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People with Disabilities
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Detailed descriptions for KNP
The following document details information for visitors with mobility impairment, particularly wheelchair users, the aged, people with incapacitated limbs, mothers with prams etc. Descriptions were accurate at the last time of visitation by the writer. With developments some of this information may have changed (for the good!!!)
Visitor access in the Kruger National Park for people with mobility difficulties
This brochure provides the visitor with a description of the levels of accessibility for the physically impaired at all visitor points throughout the Kruger National Park. These points include the 12 major rest camps, the 5 bushveld camps, the 4 satellite camps, the 2 bush lodges, the park entrance gates, the numerous picnic sites and other get-out points that are scattered throughout the park. (NB It does not include the privately operated concession sites). The brochure was compiled by a staff member in a wheelchair, who visited all the described places and assessed them in terms of their accessibility potential for visitors with restricted mobility, particularly those in wheelchairs, with prams or with other mobility assisting devices. Access from the perspective of a wheelchair user is used as a yardstick and the grading is done from his subjective opinion.
Advice for Tourists with Disabilities
- Should visitors require accommodation with accessible facilities for physical impairment, they must inform the reservation office when making their booking.
- Visitors with inflatable tyres are advised that thorns are a potential risk – though not generally a problem at main tourism destination. However as a precaution, spare tubes, puncture repair kits or heavy-duty tyres are recommended.
- Accessible ablution facilities are indicated in the text.
- Traveling with an inflatable back cushion with suction points is a good idea for showers and baths. Folded towels make comfortable seat padding.
- People susceptible to extreme heat should note that summer temperatures (particularly December to February) can be extremely high.
- The park is in a malaria area. While spraying of the camp facilities is done there is a potential risk. The late summer months (February to April) are the most vulnerable times. Visitors who take medication should check with their doctor to determine whether they can take certain prophylactics.
- Hire of Hand-controlled vehicle: Tourists wishing to make use of hand-controlled vehicles can do so through contacting Avis in South Africa – 086 102 1111. Bookings must be made at least 4 days in advance. Vehicles obtained in the park are available only at the Avis counters at Skukuza Airport or Skukuza Camp Reception.
- Game Drives: The park takes visitors out on guided night and morning game drives. With no specific adapted vehicles, interested wheelchair users will have to be lifted onto the vehicles.
- Disability Tour Operators: Certain private operators specialize in tours for people with disabilities. They have adapted vehicles and in some cases adapted tents for camping. Details of recommended ones can be found on adjacent pages.
- Bush Braais and Breakfasts: Certain camps offer visitors the opportunity for having a meal around a campfire or breakfast in the bush. Transport restrictions are the same as on game drives.
- Walks and Trails: For safety reasons in the presence of many dangerous animals, people with mobility difficulties are not permitted on guided walks through the bush.
For those persons unfamiliar with the location of the camps within the park, the following is a geographical breakdown of the 4 regions of Kruger:
- Southern Region (between the Crocodile and Sabie Rivers): Berg-en-Dal, Biyamiti, Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabie, Malelane, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza.
- Central Region (between the Sabie and Olifants Rivers): Balule, Orpen (with Maroela and Tamboti as Satellite camps), Roodewal, Satara and Talamati)
- Northern Region (between the Olifants River and the Tropic of Capricorn): Boulders, Letaba, Mopani, Olifants and Shimuwini.
- Far Northern Region (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Limpopo River): Bateleur, Punda Maria, Shingwedzi and Sirheni.
*** - Access level good – accessible facilities are available - little or no assistance should be necessary.
** - Access fair – some accessible facilities may be present - assistance may be required in places (due to steep terrain or single steps).
* - Access difficult – no accessible facilities, or those that are present are badly designed – assistance will be necessary.
Nil - Access very limited – terrain rough – no accessible facilities are present.
Rough - Surface has potholes, rocks, tree roots etc.
Accessible -Facility designed specifically to assist visitors with a physical impairment, e.g. ramps, grab rails next to toilets and baths, and sit down showers.
