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Most comfortable camps for paraplegics

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:15 am

Hi and Welcome,

Berg-en-Dal would be great! I would also suggest Skukuza and Letaba. There is also a very nice birdhide called Ntandanyathi between Lower Sabie and Croc bridge.

Enjoy!!
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Unread postby Meg » Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:50 pm

Hi Bodger, unfortunately I can't answer your question. However, your brother might be able to provide valuable input for other visitors if he comes back to this forum after your trip to let us know how he finds various places!

Sorry I can't be more helpful, hopefully someone else who can be will see this thread.
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Unread postby EricExSA » Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:55 pm

Try this link from SANParks home page
http://www.sanparks.org/groups/disabilities/
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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:20 pm

Bodger, that took a lot of searching, but I remembered one of our friends is a wheelchair user. Follow the link below. I'm sure Umvubu won't mind receiving a PM from you either! 8)

Accessible ablutions
(Link does not work anymore... DQ)

I hope you find the answers you're looking for and enjoy the trip! :D
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Most comfortable camps for paraplegics

Unread postby Owl » Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:51 pm

Bad call on the accessibility front Wildtuinman. Berg-en-dal is great, but the accessible units ablutions suck!! But the good news is that there are plans to upgrade and improve. Letaba's good Bodger if you can handle a bath as opposed to a roll-in shower, although there is a communal roll-in shower about 30 metres from the accessible bungalows. Skukuza has several accessible units and most are very comfortable.

I rate croc. bridge's accessible accommodation highly and Mopani is comfortable too. There is a new accessible safari tent in Punda that I haven't tried out yet, and if your brother is keen on birds, Punda and Pafuri are the top spots in the park.

But you also ask about other parks. Marakele in the Waterberg is probably the best accessible accommodation in the parks, both Bontle camp site and Tlopi Tented Camp. The Kgalagadi has some good converted units too, which will be great if he likes raptors and some arid species.

Cheers

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Most comfortable camps for wheelchair users

Unread postby Umvubu » Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:58 pm

Have to agree with Owl - Berg-en-Dal is a stunning camp, but the ablutions in the wheelchair friendly cottages are poor.

I struggle with a bath as transfering requires too much strength, so I like venues with roll-in showers. Pretoriuskop is great and I have had gret birding there too.

Mapungubwe is also great for birds and the accessible boardwalk through the Limpopo Riverine Forest is absolutely brilliant. The birds are buzzing around your head, while the beasties pass underneath you.

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Re: Most comfortable camps for paraplegics

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:51 am

Owl wrote:Bad call on the accessibility front Wildtuinman. Berg-en-dal is great, but the accessible units ablutions suck!!


Ouch!! Harsh words from a knowledgeble man. :lol: Sorry Owl, just shows me how difficult it really is to notice those small things we take for granted.

Cheers guys.
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Unread postby HiltonP » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:03 pm

wildtuinman . . . Owl actually let you off lightly . . :)

Next year it will be 25 years since the first International Year of the Disabled. Twenty five years down the line and we're still being spun the story that more access will be provided "in the future". Just how long do we have to wait?

I'm looking into a trip to Kgalagadi (as a permanent wheelchair user and freelance travel writer), and there's not much choice. Of the 162 accommodations available only 6 are accessable. Five of the nine camps offer no accessable accommodation.

In this day and age that's not good at all.

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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:25 pm

Welcome to the forum HiltonP.

I see you mention that you are a freelance travel writer. Must be an interesting job. Do you think that if you write an article focusing on this specific topic, naming facilities that are well equipped for the task and publish this in a reputable travel magazine that something might change?

Maybe something like a top 20 destinations, but also a top 20 worst destinations.

As WTM said we as able bodied do not always see the "small things" that actually make a huge difference.
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Unread postby HiltonP » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:43 pm

francoisd . . . Thanks for the reply. That's what I generally try and do. I travel (when the bank manager allows!) and report on my findings . . hense my currently eye-ing Kgalagadi.

It's pretty difficult getting local mags / papers to publish. Many refuse outright because they see disabled travel as being a limited market (forgetting that disabled people have able-bodied friends). Others edit out any reference to disability.

I've had more success with foreign websites, and travel guides such as Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, etc. They accept my work and incorporate it into their guides.

I personally don't buy the excuse that able-bodied architects, developers and contractors don't know how to provide disabled access. There is plenty of info available, as well as people who provide access evaluation services. Architecture students have been exposed to disabled access study modules for over a decade now, they simply choose to ignore it when they get out in the real world.

I also believe that disabled people need to expand their horizons more, and not wait for utopia to arrive. Having said that it galls me that in SA, in virtually 2006, we're still being asked to wait for access . . .

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SANParks Accessibility

Unread postby Owl » Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:37 pm

Dear HiltonP

Thanks for a really pertinent post. As a SANParks employee who is also a paraplegic I empathise with your sentiment. Ideally we would like to have every type of accommodation offered by our National Parks have at least one such unit that is adapted. This is easier said than done. With any new infrastructure this has been easily achieved and thus in the last 3 years 24 new universally accessible (UA) units across the parks have been added accounting for about all 15% of all new units added. Additionally, a few of the older “accessible" units have received improving upgrades. These new units have been funded almost exclusively by cash injections from government. Additionally several exciting accessible facilities such as several UA trails, hides, lookout points, visitor centres etc, have been added. Some of these have been government funded, others initiated by our public volunteer force, the Honorary Rangers.

