The call of a Crested Francolin heralds the start of a new day.
The horizon is starting to lighten, the air is crisp on this early morning. The smell and warmth provided by a cup of freshly brewed coffee is heavenly.
There is the crackle of anticipation and excitement as we climb on the game viewer, blankets and hot water bottles are adjusted to keep the chill at bay. We are almost ready to set off when we hear the unmistakable sound of a male lion roaring. It echoes across the plain in front of the lodge, announcing his ownership of this small piece of Africa.
We come out of the lodge and turn north to where we heard the roaring, we turn onto the airstrip and turn off the engine. We sit in comfortable silence as we watch the sunrise paint the sky in vivid shades of orange, blue and pink, the perfect start to a day.
We are just about to depart when another roar rolls across the bush. We start up heading in the direction of the sound, all our senses tuned as we look for signs of the lion. The tracker holds his hand up, NGALA over there! We all follow where he is pointing and slowly the large cat emerges into the early morning light. The lion is scent marking on bushes along the roadside as he walks towards us, ensuring that his territory is proclaimed.
There is a collective holding of breath as the lion walks straight past us, not even acknowledging our presence, intent on tracking down the pride. We turn the vehicle around and follow him for a while before we get treated to a full-throated roar, the steam giving a visual representation to the sounds we are hearing, but it is more than that, for those that have heard it a lion roar is felt rather than heard. We move on and continue our morning adventures as the large cat falls asleep in the warmth of the morning sun.
This is why we love a morning safari!!
The decision to go on a safari is an exciting one and once the ball is rolling and plans are being made, destinations are being discussed and questions start to be asked.
Now imagine having to do this when you are faced with mobility issues and need to use a wheelchair?
Is it even possible?
Can I do this independently and still be as immersed in the entire safari, regardless of my mobility issues?
The short answer to this is YES!
Ximuwu Lodge has changed the landscape for what we sure will become the industry standards for mobility access.
This all starts from the time you arrive at Hoedspruit airport.
We will be waiting for you with a specially designed transfer vehicle that will allow you to comfortably travel to the lodge seated in your personal wheelchair, which is securely fastened into the vehicle, or you could also take the option of moving into an automated seat that lowers to a level allowing you to effortless access into and out of the vehicle from your wheelchair.
A brief thirty-minute transfer to the lodge and you arrive to smiling faces, warm welcomes and a lodge that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. Large open pathways, lodge areas that have sufficient space between furnishings, an automated pool lift to allow brought along and you to access the pool at your leisure and all of this on a level, easily navigated, floor and deck that has no steps.
The rooms are beautifully appointed to the highest standards and feature fully automated beds, specially designed bathroom facilities with hinged shower doors, handrails, and shower seats.
All designed to international accessibility standards.
Once you have freshened up and are ready to head out on safari your personal guide and tracker will be waiting to escort you out into the Klaserie Nature Reserve to enjoy the breathtaking wildlife journey on offer. This is done from the comfort seats in the back of a game viewing vehicle that in conjunction with the custom-built ramp and a specially designed seat allow you to easily transfer from your wheelchair to the game viewer.
There may be a few surprises during your stay, these may include special meals or sundowners that are enjoyed out in the bush. The lodge staff will always ensure that your wheelchair is brought along, mobile ramps are put in place that allow you to fully partake in these special occasions.
As I said before the answer to the question of whether I can go on safari regardless of my mobility issues is YES! Ximuwu Lodge can make safari memories that last a lifetime for everyone.