This is a summary of Accommodation with Accessible Facilities for People with Disabilities in the Park’s major rest camps. [In addition several other units may be accessible, but without adapted facilities (visitors capable of using baths find some of the larger units more than adequate) – especially the guest cottages at Letaba and Satara and at each of the 5 Bushveld Camps. Three of the Bushveld Camps, Shimuwini, Talamati and Biyamiti have large mobile metal ramps that they position at the entrance of any unit they are instructed will host guests with mobility difficulties.]
* Shower - Roll-in with hand-held shower piece and fold down seat
# Bath = Bath (with grab rails)
Major Rest Camps
Accessible Units and number of beds per unit
Shower* / Bath #
2 x 6-bed family cottage/Accessible ablutions for campers
Bath/Bath in camping facilities
2 x 3-bed bungalow/1 x 2-bed safari tent/Accessible ablutions for campers
Shower/Separate shower & toilet for safari tent and campers
2 x 2-bed bungalow/1 x 2-bed safari tent/Accessible ablutions for campers
Bath in bungalows/ communal bath for tent – a roll-in shower is located next to the restaurant
1 x 3-bed bungalow/
Bath in bungalow/
2 x 4-bed bungalow
1 x 3-bed bungalow
2 x 2-bed bungalow
1 x self equipped safari tent
Shower / Bath (no grab rails) in communal ablution block
2 x 2-bed bungalow/
One bath, one shower/
4 x 5-bed bungalow (2 beds in loft)/
8 x 2-bed bungalow/
(6 x shower, 2 x bath)/
In addition, the following satellite camp has accessible accommodation
1 x 2-bed safari tent and
Accessible shower and toilet at communal block/
Berg-en-Dal is accessed through the Malelane Gate.
Malelane Gate **
The gate has accessible toilets equipped with accessible facilities. There is a small step into the reception desk.
The camp has no accessible facilities. One of the huts has no step at its entrance, but the ablution facilities are inadequate. Until accessible facilities are in place the camp is not a suitable destination
Berg-en-Dal Camp ***
As one of the more modern major camps Berg-en-Dal has many features that make it accessible. However there are many aspects of the camp’s design that have been presented in the incorrect manner.
Mobility around the camp is easily achieved via the bricked roads and pathways. The reception, restaurant and cafeteria are all accessible to a wheelchair user. The public toilet facilities at the camp’s reception have suitable adaptations. The ramp into the men’s ablution facilities is awkwardly constructed and will be challenging to some wheelchair users.
The highlighting feature of Berg-en-Dal is a trail along the camp’s perimeter that is accessible to the visually disabled. From mobility perspectives the beginning of the trail is over a flat, bricked surface and allows people an excellent vista over the adjacent dam. Further along the trail descends down steps. The ramp that has been constructed, as an alternative to the steps is particularly steep and some wheelchair users will require assistance.
Once past this major obstacle, the trail is quite rugged and there is a risk of thorns. There are current plans to upgrade the trail further and promote its accessibility to both wheelchair users and the visually impaired. A look and listen vista, a hide and a frog pound are among those features planned to enhance use of this trail. The camp has conference facilities that contain accessible toilets and is very accessible once inside. However there is a step at all the entrances to the building and the ramps in the outside facilities are particularly steep.
The camp hosts two 6-bed chalets that have been adapted for use by paraplegics. The toilet is very low, making transfer challenging for some. The assisting rails are badly positioned. These chalets are equipped with baths and the rail that assists transfer is some distance from the edge of the bath. There are a further two accessible toilets and baths with grab rails at the camp’s campsite.
Gardenia Hide *
Has steps and thus assistance required for entry
Afsaal is a picnic site on a relatively flat piece of land. The kiosk is accessible and there is a grab rail at one of the toilets. The cooking facilities are also accessible. Soft sand impairs movement for wheelchair users in places.
Lower Sabie/Crocodile Bridge Area
Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge are accessed through the Crocodile Bridge Gate, although Lower Sabie can also be accessed via the Paul Kruger Gate.
