It's not always easy to travel when you're disabled. The often inadequate infrastructure can erode the desire to leave. A couple from the Netherlands and living in South Africa decided to offer a unique experience in the world: a safari accessible to wheelchair users in Klaserie National Park, 6h30 drive from Johannesburg.
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As CN Traveller reports, it all started in 2017. Patrick Suverein, a Dutchman who owns a 2000,<>-hectare private reserve in Klaserie Park, is temporarily immobilized due to back problems. His workplace becomes inaccessible to him. Far from seeing it as inevitable, he thinks with his partner Elly about adapting the reserve to people in wheelchairs. This reflection was then extended to all people who encounter difficulties in their mobility.
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The smallest details thought out
This is how Ximuwu Lodge (pronounced Shi-mu-wu), a 5-star hotel, was born. Accessible both by car and by plane (from the small town of Hoedspruit, which offers flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town), the place allows a first immersion in the famous Kruger Park. The smallest stage of the journey is suitable for wheelchair users. All transfers are taken care of, whether it's transportation from the airport or shuttles to get to the safaris. As noted by journalist Sophie Morgan, herself with a disability, the smallest details have been thought out: the portable pool winch, the adapted showers, the adjustable beds in some suites or the rising platforms.
Ximuwu Lodge offers wheelchair-friendly facilities. Screenshot - Ximuwu Lodge
The Land Cruiser, which allows you to carry out the safari, is equipped with sliding seats for easy access to the vehicle. The routes within the reserve are also suitable for wheelchairs, which can roam without hindrance. The lodge even offers a helicopter tour, again accessible for people with reduced mobility.
Ximuwu Kloserie even adapts to photo lovers, where photographic covers are positioned at the height of the armchairs. So many installations that dazzled the CN Traveller journalist: "Fortunately, [Patrick Suverein, editor's note] has not only changed his own world, but also all our experiences for the better. In Ximuwu, an accessible and positive safari awaits you." And the bill seems to be up to this 5-star service: count at least 3975 euros per night for four people, for a minimum stay of three days.