25 Years of Cape Town Safaris
Cape Town, January 2024
Dear Trade Partner,
Time has flown by since December, and we are already in the midst of planning for March and beyond. Therefore, I extend to you and your team a belated but heartfelt seasonal greeting.
This is a personal message from me, on behalf of Searl Derman and the entire Aquila Collection team, to express our sincere gratitude for the incredible partnership, support, and business we shared in 2023. You and your team hold a prominent position in our list of top partners, and we wish to convey our deepest thanks for entrusting us with your clients.
While we may occasionally encounter challenges, please know that we wholeheartedly appreciate each guest who visits any of the Aquila Collection establishments.
As we look ahead to 2024, the year is already brimming with action, featuring activations, tactical market roadshows, and a host of other priority projects aimed at increasing awareness of South Africa, Cape Town, and the Aquila Collection. We genuinely hope that our global destination marketing efforts will benefit you, our valued partner, and that our ongoing strategic initiatives over the next 12 months will result in mutual growth and prosperity for both parties.
Speaking of 2024, it is incredibly exciting to announce that in September, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa. This vision and dream, conceived by Searl Derman back in 1999, has grown into a globally recognised name today. Over the years, we have had the privilege of hosting countless guests, including notable figures such as Rihanna, Paris Hilton and Margaret Thatcher. Attached, you will find a photo of the beginning of our journey – the main building at Aquila Private Game Reserve.
This milestone means that we are embarking on a year-long celebration of 25 YEARS OF CAPE TOWN SAFARIS. The industry can anticipate a series of engaging events throughout the year, designed to celebrate with us, foster networking, and stimulate business growth.
Some of the highlights to look forward to include:
The CAPE TOWN SUMMER SEASON CELEBRATION in February, in partnership with Air France KLM and Groot Constantia. Please keep an eye out for invitations to join us on February 15, 2024.
We will introduce monthly intimate TRADE DINNERS, inviting selected partners to share a delightful meal and stories around a table. These gatherings, limited to approximately 10 partners each month, are intended to celebrate 25 years of Cape Town Safaris.
At global trade shows throughout the year, we will host agent activations to spend valuable time in key source markets. Our first stop is ITB BERLIN IN MARCH, and we will coordinate with fellow exhibitors to organise a proper German gathering as we all come together in Berlin to showcase Cape Town and South Africa to the world.
During the CAPE TOWN CARNIVAL, we anticipate hosting an afternoon of Aquila Collection hospitality to partake in the vibrant celebration along the Cape Town Fan Walk. More details will be shared soon.
In 2023, we successfully launched the inaugural CAPE TOWN 100 EVENT DURING WTM CAPE TOWN. Unfortunately, due to cost-cutting measures by the exhibition organiser, the opportunity to engage with buyers and partners at the customary opening evening was eliminated. In our commitment to reconnect and bring people together, we initiated the Cape Town 100 event. This gathering is open to only 100 partners, buyers, and friends and will now become an annual event—an opportunity in our own backyard to come together, expand our network, and celebrate Cape Town Safaris. This year, we eagerly anticipate hosting this event on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at the beautiful Rooftop on Bree. Please watch for invitations.
Similarly, the industry convenes annually at AFRICA’S TRAVEL INDABA IN DURBAN during May. At this year's trade show, we will also take the opportunity to host a celebratory event in Durban, bringing together partners, friends, and buyers to reflect on 25 years of Cape Town Safaris. More details will be forthcoming.
While our calendar is already filled to the brim, we are thrilled to share that we are the anniversary sponsor for the 2024 JIVE CAPE TOWN FUNNY FESTIVAL. In 2024, this comedy festival at the Baxter Theatre will also celebrate its 25th anniversary. This collaboration provides the perfect platform to reconnect with Cape Town, and we look forward to hosting a trade night out—filled with laughter—at this iconic Cape Town event. Be on the lookout for invitations to join us for a fun night out in June.
As you can see, we are fully prepared to embrace 2024, collaborate, and share time with our invaluable partners. However, beyond these events, gatherings, and activations, the Aquila Collection is continually expanding its offerings, services, and amenities. While we have a plethora of ideas and plans in store, the following confirmed updates can be included in your planning:
POP-UP TENTED CAMP
In February, we will launch a MICE-specific POP-UP TENTED CAMP capable of accommodating up to 150 people sharing. This is a standout addition to our 2024 operations. The inaugural one night camp will be set up at Stone Cottage on Aquila Private Game Reserve, offering a truly unique safari camp experience situated just outside Cape Town. These pop-up tented camps are luxurious and include en-suite hot water showers and bio toilets, along with a stunning veranda. Tailored for MICE groups, this unique setup can be installed at any of our multiple locations, from Stone Cottage to the conference center at Aquila, to the plains of Inverdoorn, or at the boma or quarry at Kamagu. If you have clients with specific needs, please reach out to Jamie-Lee or Charalize for customised quotes. Please note that lead time for campsite setup will be required, and we eagerly await the opportunity to share more content with you shortly.
REBUILD OF KUGANHA TENTED CAMP
As the crowning jewel of the Aquila Collection, we are currently in the midst of a complete REBUILD OF KUGANHA TENTED CAMP. Imagine the world’s most luxurious retreats in the Maldives, Dubai, and other exotic destinations, add the most luxurious spa facilities, the most breath-taking Tankwa Karoo views, and introduce fully equipped tented units with in-room spas—all just outside of Cape Town. The reimagined Kuganha Tented Camp, featuring a new main lodge and ten spacious units thoughtfully positioned for privacy, will offer our partners the most luxurious tented safari retreat ever seen, right outside the most beautiful city in the world. The tented camp is set to open in mid-2024, with each tent equipped with every conceivable amenity and service, complemented by a full in-room spa per tent, ensuring unprecedented privacy and remote luxury. More information and launch dates will be communicated in due course.
LOGANDA KAROO LODGE
Loganda has received a remarkable upgrade and is now open to welcome our drivers and guides. While we understand that these essential team members have become accustomed to staying at Aquila or Inverdoorn during your guests’ visits, we had to reassess our business model in a post-pandemic world. Unfortunately (and fortunately), our occupancies no longer allow us to host these team members at Aquila or Inverdoorn as we have in the past. As per the SLA or STO agreements, drivers and guides are entitled to complimentary accommodation as per booking terms. Stays at Inverdoorn or Aquila are still possible but will incur charges. The Loganda facilities are now bright, beautiful, and fully operational. If you have a moment, please visit https://logandalodge.co.za/ to see the upgrades.
With these events and projects already in the pipeline, we look forward to spending time with you over the next 12 months and continuing to improve our services, facilities, and offerings to ensure a warm welcome for your valued guests.
For more information on any of the aforementioned points, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me or the team.
Alternatively, you can join us throughout the year to learn more about the ever-expanding Aquila Collection—a portfolio of big 5 safari lodges and unique bucket list experiences situated just outside of Cape Town.
We offer a wide range of accommodation types, day trip excursions, adventure activities, experiences, conference venues, and event spaces, all designed to showcase: REAL AFRICA—REAL CLOSE TO CAPE TOWN
Johan Van Schalkwyk
Group Marketing and Trade Manager