The gate is at the entrance to the camp. There is sufficient parking space in good shade. The gate guard will offer to assist anyone who needs help. The reception office, together with a small shop, is easily accessed in a wheelchair. The camp itself is a small one (20 huts) and access around it is facilitated via bricked roads. The ablution facilities for campers and day visitors have a separate unisex toilet/shower equipped with accessible facilities. One of the new permanent tents has been equipped with a ramp to facilitate accessibility. One of the communal washing up and cooking platforms has ramped access. Two huts have been adapted for use by wheelchair users. In terms of self-catering, the huts contain a refrigerator, a stove (with clearance space beneath), a sink, a table and two cupboards containing crockery and utensils. The braai area has been linked to the unit with a cement causeway.
The path to the pool is over rough terrain and the game guard cannot accept the responsibility of ensuring the safety of people in wheelchairs. The nearby rocks, where visitors may also disembark, are not accessible to persons in wheelchairs or with other severe mobility impairment.
Biyamiti Bushveld Camp *
None of the accommodation units have specific accessible facilities and there are high steps into each unit. However the camp provides a mobile ramp that is put to use when persons in wheelchairs stay at the camp. Visitors able to make use of baths will be able to use this camp quite comfortably. Access around the camp is achievable over firm, dirt roads, but the trail along the camp’s perimeter fence is very rough in places and not suitable for use by wheelchair users.
Lower Sabie Rest Camp ***
In November 2002 the new and upgraded main complex was opened. Access from the parking area is down a fairly steep ramp, but once this is negotiated the reception, shop, restaurant and deck are all on one level and movement opportunity is excellent. There is a unisex accessible toilet for day-visitors behind the reception. The camp proper is gently sloped and access around it is achieved over brick roads or grass lawns. The communal ablution facilities for campers include 2 separate accessible ablution facilities with grab-rails next to the toilet and roll-in showers. As at December 2002 one of these had a curb to control water flow that will inhibit wheelchair users getting to the fold-down seat. The camp has one 3-bedded hut equipped for use by wheelchair users. This unit has a bath. There are also 3 of the 24 new safari tents that are suitable for the disabled all with a view of the river. The tents are built on a wooden platform, with access via a ramp. These tents have en-suite bathrooms with shower and toilet and hand basin. The tents have 2 single beds, a table and 2 chairs, electricity, fan, fridge/freezer, a 2-plate hotplate with utensils.
Mlondozi Dam *
Although the lookout vista can be accessed easily, the toilets and cooking area are inaccessible
The vista point has a small curb that may require assistance to traverse. There are no accessible toilets.
Ntandanyathi Bird Hide ***
A new bird hide on the S28 is ramped and space for wheelchair viewing has been created inside (Like most hides, there are no ablution facilities at the hide itself).
Pretoriuskop is best accessed through the Numbi Gate.
Numbi Gate **
There is a accessible toilet. Limited assistance may be required by some wheelchair users to access the curio stalls and the reception office.
Pretoriuskop Rest Camp ***
Parking space is adequate. The new reception area (November 2002) has a couple of steps at the front entrance. A back entrance with ramped entrance is the accessible alternative. There is a unisex accessible ablution block behind the reception. The gradient of the ramp at the entrance may trouble those people with limited hand movement. Both the restaurant and shop are easily accessible down smooth surfaced ramps. Both allow ease of movement and offer comfortable use. The camp’s swimming pool and slide-show amphitheatre are both over rough ground but possible to access in a wheelchair. There are two 2-bed huts adapted for use by persons in wheelchairs. They are incidentally the huts furthest away from the reception, shop and restaurant facilities. While the hut itself is appropriately designed, the braai facility is accessed over rough ground.
There are also several other accommodation units that can be accessed without assistance; however they have no accessible toilets. Two of the communal ablution facilities have accessible toilets, while one of these has an accompanying accessible shower. The camp has a perimeter walk aimed at informing visitors more about the surrounding environment. The trail currently has no pathway and users are compelled to traverse over rough ground. Stronger wheelchair users will be able to make their way around the trail. Intentions by the local Honorary Rangers to make the trail universally accessible will hopefully come to fruition.
Albasini Ruins *
The display depicting the ruin’s history is up a step. The ruins themselves are cordoned off from direct public access. The cooking facilities are accessible, but there are no accessible toilets.
Phabeni Gate ***
The offices are accessible over ramped pathways. There is an accessible ablution cubicle that although not ideally constructed should be suitable to most wheelchair users.
Skukuza is accessed through the Paul Kruger Gate.
