Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Chacma
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Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Chacma »

We are in Kruger for some time this year and have noticed, not for the first time, that there is often a lack of awareness and empathy by management regarding the needs of visitors with mobility issues. This lack of awareness is passed down to the staff who they are supervising.

I am going to report on this thread the good, the bad and the ugly situations we come across, as we enjoy our holiday in various camps. Every case I post will first be reported to management. I am simply posting to make people more aware of the challenges faced by some in our society.

Please feel free to contribute :)
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Crested Val »

As a wheelchair user myself, I have usually had no problems as long as I book a unit specifically for disabled visitors. Public areas have also not presented a challenge.............though of course I have not stayed in every camp in the park :dance:

I will be interested to hear your feedback. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Wow Created Val, that is amazing! Have you ever used the ladies toilet a Nwanetsi? The base of the ramp is a step, which renders it inaccessible. This is a common problem in the park, due to the erosion caused by daily sweeping. Surprising that you have not come across this before!
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Crested Val »

No Chacma, I have never visited Nwanetsi. Early years before I became a wheelchair user were spent in the south, and in recent years we prefer the north/far north. Somehow apart from overnight stops at Satara to break the journey, we have not explored the central part of the park. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Chacma wrote:Every case I post will first be reported to management.
Chacma, not sure which management you refer to but please send a detailed report in a mail to [email protected] where it will be forwarded on to the correct department, logged and rectified.
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Chacma
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Elsa wrote:
Chacma wrote:Every case I post will first be reported to management.
Chacma, not sure which management you refer to but please send a detailed report in a mail to [email protected] where it will be forwarded on to the correct department, logged and rectified.

Thanks for the advise Elsa, but the standard procedure at camps is that any reports to camp management are raised the next morning at the meeting between managers of all departments, logged and earmarked for immediate rectification, future projects or funding allocation. These items are then checked off as they are completed.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Chacma »

Our first camp was Shimuwini, still my favourite.

Shimuwini is one of the bushveld camps built in the 80s, when people with disabilities were simply not considered by the authorities of the time. As a result, the camp is not designed with this in mind. For example, reception is up three steps and no alternative access is available. All the houses have a step up to the verandah and another from the verandah to the interior.

Having said all that, the staff at Shimuwini are very accommodating and generous with their time. There is a large chequerplate steel ramp which is moved between units as required. This is so heavy that it takes three to four staff members to lift! This gives one access between the verandah and the lawns fronting the river. There is also a track which one can drive down between units 8 & 9, allowing vehicles access to the lawns below. This eliminates the need to descend the steep and rutted paths between the parking and the units. A small lightweight removable ramp to use at the front door step would be a wonderful asset.

Christopher the Shimuwini maintenance man is very friendly, helpful and generous with his time. He even offered to help us carry our belongings between the unit and the car! This caring attitude goes a long way to cancelling out any physical obstacles.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Hello Chacma, you have certainly raised an important issue.

I took my mother to Mapungubwe in 2006. It was the last time she was able to enjoy the loveliness of nature. She was very frail and needed the help of her walking stick. Her balance was dreadful and I was well aware that a fall could leave her with a fracture.

I found myself in another reality. For the first time in my life I had to walk every path and check every ablution before allowing her to go anywhere. She loved the trip, but I had to be her eyes and protector. We did have to report a faulty step on the canopy walk and it was repaired on the same day.

I wonder what could be done to assist folk to special needs. It is not that people are uncaring, it is just a lack of experience and awareness. I will place myself in that category.

Unfortunately, this forum has a troll following and this kind of thread sometimes gets the troll brigade jumping on board. I do, however think that you have some valid concerns.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Thank you for your practical and balanced approach. :gflower:
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Meandering Mouse wrote:Thank you for your practical and balanced approach. :gflower:

Thanks MM for your support :) , having met us you will know that we are reasonable people and any comments I make are meant as constructive criticism, for the betterment of the Park and society in general. As an architect I have had some experience with mobility design. In 2016 Dream Weaver and I assisted in a survey of these facilities at various camps in KNP.
Last edited by Chacma on Tue May 15, 2018 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Yesterday we reported a missing latch on the mobility toilet door at the Olifants shop, and within an hour it had been replaced. :big_eyes:
The manager here runs a tight ship! :thumbs_up:

