Travel Tips for the Enabled Traveller
Restricted to a wheelchair, visually impaired, physically challenged?
Don't let this keep you from exploring our beautiful country. Go out there, have fun!
Many facilities in South Africa still lack in accessibility, but if we all make an effort and de-mystify the status of disability in our society, we will all feel much more enabled and empowered.
Plan your itinerary well. Make sure you calculate the distances between various destinations and include pit - stops. If you are blind or visually impaired, make sure to carry written instructions on how to reach your hotel, conference or guest house. Even if you can't read them you can ask for help by showing them to someone else if you get lost. It's also helpful to have a copy of the exact address of where you are going. A driver may not know where a specific hotel is, especially if there are several with the same name.
If there are flights involved on your holiday,
make sure you ask for seats most suitable for you such as bulkhead (more legroom), moveable armrests, close to toilets etc.
Wheelchair users, pack your tools in your main baggage, or they will be confiscated at security checkpoints.
Pack essential medication in your hand luggage.
For wheelchair users: stay in your own chair until you get to the door of the airplane. In case of flight departure delays, ten hours of sitting in the departure lounge in a standard airport chair is nobody’s ideal day out.
Should you travel off the beaten track, make sure you have your prescription drugs on you, or verify if they can be stocked up during your trip without prescriptions.
Money? Spread it around! Well, spread it under your cushion, in your socks, in a money belt under your T-Shirt. Restrictive mobility can make you vulnerable, but being alert and vigilant, and acting confident and in control reduce your chances of theft.
It is not easy to always find roll in showers while journeying the seven corners of the world, and often a hose-down in the sunshine or a bucket of water over your head is the best you will get. Try to do this in private to avoid crowds of amused children. Throw a bin liner over your chair backrest to keep it dry. DO NOT SHOWER WHILE SITTING IN YOUR CHAIR IF YOU USE A POWERCHAIR, RISK OF ELECTROLUTION!
Overheating and getting too cold is not only uncomfortable but also dangerous. To stay warm is easy – double layers of warm clothing. And to stay cool, use a plant spray bottle and regularly drench your head, face, arms and legs. Sweat replacement that does not smell!
Look after your skin as you will not be in your own bed and you will be traveling in different vehicles. Use a pressure-relieving cushion as much as possible in cars, and take an inflatable Thermarest mattress, which, if only half inflated, provides a comfortable base on a bed mattress.
It is generally easy to find people to help you with lifts and transfers, but over-enthusiasm may be the next problem. Choose who you want to lift you, explain clearly how you want it done and stay in control of the situation. It may be being a bit assertive but better than being upside down in the dust with your chair on your head.
Source: Gordon Rattray
Accessible Adventure Travel Advice
Visit www.able-travel.com for more information.
Wheelchair Friendly Accommodation
Below is just an appetizing selection of wheelchair accessible establishments on SafariNow.com – should your heart be set at any other establishment on our site, just contact them and ask them about accessibility by making an online enquiry.
When contacting these establishments, tell them that you need to talk to someone who can give you some details about their rooms equipped for guest with disabilities. Speak to someone who has actually been in the rooms, and instead of asking ‘do you have roll-in showers’, ask them to tell you about the bathrooms. If you have trouble getting the information you need, ask to speak with the establishment owner of general manager.
Heatherdale Country House and Conference Venue in Randburg, Johannesburg
Harbour Lodge in Hout Bay, Cape Town
Mnandi Lodge in Bloubergstrand, Cape Town
Quarry Lake Inn in East London
Victoria and Alfred Guest House in Port Elizabeth
Acacia Lodge in Bloemfontein
Tshukudu Game Lodge in Hoedspruit
Interested in doing an overland Safari Tour, with hands-on experience, involvement and outdoors fun? In adjusted, comfortable overland trucks, driven and guided by specialists in enabled travels? Contact Epic Enabled.
Author: Barbara Ulmi
* We rely on Google's mapping service, and the location information supplied to
us to show street view images. Please use street view as a guide only as we cannot
guarantee its accuracy.
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling