Safari Adventures in Southern Africa with a Wheelchair

Hello everyone! First off, a big thank you to John for inviting me to submit a short introduction and to tell you a bit about who I am and what my new blog is all about.

My name is Dave and my wife’s name is Pippa.

I suffered a spinal cord injury in 1973 at the age of 18 while doing National Service in the army in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). I was born and raised in Rhodesia and had the privilege of being part of a family that enjoyed the outdoor life which is where my love for wildlife and spending time in the bush began. Circumstances changed though when my family moved to Cape Town and after my accident so I didn’t really have an opportunity to get out there except for regular trips to the more established game reserves such as Kruger National Park here in South Africa. Very frustrating, but for many years I accepted that as being the reality of my life.

In 2011 my younger brother returned from a camping trip in Moremi National Park in Botswana. He knew that I missed those types of experiences and posted a photograph of one of their campsites with the comment: “Dave…you could manage there. The campsites are level and the ground is firm”. That was the catalyst that I needed to change my mindset and to give it a go! The first thing I needed though was a decent 4x4 vehicle that would get us through the very rough tracks and conditions in those remote parts of Africa. It didn’t take long!

Dave seated inside his Land Rover vehicle.
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Since then, Pippa and I have so far completed 6 overland trips and travelled through Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and of course different parts of South Africa. It’s not always been easy and we’ve made mistakes and learned some hard lessons along the way.

Land Rover with travel trailer parked along a sandy road in Africa
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They have all been adventures that we treasure and will never forget. The peace and beauty when you’re camping in the African wilderness is simply amazing. Lying on your camp bed at night with only the canvas of your tent separating you from Hyena scrounging around your campsite or Lions roaring close by can be nerve racking but is such a thrill. It becomes addictive!

Elephants seen against a picturesque sunset in Africa
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We finally started our blog (Stuck In The Mud) a few weeks ago with the aim of sharing our travelling experiences with the public in general but also to hopefully encourage other wheelchair users who are looking for an African adventure to get out there and try it. We aim to build up a data base which will detail lodges, campsites and over-night accommodation that we have used and descriptions of the facilities that we hope will be of use to wheelchair travellers who would like to plan similar adventures. We’ll also be available to give more in-depth advice and tips on what to expect and what equipment to carry in order to make life a bit easier.

I’ve started posting our trip reports and hope to complete the historical ones over the next few weeks. After that we plan to get going on new adventures which will keep the blog flowing!

Please visit our blog at http://stuckinthemud.co.za/. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures and will continue to follow us and to share with your friends.

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