However modifying the existing tourism plant is not something that has yielded the same results mainly because the national parks are run on such a limited budget that refurbishment or modification expenditure is often unavailable. Thus getting a wider accessible accommodation selection has proved very frustrating.

The situation for Kgalagadi is however slightly better than you assert. There are currently 6 units out of 92 in the park that are accessible to the mobility impaired (I think you counted campsites in your park total), + two of the 3 camp sites have accessible ablutions (servicing 44 of the park's 64 berths). Currently 5 of the 9 camps have adapted accommodation. I have sat with the corporate architects and approved plans for 3 additional units to be upgraded from the existing units. I am pleased about this because in the past some of the units that have been built to be accessible have been done so with little consultation and the result has seen some of these units not as comfortable and practical for wheelchair users as they could be.

I have just contacted the park today to enquire on their progress. They inform me that these additional units will only be converted to accessible status when money for their facelift (which is significant) is received from the government poverty relief budget. When this is done 9 out of 92 units and 6 of the 9 camps will afford accessible opportunity. At 10% this is the bottom range of where we need to be, purely and simply because a universally accessible unit is accessible to all visitors, while other units are not. Of the 3 camps that will continue have no accessible opportunity, one is raised on stilts; one is atop a sand dune making wheelchair access tricky; while the 3rd is some 3 km from a new camp where 2 accessible units occur and the accommodation in the offending camp is old or unsuitable and will be difficult to modify. This camp does however have adapted accessible public ablutions.

Below is a tabulated breakdown of the park's accommodation.

Camp/universally accessible units/Total units/Uni-accessible Camping
Twee Rivieren/1 (+1 pending)/31/Yes (24 berths)
Mata Mata/0 (only a toilet)/8/No (20 berths)
Nossob/0 (+2 pending)18/Yes (20 berths)
Bitterpan/1/4/-
Gharagab/0/4/-
Grootkolk/1/4/-
Kalahari Tent Camp/2/15/-
Kieliekrankie/1/4/-
Urikaruus/0/4/-
Total/6 (+3 pending)/92/2 of 3


While I am the first to concede that the parks are not where they need and want to be in terms of universal access, some of our tourism plants compare very favourably in terms of access opportunity for people with disabilities compared to National Parks in Europe, North America, Australia and India.

When I first visited the park as an MSc student some 9 years ago there was no adapted accommodation in Kgalagadi and all the accessible units described above have been created in the last few years. Some of the units may not be completely ideally designed, but do allow wheelchair users and other mobility impaired individuals to be independent and enjoy the park. I can really recommend a visit to the Kgalagadi to anyone, as one will encounter some phenomenal wildlife encounters. The Kalahari sand, the limits to potable water supply and the extreme temperature gradient make travelling to the park a challenge for many people and especially the mobility impaired and particularly spinal injuries, but the rewards and experiences certainly make things worthwhile.

If you want to contact me directly to discuss the attractions and possible shortcomings for a wheelchair user you will encounter in Kgalagadi or any other park you can contact me, either through find contact for Chris Patton, or send a private mail to this forum address.

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I suggest a visit to Boulders

Unread postby smb » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:51 pm

Boulders may not really be a 'camp', but its designed to accomodate wheelchairs and if your in Cape Town looking to do some bird watching - the African Penguin is a bird afterall.
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Acces for wheelchairs

Unread postby louis dreyer » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:55 am

:D Thanks for a good forum.
On the topic off access for wheelchair, some of them is good some bad, but if you realy love nature like my wife, she is in a wheelchair, the the problems are not too big to overcome, Letaba camp got a nice wheelchair roll in shower that we use everytime we go to Kruger. Tamboti tent camp got excelent facilities for disabled people.
Thank Louis

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Unread postby louis dreyer » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:58 am

HiltonP wrote:wildtuinman . . . Owl actually let you off lightly . . :)

Next year it will be 25 years since the first International Year of the Disabled. Twenty five years down the line and we're still being spun the story that more access will be provided "in the future". Just how long do we have to wait?

I'm looking into a trip to Kgalagadi (as a permanent wheelchair user and freelance travel writer), and there's not much choice. Of the 162 accommodations available only 6 are accessable. Five of the nine camps offer no accessable accommodation.

In this day and age that's not good at all.


Hilton i have recently joined the forum. I see that you travel a lot and found that accomodation and getting around at the parks is not very easy, my wife is in a wheelchair now for 10 years. I would like to get in contact with you and find out where and wich camps you have found not to be bad, doesn't have to be sanparks, can be private parks or lodges.

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Unread postby bucky » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:31 pm

I am not sure if these camps have accomodation for disabled folks , but from the point of view of just moving about the camp grounds , satara and shingwedzi would both be relatively easy for 1 in a wheelchair to get about on there own in the camps grounds as they are pretty level camps , shingwedzi has swept hard sand grounds .
Shingwedzi has spectacular bird life in the camp , and your brother would be able to get around quite easily to do some bird viewing on his own.


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