If you are like me and love animals and adventure, then an African Safari should be on your bucket list. Safaris and safari lodges are usually located in more remote locations which means sometimes accessibility can be a bit questionable. Quite a few lodges have level access and their are a few that are specifically built for disabled patrons. There are a few options when booking a safari. These include all inclusive safaris in private game parks, self catered options, or maybe a specific wheelchair accessible tour.
Victoria Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world and is one of the 7 natural wonders. It borders the African countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
We saw the waterfall from the Zimbabwe side and the good news is, that from this vantage point, it is pretty much accessible. A driver picked us up from our accomodation and took us to the entrance of Victoria Falls National Park. From the main entrance there is a pathway that takes you along the Zimbabwe side of the gorge, where you can see the falls from a variety of different vantage points.
Below please find Part II of accessible Cape Town. You can find Part I here.
Cape Point: Where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Cape Point is located in a beautiful national park and a drive around is recommended. Once in the park, you follow signs to Cape Point and at the bottom there is carpark and from there you can get up to the point. There are two options to get up to the top. The first is a very steep hill which even though there are no steps I would not recommend it. Alternatively there is a wheelchair accessible funicular.
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.
Place: Oudtshoorn – Barrydale Accomodation: Karoo Art Hotel Time Spent: 1 night
From Wilderness we headed inland into the desert of little Karoo. The drive up over into the dessert was absolutely breathtaking. Our first stop was Oudtshoorn which became very wealthy in the late 1800’s to early 1900s due to the sale of Ostrich feathers. Today the demand for Ostrich feathers isn’t that high, however Ostrich farms and farm tours bring in a lot of tourists.
Place: Storms River Accomodation: Tube n Axe Lodge Backpackers Time Spent: 1 night
Storms River is a small little town allows access to the famous Tsitsikama National Park and is from where you can sign up for many activities such as canyoning, blackwater tubing, tree top ziplining, hiking and the infamous Bloukrans bungy (the highest bungy jump in the world).
Place: Port Elizabeth Accomodation: Island Vibe Beach House Time spent: 1 night
I flew into Port Elizabeth early in the morning and spent the whole day and the night. There is not much to do at Port Elizabeth. It an industrial town and the town centre has a lot of industry and factories. The hostel is nice and near the beach and you can also walk to the casino/waterfront/pier area which has some shops and restaurants. The pier and casino/ waterfront area is all accessible.
My plan after landing in South Africa was to spend the next 8 days travelling down South Africa’s Eastern Coast from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
How I got around: I landed into Johannesburg, after loosing a day due to delayed flights. The good thing about Johannesburg airport is, as a person with a disability you get an assigned ‘helper’, so while I was running around trying to sort out my flights, my helper was following me around with my bags. After sorting everything out I then caught a plane to Port Elizabeth to commence my road trip.
When you travel, things are always going to go wrong no matter how well you plan every detail of your trip. Planes get cancelled or delayed, bags get lost, mistakes are made when booking accommodation etc. These things happen regardless of whether you have a disability or not. But having a disability does mean that it can be a bit more difficult. I have complied a list of tips below and also a compilation of everything that went wrong on my trip and what I did about it.
I was meant to spend 2 whole days in Bath. One catching up with an old friend and another day exploring the old town. However instead of spending my Sunday in Bath it was spent in Dublin airport waiting for my flight, due to an earlier weather cancellation. By the time I got to bath the Sunday was pretty much over.
I flew into Bristol and from Bristol you can get a bus that takes you to Bath. The bus company I used was Air Decker . It is supposed to have an accessible ramp, however because I was having such a great day (sarcasm intended), the ramp didn’t work. The bus driver was also incredibly unhelpful and so some lovely passengers carried me on.