Guests of all abilities can now explore the African bush thanks to accessible wheelchair safaris hosted by Ximuwu Lodge. Gemma Harris reports
Thanks to wheelchair accesible safaris, Ximuwu Lodge in South Africa says people are “no longer limited by physical constraints, and everyone can partake in the adventure and create unforgettable memories” when they visit.
Ximuwu Lodge is located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, bordering the famous Great Kruger region, and is owned and operated by Patrick and Elly Suverein.
The property’s innovative wheelchair safaris were developed after Patrick underwent back surgery, leaving him reliant on a wheelchair. It was at this point that he recognised the absence of safari lodges when travelling around Africa in 2017 that could cater to his accessibility needs.
Ximuwu Lodge stands as the sole accommodation within the 6,500-hectare of private reserve and is accessed by a short flight to the nearest airport of Hoedspruit or a six-hour drive from Johannesburg. All transfers arranged in adapted land cruisers are also wheelchair accessible.Guided by rangers, safaris can be taken using the accessible gameviewer vans designed to accommodate wheelchairs. For viewing and to get close to nature, there are mobile ramps to access both morning and afternoon photographic hide locations strategically positioned for optimal lighting and opportunity for capturing the Big Five and other wildlife.
Accessibility has been considered everywhere, with thoughtful design details peppered throughout the property, including spacious corridors, wide doorways, a portable pool hoist to access the water, accessible bathroom features, grab rails and electronically adjustable bed configurations to cater to guests’ needs. For mealtimes, the lodge comes with a private chef who can host versatile culinary arrangements, whether a bush picnic, formal dinners or poolside snacks. A mixologist and sommelier are on hand at the lodge to advise on all guest drinks and pairing options.
Ximuwu Lodge has four private suites, each with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the plains, sleeping a total group size of eight guests. Amenities consist of indoor and outdoor dining areas, a lounge, a sun deck and a firepit, as well as a 16-metre swimming pool.
In addition, the lodge experience includes 24-hour butler service, access to a spa, scenic helicopter flights and a secluded treehouse for open-air sleeping.