Paul Kruger Gate **
The gate has ample parking and there are accessible toilets, although a curb needs to be negotiated. The reception area is easily accessed. There are curio stalls in the immediate vicinity.
Skukuza Rest Camp ***
Skukuza is the park’s largest camp. It also has the most infrastructure. The camp’s reception area is accessible with drop curves providing access from the parking area to the buildings, which include the reception office, a bank, a post office and public toilets (including an accessible toilet) amongst others. The auto-bank is up a step and is thus challenging for wheelchair users. The camp’s shop, restaurant and cafeteria are all easily accessed in a wheelchair. The camp’s riverfront adjacent the Sabie River has been made accessible by a wide paved walkway. This path provides excellent access along the water edge, although the path is steep in places. There is an accessible toilet next to the cafeteria/shop.
A second restaurant (with a bar) is situated at the Selati Train Station. The restaurant has been redone to mirror an old railway siding. The bar has a step, but access onto the platform and among the tables is easy. The camp has also has several display features such as a museum hut, the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library, an information centre and an auditorium, and a diplomatic meeting hall. All of which have access ramps. There are also doctor’s rooms in the north western corner of the camp. There is an access ramp into the rooms.
Two swimming pools are to be found in the camp, but these will be a bit more challenging to use. Accommodation wise, the camp has eight 2-bed bungalows with accessible facilities (6 with showers and 2 with baths). There are also an accessible 6-bedded cottage (with a roll-in shower en suite for one of the bedrooms and standard bath and shower facilities in the other) and two luxury riverside bungalows with accessible ablutions [the showers of these units while roll-in with no impeding curbs, have no fold-down seat to transfer onto (Wheelchair users can either use one of the chairs from the units’ verandas or shower in their own wheelchair)].
Two of the Guest Houses have one of their four rooms (each room sleeps 2) equipped with en suite bathroom with roll-in shower and toilet grab rails. The riverside bungalows and the guest house offer a more luxurious experience.
For wheelchair bound visitors to Skukuza it is strongly recommended you visit the boardwalk at the Skukuza Nursery (in the staff village) and the Lake Panic Bird Hide. Directions are signposted on the Skukuza/Kruger Gate tar road and indicated in all the tourist maps.
Skukuza Picnic and Day Visitors Site **
The day visitors' area and picnic site can not be reached directly from the camp. Instead one has to drive to the western end of the H4-1 tar road from Lower Sabie. There is an accessible toilet, and paved pathways from the parking to these ablutions and the kiosk. There is a swimming pool (with no ideal access point for wheelchair users) and a picnic area with the nearest tables fairly easy to reach over the earth pathway.
The airport is a rudimentary one. The airport staff assists passengers off the plane via airline wheelchairs and down a mobile ramp. Access to the building is facilitated up a steep ramp where assistance may be required. The same applies to an internal ramp. No adapted accessible toilets are present, although a wheelchair user can access the ablutions with little difficulty. In 2001, the airport was closed to commercial passenger flights, so it is currently only used by staff planes and chartered flights.
Access around the nursery ranges from good to difficult, as some of the pathways are suitable for wheelchairs while other aisles are too narrow for passage in a wheelchair. An outstanding recent addition is the boardwalk that takes one from the parking lot through indigenous woodland and over a vlei (marsh) adjacent the golf course, then through more woodland and into the bottom of the nursery. It allows all users an opportunity to have an up close experience with insects and birds in particular and is a fantastic universally accessible facility.
Lake Panic Bird Hide *
The hide used to be badly designed in terms of accessibility for a wheelchair user, but the park has redone the entrance and access path and once inside the viewing slot is at an appropriate height and a bench has been removed to allow access for wheelchairs in places. This is a great place to be to watch wildlife at close quarters - particularly in the evening.
Stevenson Hamilton Memorial
This is a get-out point with a path to a memorial plaque. The path passes over and between boulders and is not accessible to a person in a wheelchair.
A get out point a-top a huge rocky hill. Although a bit rough in places, a wheelchair user can alight from their vehicle and negotiate their way around.
