Ensuring that a luxury vacation caters for all needs
The question of accessibility when travelling concerns more than just ramps and lifts for wheelchair users. It’s important to ensure that people with all types of disabilities are able to gain equal access to facilities, programmes and services that will make a luxury vacation complete.
If you are of able body and mind, it’s easy to take your freedom of movement for granted, people with disabilities don’t always have the luxury of assuming that they will be able to use common public areas abroad, such as restaurants and shops, or participate in all activities.
Careful holiday preparation is, therefore, key, in order to ensure that travel experiences are fulfilling — whether you have a visual impairment, a physical disability or are hard of hearing.
For example, those with a mobility impairment need to ensure that their accommodation allows for use of a wheelchair, while a person with epilepsy needs to feel confident that they can receive first-class medical attention if they have a seizure.
Fortunately, travel in South Africa is accessible for all, and most major attractions and facilities across the country are accessible for visitors with disabilities. Here are 7 reasons why South Africa is a great place to travel if you have a disability.
1. The rights of people with disabilities are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and legislation requires that public buildings can be accessed by everyone. Airports, service stations, major attractions, game reserves and shopping centres provide appropriate access points, as well as specific ablution facilities and parking.
Many nature reserves and gardens have Braille trails for the visually impaired, while South African National Parks’ camps provide ramped access into their main facilities and accessible public ablution facilities. Many of the camps also offer selected units that have been adapted for guests in wheelchairs, using crutches, or who are frail.
2. Most domestic flights in South Africa allow guide dogs to travel in the cabin with their owner.
3. If booked in advance, some of the larger car rental companies, such as Avis and Budget, are able to provide adapted rental cars, including those with hand controls. Parking bays for the physically challenged can also often be found at the main gates to parks and attractions.
4. If you wish to visit the country’s capital, every second train of the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link offers special access for passengers with disabilities, and its stations are accessible for all.
5. In Johannesburg, you can hire wheelchairs and scooters that can be delivered to the airport or your hotel. You can also request a wheelchair or transport by electric cart at the airport to move around the terminal and take you to your plane.
6. The new South African banknotes have markings that allow for tactile identification, as well as large geometric shapes on the front of the notes that serve as an aid for those who are partially sighted.
7. Universal accessibility is now part of the grading criteria of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, which aims to ensure that any operations in the hospitality sector meet with international standards, especially when it comes to easy access and clear signage.
Elite Travel Concept is committed to ensuring that a luxury vacation caters for all needs and abilities. Drop us a line to find out more about how we evaluate facilities, accommodation and restaurants to ensure they are accessible to travellers with special needs.