I find the bottom-up approach to easily-solved problems produces the quickest solutions. If that doesn't have the desired effect, a top-down approach (e.g. through customercare) should be the last resort. The trouble with top-down is that it causes resentment.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

Chacma wrote:Yesterday we reported a missing latch on the mobility toilet door at the Olifants shop, and within an hour it had been replaced. :big_eyes:
The manager here runs a tight ship! :thumbs_up:

I find the bottom-up approach to easily-solved problems produces the quickest solutions. If that doesn't have the desired effect, a top-down approach (e.g. through customercare) should be the last resort. The trouble with top-down is that it causes resentment.


I agree and I am pleased that you had such a quick response. :thumbs_up:

I often see complaints about things broken through wear and tare. The staff depend on our input. They cannot check every item with the short amount of time that they have.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Our next camp was Balule, our sentimental favourite, but especially that of our son.

The huts of course are not wheelchair friendly, but they are traditional and we wouldn't want to spoil things. The relatively new ablution block is well designed, with a nice mobility-friendly bathroom with toilet/shower located between the male and female facilities. This room has ramp access, but has the same problem as Nwanetsi that I mentioned before: a step up from the ground to the ramp! :wall:

Last time we stayed at Balule, Titus was most accommodating and friendly. This time was a very different story. I approached him in a friendly way to explain the problem, and asked him to provide a ramp to access the facility. He told me to report it to Olifants, so they could pave a ramp. I told him all it needed was to replace the earth that had been swept away, and he replied that he was too busy for that! :shock: I told him I didn't mind doing it myself, and he told me to ask the cleaning lady for a shovel. After some resistance I got the shovel and constructed the ramp, under her constant disapproving surveillance. :P I stabilised the dirt with rubber doormats and it worked fine for the duration of our stay.

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When evening came this same woman brought the lanterns, one for the ladies, one for the gents, but none for the mobility facility :doh: I asked her to provide one there too. She first ignored me, so I took the one from the gents, and she accosted me, telling me in no uncertain terms that the middle room does NOT get a lantern. I told her to learn some customer relations and asked if she expected people to use the toilet and shower in the dark. After skulking off she eventually returned with another lantern. :clap:

I hold Titus responsible for these issues, he is in charge and his attitude was disappointing. He was definitely not too busy.

We reported these issues to the Olifants manager Themba Mnisi, a considerate and compassionate man who has promised to sort Balule out :thumbs_up:
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

I am really sorry to hear that Chacma. :( Balule is a favorite for many, because of its intimate, family atmosphere.

I did notice on my last visit that Titus kept away from the bungalows and focused on the camping area. I wonder what the issues might be. :hmz:

I am pleased that Olifants listened to your problems. It makes such a difference.
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Re: Wheelchair Access in Kruger

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Chacma wrote:
Elsa wrote:
Chacma wrote:Every case I post will first be reported to management.
Chacma, not sure which management you refer to but please send a detailed report in a mail to [email protected] where it will be forwarded on to the correct department, logged and rectified.

Thanks for the advise Elsa, but the standard procedure at camps is that any reports to camp management are raised the next morning at the meeting between managers of all departments, logged and earmarked for immediate rectification, future projects or funding allocation. These items are then checked off as they are completed.

Dear Chacma

Please see the Rules of the Service Related Feedback Forum. While it is needed to notify the Duty Manager at the camps of problems experienced in the camps while you are in the camp, the procedure to submit complaints as per SANParks instructions are contained, with contacts, in that link. These formal channels are established for specific reasons and we need to respect that. Stats are collected to ensure better management of the parks. More senior management is made aware of the issues too. When complaints are posted on a public platform, we also do need to ensure they are investigated at top level.

Your feedback on the actual Wheelchair Access in Kruger is certainly most helpful for future visitors with disabilities. Please separate the complaints as per the link I provided to make a difference and assist the park rectify the issues. The topic on Wheelchair Access can be posted in the Kruger forum. There is also interesting reading here : People with disabilities
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