Nkuhlu is a picnic site where a ramp has been specially constructed to allow wheelchair users the opportunity to descend from the parking lot down to the pathway adjacent the river’s edge. There are also accessible ablutions
This is a get-out point where a memorial plaque has been embedded in rock. Reaching the plaque in a wheelchair requires assistance and such visitors are better off reading the plaque through binoculars.
The Satara/Orpen Area is accessed through the Orpen Gate where the camp of the same name is situated.
Satara Rest Camp ***
Satara is the parks second largest rest camp. It is 48km from Orpen Gate. There are 2 two-bed bungalows in the rest camp with accessible facilities. The ablutions have a shower facility. The guest cottages have ramps and bathrooms (with baths) that are spacious but contain no specific adapted facilities. The camp is situated over flat terrain and access is made easy by the paved roads that lead around all the accommodation units. Access into and inside the camp’s restaurant, reception and shop is easily achieved. The communal washing-up facilities are on a raised level that requires assistance to be accessed. There is an accessible toilet with shower in the camping site and a parking bay reserved for wheelchairs in front of reception.
Orpen Rest Camp and Gate *
Orpen has no accessible facilities. There is a ramp into the reception and shop area. The camp is situated on level terrain. The communal toilets have ramps but otherwise are not suitable. 3 of the six-bedded chalets are however easily accessed.
Maroela Camping Site
4 km from Orpen, there are no accessible facilities available at this campsite.
Tamboti Tent Camp ***
5km from Orpen, Tamboti is a beautiful camp situated on the banks of the Timbavati River. Although the camp is a basic one, the camp is very accessible. Two of the original safari tents (one 4-bedded, one 2-bedded) have been made accessible by ramp. The nearby ablution facilities and washing-up facilities are communal, and include a separate accessible ablution block with roll-in shower and toilet with assisting grab rails. There are also newer more up market fully equipped 3-bed safari tents include one unit that is ramped and with adapted ablutions [the showers of these units while roll-in with no impeding curbs, have no fold-down seat to transfer onto (Wheelchair users can either use one of the chairs from the units’ verandas or shower in their own wheelchair)].
Rabelais Hut *
7 km from Orpen, the hut is a museum display. It is of old design with a narrow entrance door and small step. However once inside the floor is flat and a wheelchair user can approach all the photographic displays.
Bobejaan’s Krans *
Midway between Orpen and Satara, this is a lookout point over the Timbavati River. It is an area of relatively smooth levelled ground where visitors may alight from their vehicles to admire the view and scan for animals.
N’wanetsi Lookout and Picnic Site **
The park’s honorary rangers have done an excellent job in making this difficult site accessible to the physically impaired. Access to the toilets, the eating and cooking areas has been facilitated by the placement of brick paving. Access to the washing-up area is still required. The marvellous lookout hide has also been made accessible through paving of the pathway. The path however is extremely steep and assistance will be required by most.
Sweni Bird Hide **
The entrance gate is kept closed by a strong recoiling spring. This is to prevent entry by wild animals, and makes unassisted entry and exit in a wheelchair difficult. The path to the hide is down a moderate slope and the surface is a gravel one. Some wheelchair users may require assistance. Once inside, there are fixed benches for visitors to use. There is however sufficient space between benches for wheelchair users to effectively access the viewing slot. Nearest ablutions are at the N’wanetsi Picnic Site a couple of km away.
Tshokwane Picnic Site **
50 km from Satara/ 43 from Skukuza/ 44 from Lower Sabie, the site is on a level surface although soft sand impairs free movement in places. The kiosk is accessible. There are 2 toilet blocks. Visitors with disabilities should note that there is an accessible toilet only at the block on the left-hand side of the parking.
Eileen Orpen Dam *
4 km from Tshokwane, the Orpen Dam has a viewing hide on the hillside overlooking the dam. The paving of the path, which is down a fairly steep gradient, has facilitated access to the hide. Some wheelchair users may require assistance. The toilets are not accessible.
59 km from Satara/ 27 km from Tshokwane, Nhlanguleni is a small and rustic picnic site on a relatively smooth and flat surface. The cooking and eating facilities are accessible, but the toilets are not.
