If you ask most tourists what they hope to see while in South Africa there are five answers that always makes the list: Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard. It was in search of these beasts that we travelled to Aquila Private Game Reserve (aquilasafari.com).
The reserve is just off the N1 near Touwsriver and you can drive there in under two hours from Cape Town. Due to the low lying Karoo bossies, you are almost guarenteed of seeing four of the big five with the elusive leopard being the odd one out. The Leopard is the only one that still occurs naturally in the area, as it does in most the Western cape, and its elusiveness is the reason this is still so. Touwsriver might seems an odd choice to go and see these animals, but in reality they all used to live here before the hunters of the old Cape got to them. It was with great pride that we were informed by one of the rangers that one of the White Rhino calfs here was the first White Rhino born in the Western Cape veld in over 200 years. The owner Searl Derman should be applauded for this feat, together with the fact that employment for over 100 Touwsriver residents is created by the reserve.
To celebrate the heritage of this area we decided to braai the big five of the braai: Lamb, Pork, Beef, Chicken and Boerwors. Van Rensburg foods (www.vanrensburgsfoods.com) sponsored the meat for the day, as they had done in Knysna, and we feasted away while two elephant bulls walked by.