Accessible Capetown Part I
Capetown is one of my favourite cities in the world. I was born here and so come back often. The best way to get around Cape Town is by car, as there are so many amazing places to visit outside the city centre. However the city Sightseeing bus is wheelchair accessible and does offer tours around the peninsula and out to Cape Point – but nothing beat the flexibility of your own car. Below I have listed my favourite wheelchair accessible activities and tourist attractions
Table Mountain – I’m going to start with Table Mountain because, that is the number one tourist attraction. Its an unforgettable part of Cape Town’s skyline and as you drive around, it can be seen from every angle.
However the best views are from the top of the mountain. My best advice would be to go on a day that’s forecast to be nice and sunny. You don’t want to go on a wet, windy, overcast day as the views would be terrible and if the weather is really terrible they can sometimes close the mountain.
There are 2 ways to get up – first is to walk which is not accessible at all. The second is to catch the cable car up. The que to get up to table mountain can be very very long. Luckily, as a wheelchair user you can skip the almost hour line to get your tickets and they take you up to the platform where the cable car goes from. The cable car is also completely flat to get in. Once up the top the path can be a little uneven in places. They have now developed a special wheelchair accessible path that can take you most the away around the top of the mountain. The only problem is that it can be a little hard to find when you are up the top. When I looked at the map I thought the wheelchair symbols indicated where the accessible toilets where. My advice would be to ask one of the cable car attendants where the path actually starts. Otherwise you would just be sitting around thinking that you could only access a few vantage points, like I was. The wheelchair accessible path can be a little uneven in parts and does have a couple of hills. But is completely doable with a person and even by yourself.
Overall this is one attraction that I would definitely not miss.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront – V&A Waterfront is a shopping precinct situated around the main Cape Town working harbour. There are heaps of shops where you can buy your South Africans souvenirs, and lots of restaurants on the water with magnificent views of Table Mountain. There is also always buskers and entertainers around the waterfront.
Robben Island – An Island just off of Cape Town, most famous for being the place where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years before the fall of apartheid. Other than being a former prison, Robben Island has also been a leper colony and quarantine station.
The boat leaves from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. There is a ramp to get onto the boat however it is rather steep and you will probably need assistance. Once on the Island you get on a bus which takes you around to various locations of interest. There is a very small lift to get into the bus – my top tip would be to email the ticket office with dimensions of your chair to see whether it fits on the lift. Most the stops have very rough terrain, so it can be a bit difficult to get around.
The last stop is the prison block where Nelson Mandela was held. Again the ground was a bit rough and some of the ramps into and out of the cell block were very steep, so assistance is needed.
TOP TIP: If you plan on going to Robben Island, book your tickets months in advance as only limited numbers are allowed and tickets go very quickly especially in the summer months.
Boulders Beach and Simons Town: Simons Town is a cute historical coastal town which is home to South African’s Naval base. The town is flat and pretty accessible. A few of the shops have a step to get in as they are very old.
Boulder’s Beach is just up the road from Simons Town and is home to a large penguin colony. There is a fully accessible board walk that has been built and allows you to go down to the beach and through the vegetation. From here you can see the penguins easily.
And that’s Part 1. You cab find Part II of accessible Cape Town here.