Talamati Bushveld Camp *
28 km from Orpen, the camp is on a level surface that is easily negotiated in a wheelchair. There is however a risk of thorns and soft sand is present in places. There is a mobile ramp that can be moved to facilitate access to any of the camp’s 15 chalets. While none of these units contain accessible facilities to visitors with disabilities, they are nonetheless relatively user friendly, with accessible toilets and baths. The camp has 2 viewing hides, both of which are accessed up ladders.
Situated 33 km from Satara, this is another small and rustic picnic site on a relatively smooth and flat surface. The cooking and eating facilities are accessible, but the toilets are not.
Timbavati Picnic Site ***
25 km from Satara/46 km from Olifants is this delightful little picnic site overlooking the Timbavati River. The eating and cooking facilities are on a relatively smooth and level surface. Access to the toilets and washing-up facilities has been facilitated by the placement of brick pathways. The toilets have the necessary adaptations and although the slope may be steep for some wheelchair users, they are easily accessible.
Ratel Pan Hide (Piet Grobler Dam) ***
About 5 km north of the Timbavati Picnic Site on the Piet Grobler Dam, this hide was completed in July 1999. Access and space inside is good. The protective spring in the gate is strong to keep out animals and may require assistance from a companion to open. Like most hides, no ablution facilities are provided. However there are accessible toilets at the nearby (4 km Timbavati Picnic Site)
This quaint little camp is situated 33 km from Olifants. No accessible facilities exist, but the camp is on a flat firm surface and toilets and baths can be accessed. The showers however are not accessible to wheelchair users. Movement around the camp is easily achieved, although there is a high risk of thorns. The camp’s vista lookout point is up a couple of steps, but once a wheelchair has been lifted up, the platform is level.
Balule Private Camp and Camping Site
10 km from Olifants, no accessible facilities occur in either the private or the camping section.
Olifants and Letaba are accessed through the Phalaborwa Gate, which has a picnic site on firm level ground. There is no accessible toilet and there is a ramp into the entry office.
Olifants Rest Camp ***/*
83 km from the Phalaborwa Gate/32 km from Letaba, the Olifants Rest Camp is built on a hill overlooking the Olifants River. Despite the difficult topography the camp has made excellent efforts to accommodate visitors with impaired mobility. The reception area, the restaurant and the shop have all been fitted with ramps of suitable gradient. There are adapted toilets for day visitors. Access to the camp’s highlight, the lookout over the Olifants River, has been facilitated by the construction of a ramp that has been orientated so as to provide suitable gradient down a steep incline. The camp’s greatest weakness is that currently there is only one two-bedded hut that has been fitted with accessible ablution facilities (bath only), however certain other huts are partially accessible and plans are afoot to see that access to suitable ablution facilities is provided. The difficult terrain of the camp means that the walk around the camp’s perimeter is not accessible to wheelchair users.
Olifants Lookout Point *
6 km from Olifants Camp is a river lookout point on a level, yet stony, surface. Visitors may alight from their vehicles to admire the view and spot game in the river valley below.
N’wamanzi Lookout Point **
Another lookout point on the Olifants River some 8 km from Olifants Camp. The surface is tarred and visitors may alight from their vehicles to view the river below.
Letaba Rest Camp ***
51 km from Phalaborwa Gate and 32 km from Olifants, Letaba is a predominantly accessible venue. The camp has 2 two-bedded huts (with baths), one safari tent (bath at communal ablutions) and 10 six-bedded guest cottages with ramps. In addition there are several other units that have no step and can be entered by a person in a wheelchair without assistance. The camp has a paved pathway around its perimeter, however negotiating this from start to finish in a wheelchair is inhibited by the presence of steps. However most of the path along the Letaba River is accessible. The remainder of the camp is accessible via the paved roads that run throughout the camp. The reception, restaurant, shop, cafeteria and auditorium are all very accessible and there are adapted public toilets behind the elephant hall and east of the restaurant (also equipped with a shower). The camp’s highlight is the elephant hall that details the life cycle of these pachyderms and displays the tusks and histories of some of the park’s big tuskers. The hall is fully accessible to wheelchair users.
Engelhard Lookout Point *
16 km from Letaba, this lookout point offers an excellent vista of the Letaba River. The surface is firm and relatively flat. Visitors may alight from their vehicles.
Matambeni Bird Hide *
On the second access road to the Engelhard Dam on the road to the lookout point a hide has been constructed. There is a recoil spring at the entrance gate and the path is down a moderate slope over a rough gravel surface. However once inside there is sufficient space between the bench seats to allow wheelchair users to access the viewing slot.
Sable Dam Sleepover Hide **
Although raised quite high off the ground, a long sweeping ramp provides access to the facility for wheelchair users. The ablutions are partially accessible.
Masorini Ruins *
10 km from the Phalaborwa Gate/ 41 km from Letaba, the ruins have a picnic site with adapted toilet facilities and cooking facilities. The eating tables are on a raised platform that requires assistance to get onto the higher level. The ruins and the paths leading to each of the displays, are on a steep kopje (small hill) and are not accessible to mobility impaired visitors.
Mkhadzi Picnic Site **
A new picnic and information site on the H15 to the Giriyondo Border Post into Mozambique. Allowance has been made for people with mobility difficulties with ramps (some a bit steep) and there is an accessible toilet.
Mopani is 74 km from the Phalaborwa Gate (cf. Letaba/Olifants)
Mopani Rest Camp ***
Mopani is the most modern of the park’s major rest camps. Consequently the access of the camp to guests with physical disabilities was catered for during the camp’s construction. All the public facilities such as the reception, day visitor picnic area, restaurant, shop, and cafeteria are accessible and each has an accompanying accessible toilet. In addition the camp has a lookout platform and a ladies bar, both of which overlook the impressive Pioneer Dam in the valley below. Both of these facilities are accessed down ramps. In addition to the public facilities, the camp has 2 four-bedded chalets with accessible facilities. One of these has a steep path from the parking zone. There is a swimming pool, but no accessible access point is provided.
Mooiplaas is a picnic site 7 km from Mopani. The site is on a firm and level surface. However both the river view site and the eating and cooking area are on raised concrete platforms. The step up is a small one, but most wheelchair users will require an assisting boost. Once up everything is accessible. The toilets are not accessible.
‘Boulders’ is a rudimentary private camp 19 km from Mopani on quite a rough sand road. The major barrier facing a wheelchair user is that the camp is on stilts and hence a strong able-bodied assistant is required to pull such people up the stairs. Once up however everything is on one level, and although the ablution facilities have no specific accessible features, toilets and baths are easily accessed.
Shipandani Overnight Hide: ***
This hide only a few km from Mopani has ramped access and spaces for wheelchairs to view from. The toilet and shower is also ramped, but with no assisting rails.
Pioneer Dam Hide ***
As with many of the hides, the only real challenge will be the spring-loaded entrance gate. Once inside there are spaces for wheelchairs and the viewing slot is a nice height.
Shimuwini Bushveld Camp *
45 km from Mopani/51 km from Phalaborwa Gate, Shimuwini has no adaptations to enable use by visitors with physical impairments, although a firm metal ramp is available to be placed at the entrance of any unit to negate the step up onto the veranda (a second step in some units into the interior is another potential barrier). Most of the accommodation units have a level and spacious interior with accessible baths and toilets (though no grab rails). Accessing these cottages from each of the parking areas is difficult, as there are the pathways are rough and down steep slopes. Once down to the level of the cottages there are levelled grass areas in front of each unit. From here the visitor can view the river life below. Punctures are a risk at this camp.
Shingwedzi can be accessed via the Punda Maria Gate (73 km) or through the Phalaborwa Gate (137 km)
Shingwedzi Rest Camp **
On the left hand side of the camp’s entrance gate is the day visitor’s area, overlooking the riverbed. It is accessed over a wooden bridge, which although rickety is firm enough for easy wheelchair passage. The ground of this picnic area is both firm and flat. There are ramps into the toilets, but no accessible facilities are present. The braai facilities are easily accessed, but like most camps there is a high step up to the washing up facility. Immediately adjacent to the day visitor area is the camp’s reception, shop, cafeteria and restaurant. There is a accessible toilet and ramped slopes access everywhere. These are however steep in places. There are also small steps into each of the buildings.
The camp’s accommodation is made up of two circles of huts/units and the camping site. The parking zones and open ground are over soft sand. The A-circle has four 5-bed units that have been made accessible (two beds in each unit are up stairs in the loft). The ramps into these units are steeper than they should be and there is a low ridge into each unit. Some people in wheelchairs may require assistance. However the kitchen area and bathroom facilities are accessible, although the units only have baths with grab rails and no roll-in showers. The B-Circle comprises of smaller 2-bed huts. Only one of these has a ramp but there are no accompanying accessible facilities.
There is a unisex accessible toilet and shower in the communal ablutions between the B-Circle and the camping site. All of the washing up facilities are up a step. The camp has a swimming pool, which does not have an accessible entry point, and the changing rooms have steps.
Kanniedood Dam Bird Hide
The old hide, a couple of km downstream from Shingwedzi Camp is accessed up stairs and thus not appropriate for people with mobility difficulties.
Nyawutsi Bird Hide ***
This new hide some 20 km from Shingwedzi Camp on the S50 to Mopani is fully accessible. Like most hides, no ablution facilities of any kind are provided. Nearest are at Shingwedzi Camp
Bateleur Bushveld Camp *
The reception building is up steps, but access in a wheelchair can be made by entering via the back entrance. None of the 7 chalets have accessible facilities, but there are only single steps into the units and wheelchair users can gain access in to baths in certain of the units in the ablution facilities or have a chair placed in the shower to transfer onto. There is a remote control to operate the air-conditioning. The camp has lapa and conference facilities that are both accessible. The revamped hide is also very accessible with an access ramp and spaces between the seating benches to accommodate wheelchairs. Soft sand is an impairing factor in certain places around camp.
This lookout point has no accessible toilets and does not accommodate ease of movement for wheelchair users.
This picnic site is on flat, firm ground. The eating platform is slightly raised above ground level. There is a unisex accessible toilet.
Sirheni Bushveld Camp *
The camp has 15 chalets (ten 6-bed and 5 4-bed). None have accessible facilities, but they are spacious and accessible inside. The larger units have baths that are easily accessed. The 4-bed units have baths with hand held showers, but these are more difficult to access. The camp has a communal boma that is accessed over a rough path. The camp’s lookout platform is not accessible.
Punda Maria/ Pafuri Area
Punda Maria is accessed through the gate of the same name (9 km). Pafuri can be accessed through the same gate (62 km) or through the Pafuri Gate (24 km).
Punda Maria Gate *(?)
There is a small step into reception. No accessible toilets are available. However a new gate and information centre has been built and is due for opening during November 2004. This should provide greater accessibility and an appropriate ablution facility.
Punda Maria Rest Camp **
The camp’s reception facility, restaurant and shop are accessed up a crude ramp that only strong wheelchair users will be able to negotiate independently. Once inside, mobility is fairly straightforward. None of the old accommodation units (the camp’s original units are declared historical monuments) have any accessible facilities, although a ramp has been built up the kerb at numbers 1 and 2. The ablutions inside these units are not adapted and are difficult to access. The 2 4-bed family bungalows (cottages) are relatively accessible without any specific adaptations, but one of the new (November 2004) fully equipped safari tents is adapted for people with mobility impairment, with access ramp, grab rails and roll-in shower.
The communal ablution facilities on the camp’s upper level can be accessed in a wheelchair, but offer no accessible facilities. The ablutions for day visitors and campers down at the camp’s lower level have been equipped with ramps that are a little on the steep side for weaker people. There are no specific accessible facilities inside, but baths can be accessed. The lookout area and boma for camp residents can be accessed a bit of assistance. The swimming pool area is difficult to access, while the camps bird hide on its western fence has a very steep ramp, but once inside, there are viewing spaces for wheelchair users.
This is the park’s northern most picnic site. It offers visitors the opportunity to disembark amongst the rich riparian vegetation of the Levuvhu River. The ground is firm and flat and mobility is good. The archaeological display is up a small step. There is a risk of thorns along the short pathway that leads to a big tree and earth mound. There is a steep ramp into one of the toilet facilities, but there is little room for manoeuvrability once inside.
Thulamela Archaeological Site
This archaeological site cannot be accessed to a person in a wheelchair.
This small and little used gate has no accessible facilities.