants, tours, kid’s activities and many other local and authentic experiences that are certainly not to be missed.
More informationDownload for iPhoneDownload for Android
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with our hotel’s latest developments as well as our concierge team’s top recommendations regarding the best places to visit in and around Cape Town.
Physical Address
  • West Quay Road
    Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • Directions
    Postal Address
  • PO Box 51387
    Waterfront 8001
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • Cape Grace Hotel - Leading Hotels of the WorldCape Grace Hotel - VirtuosoCape Grace Hotel - Signature Travel NetworkCape Grace Hotel - American Express Fine Hotels and ResortsCape Grace Hotel - BMWCape Grace Hotel on the Waterfront - Cape Town South Africa
    ©2017 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus
    ©2018 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus