Addo or Aquila?

Feb 21st, 2009, 04:45 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,158
Addo or Aquila?

Trying to decide on taking a game viewing trip in South Africa. One tour has us going to Addo; another has us in Aquila. In your opinion, which game viewing park is better? Or should we take a puddle jumper to Namibia?

This is our first time to Africa. Thanks in advance for your time.
MelissaHI is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 05:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Can you list the who itinerary? Would this be your only safari experience or will you be in the Kruger area as well?
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 05:23 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Somebody jump in and correct me, but my feeling is that Namibia is more about landscape and human culture than game viewing. Addo and Aquila, neither ring bells with me. When I think of South Africa and game viewing I think of Sabi Sand Reserve and Kruger.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 07:01 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
These parks you mention are closer to Cape Town. Is that where your trip is centered?

There are scheduled major airlines into Windhoek from Johannesburg. But as Tom states, if game viewing is your goal, you could accomplish that by going to one of the many options in Kruger or Sabi Sands.
atravelynn is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 08:46 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
I have been to both Aquila (once) and Addo (3X) and I far prefer the latter. The game viewing in both parks is limited, both in terms of the number of species and the number of animals. However, of the two, Addo is better. It is a beautiful park and my favourite place to see ellies. If your goal is game viewing, I wouldn't make either park your primary safari destination - go to Kruger, Kgalagadi or any of the larger parks. However, if Aquila and Addo are just part of a larger safari experience then, of the two, I would go to Addo.

Namibia would also be a good alternative, as long as you have the opportunity to view game at some point on your trip. Addo and Aquila would probably be a bit of a come down after a visit to somewhere like Kruger. If you are visiting a large park, then I would be inclined to give Aquila and Addo a miss and go climb the dunes in Namibia.

Lynn's suggestion is a good one - please post your itinerary and then we can offer you far better advice. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Feb 21st, 2009, 09:37 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 642
Melissa,

Addo is a fine park for elephants and since I was there in 2004 lions have been reintroduced. However, it does not come anywhere near other prime wildlife destinations such as Moremi and Chobe in Botswana or Etosha in Namibia. I'm afraid I don't know Aquila.

You may not need a puddle jumper to Namibia, depending on your departure point as SAA and Air Namibia run daily (I think) flights from JNB.

Etosha NP is a prime wildlife destination, although not the typical savannah safari of the travel brochures. You will have the opportunity to see most of the large mammals including rhino and the chance to observe animals at floodlit waterholes at night - Okaukeujo is brilliant for this. I recommend entering the park from Galton Gate (a permit is required for this)for terrain diversity and the many waterholes in the western setor of the park. Namibia offers other game viewing opportunites such as dolphin trips from Walvis Bay, seals at Cape Cross and rhino at Palmwag. There are also a number of fine private concessions such as Hobatere that offer a variety of game and Africat/Okonjima that specialise in cheetah rescue and rehabilitation.

If this is to be your first/only safari I would suggest investigating the parks that support wildlife diversity such as Kruger, Chobe and Moremi (Botswana), possibly Zimbabwe or check out East Africa. Samburu, Nakuru and Samburu in Kenya and Tanzania's Northern Circuit are all good destinations for a first safari.

Happy planning,



Pol
Treepol is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2009, 07:46 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,158
Thanks for your responses!

This is my first trip to Africa and my trip will be centered around Cape Town. At the time I booked the trip, I still had a job, so I was limited to just two weeks (and I am coming from Hawaii, so there is a ton of travel time involved). I think my concern is that Kruger will be too time/cost consuming. Time and cost are actually still factors in this since...well, I don't have a job.

(I do have enough miles to return to Africa, which is what I do plan to do another time. I try to visit destinations at least twice--first time to get a quick taste, the second time to really get into it.)

The Addo proposal came from Selwyn, whom I understand is on Fodors. Aquila is a game viewing park that is mentioned in guidebooks and on the internet.

Our DRAFT itinerary is as follows, assuming we go with Selwyn to Addo, which was done BEFORE asking Fodorites about this. Please note that the one item that is fixed is the Two Oceans Marathon on 4/11. I am running that, but that will only take up the morning.

wed 4/8 arrive a.m., rest, afternoon/evening CAPE TOWN
thu 4/9 WINELANDS (day tour)
fri 4/10 whatever we can: TABLE MOUNTAIN, ROBBEN ISLAND, CAPE HORN (or GOOD HOPE?)
sat 4/11 MARATHON, evening free
sun 4/12 GARDEN/SAFARI TOUR day 1 (Selwyn)
mon 4/13 GARDEN/SAFARI day 2
tue 4/14 GARDEN/SAFARI day 3
wed 4/15 GARDEN/SAFARI day 4
thu 4/16 GARDEN/SAFARI day 5
fri 4/17-19 CAPE TOWN and whatever we missed: TABLE MOUNTAIN, ROBBEN ISLAND, CAPE HORN
sat 4/20 early a.m. dep for home
MelissaHI is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 06:55 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
So, it appears that Addo or Aquila would be your only safari experience. Both are within driving distance of Cape Town, which is presumably why Selwyn (and yes, he frequents this board) recommended them. Of the two, I would go with Addo - much better game viewing (more species and more animals) and some lovely accomodation (we have stayed in the self-catering forest cabins and cabins). When I was there, the lions at Aquila were in an enclosure - it guaranteed you saw them, but not under circumstances that I like to see animals. Mind you, we loved the scenery at Aquila - it was our first exposure to the Karoo.

With five days available for safari, however, I would still consider going to a bigger park, if your budget will allow it. You could do a self-drive through Kruger NP at quite a reasonable cost - there is some excellent accomodation at very reasonable prices. Have a look at www.sanparks.org. You could fly from CT to Johannesburg on Kulala Airlines - they have some very reasonable flights - and then drive from there.

Good luck with the Two Oceans. You'll enjoy the stretch through the University of Cape Town campus - very scenic! Actually, the whole route is lovely!
Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 10:42 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,158
Thanks! Will check it out. Have you done the marathon? It's actually a half-marathon (the other option was an ultra marathon and I can't do that!). I'm trying to figure out how hilly it is. Do you know?
MelissaHI is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 12:15 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
Hi Melissa! No, I have not run the Two Oceans. 10km is my limit! When we lived in CT in 2004-2005, we rented a house on the UCT middle campus, so the marathon went right past our home. My husband and I stood beside the road cheering on the runners, while our daughter worked as a volunteer. The Two Oceans is a big deal in CT and gets a lot of local support.

Let me (and the experts on this forum!) know if you have any Kruger questions. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 12:31 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Again, I can't compare with Aquila or Addo but Kruger is nice to do on your own. No caged lions, when/if you see them. Lots of elephants, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, and the other grazers and browsers.
Not sure what flight cost is from CPT to JNB or Nelspruit. A nice rental/hire car from Avis will cost about $60 per day. The simple Kruger bungalows are $70 per night (two people). But it will "cost" you a days travel time to and from CPT.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 06:51 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 48
For viewing elephants Addo cannot be beaten there are 440 in a relatively small area.

There are 2 prides of lions in the reserve but they are difficult to spot on your own but if you take trip organized by the park you can often see them.

There are a variety of private game reserves all around Addo that have the big 5.
coline is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2009, 07:32 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
"There are a variety of private game reserves all around Addo that have the big 5"

Without having segregated enclosures?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 06:32 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
If you like zoos go to Aquila, if not try Addo, it is probably cheaper as well!
surkamp is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 07:08 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
To imply that Aquila is like a zoo is unfair/misleading, and I fear that it is my comment about the lions being in an enclosure that may have precipitated this response. Apart from the lions, the animals roam freely through this private game reserve. The reserve itself is very beautiful - in the middle of the Karoo and surrounded by lovely flat-topped mountains. We saw lots of wildlife - gemsbok, springboks, zebras, hippos, giraffes....and enjoyed our visit to the reserve. The guide we had was excellent - very knowledgeable. Many of the reserve's employees come from nearby townships and the reserve is actively involved in many conservation projects. The breakfast we had before heading out on our game drive was excellent. Athlough we didn't stay overnight, the accomodation looked lovely.

I would not hesitate to return to Aquila for an overnight stop if I was in the area (it is near Touws River, between CT and Beaufort West on the N1). However, I felt that since Melissa had five nights, she might want to spend it at a larger park where she would see more species and more animals. If a visitor was in CT for a conference and only had a day or two free for a safari, Aquila would be a good choice.

The Aquila website is www.aquilasafari.com. Have a look! It is an easy drive from Cape Town and worth a day or overnight visit for those who are short of time. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 33
My comments on Aquila are based on first hand experience, it is a zoo not a wild life experience!
surkamp is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Melissa, since your itinerary is all in Cape Town/ Garden Route I'd definitely not bother trying to visit a game reserve/ park farther afield. Whilst I agree that Kruger (or Hluhluwe Imfolozi) might be better overall, Addo is perfectly reasonable to give a little taste of safari during a predominantly non-safari trip.

We spent 2 nights in a self-catering chalet there back in 2004. Comfortable accommodation and very reasonably priced. Do be aware that, although the park itself is vast, only a small area is open to self-drive visitors and the loops around which you drive are fairly short. We were there in low season and did feel that it was difficult to find a private spot that wasn't inundated with other vehicles though we managed on a couple of occasions. It helped getting up early and being the first into the park. That said, we had some good viewing, particularly of elephants, as you might expect.

I can't comment on Aquila, but certainly, if I were visiting the Garden Route area again and wanted just a day or two of game viewing, I'd consider visiting Addo again.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 09:45 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 48
Since 2004 there have been a lot of changes at Addo, there is a road in from the coast and elephants are now in the far north of the park.

It is 160kms 100 miles from the North to the South.

There is an excellent new lodge Kuzuko which is in the north in the Zuurberg mountains.

Shamwari adjacent has been voted Africa's leading safari for the past 11 consecutive years.

coline is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 09:55 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
"Shamwari adjacent has been voted Africa's leading safari for the past 11 consecutive years."

Interesting. Voted by whom? Anyone here on forum been there?

regards - tom


cary999 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
surkamp - my comments on Aquila are also based on first-hand experience!

Melissa - Addo or Shamwari would both be handy to CT and provide memorable safari experiences, although the latter is very expensive. I believe it is where Tiger Woods took his then girlfriend/now wife to propose!

I would still have a look at Kruger. Robin
canadian_robin is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:36 PM.