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Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Saint Louis...
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Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Hi, we are planning on traveling to Johannesburg, SA in late March for 10-14 days. I am in a manual wheelchair or scooter most of the time but am able to sit unaided and able to get in and out of vehicles with help from my son or husband and walk a few steps. Our daughter who is in college is also coming for part of the time. How feasible and accessible are lodges and guided safaris for people with disabilities? Are there guided safaris where you stay in a vehicle 90% of the time? How many days is needed for the average safari? Our budget is moderate...average and not looking for luxury but comfortable accommodations. There will either be four or five of us traveling. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

St. Louis, MO travelers

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Naracoorte
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1. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

I am not sure which if any lodges cater for people with disabilities in the private reserves - one of the experts will hopefully help you with that. I think the main issue would be the open safari vehicles. They are high up and not always easy for able bodied people to get in and out of.

Sanparks camps in Kruger itself have dedicated units (bungalows, chalets) which are wheelchair friendly and accessible. If you hired your own large vehicle you could have an affordable and comfortable self-drive stay within the park. It is easy, safe and fun and no guide needed. Four days would be a good minimum time to enjoy some of the south of the park where the game viewing is often more rewarding over a short period of time. See: www.sanparks.org for all the information you need.

Edited: 3:33 pm, December 26, 2013
Pickering, United...
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2. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

There are several companies that take tours into the Kruger but the ones that I have come across only use sanparks accommodation. You could do this on your own as a self-drive but would miss out on being pampered. We have self-driven in the past as well as visiting lodges. Mother once got up into one of the large sanparks trucks and we had quite a job getting her down again. We have since learned that the front seat next to the driver in Toyota land cruisers is usually OK. Can you manage to climb a few steps? if not some lodges do have wheelchair accessible rooms. Shamwari certainly do and the staff were very helpful with my mother. When out and about most of the time is spent in the vehicle, game viewing.

Www.sa-venues.com have a list of wheelchair friendly lodges around Kruger that may be of use.

Cape Town
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3. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Absolutely agree with tryhard. Open game vehicles which drive off-road over rough tracks are definitely not disabled friendly. These are what are used in the private reserves outside KNP.

You asked in your header about Kruger National Park which is run by the South African National Parks service. Of the 20 or so different camps inside Kruger at least half have specific bungalows which are designed to be wheelchair friendly and designed for people with disabilities. On the link that tryhard gave you above, when you look at individual accommodation units in each camp, look at ones with a code with Z at the end. These are the bungalows designed for people with more limited mobility.

In KNP all your drives are done in your own vehicle. So there is just you and your family in a normal hired vehicle. Kruger roards do not require enything special. So you can just pick a vehicle that suits you and the family and can also accommodate your wheelchair. When you stop at a picnic site or protected game viewing stop where you are allowed to get out of the vehicle, just take out your wheelchair and you are free to move around. Total flexibility of movement without having to be worried about being part of a group who might feel that you are holding them up.

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4. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Absolutely agree with VDc and Tryhard. I think staying right in Kruger in the Sanparks accommodation would be the most ideal, especially with all the wheelchair friendly accommodation available. And the flexibility you will have to do what you want whenever you want would be more suitable for you. There is no timetable to follow and you can drive all day long if you want, we have certainly had plenty of fourteen hour days driving!

However I have seen people however at private lodges who have managed exactly what SF has said above, that is used the seat next to the driver in the safari vehicle. It still does take a little effort to get into but is nothing like climbing up onto the other rear rows of seats and it should not have any effect on others. You would need to look at accessability with individual lodges, I am sure most would advertise that they are wheelchair friendly if they are so. I know the lodge we stay at often has just built a wooden boardwalk style pathway for the guests running to each room so there could be private lodge options for you although this does stretch the budget rather considerably.

Look at the Sanparks site Tryhard has provided, rooms are basic but clean and serviced daily, and the bigger camps have restaurants and good supply stores if you want to self cater, or as we do, a combination of both. All great fun.

Saint Louis...
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5. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Thank you Tryhard for your past info.

Do you know if KNP is doing the Ride and Park where as a group they take you out with a guide? Also, someone says you can now rent a car with a driver who is a guide....do you know if that is correct?

Thank you again,

StL Travelers 314

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6. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Thank you safarifriend for your info about Shamwari and wheelchair accessible lodge link.

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7. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Van_de_Caab, thank you for your info regarding the "Z" on accommodations and that there are places in the park where one can get out and move about. I think my perception was flawed....gravel roads, ruts, etc. I sounds much more accessible than I originally thought. Are there cafes or restaurants located in the park for visitors to use? Also, does anyone know if there is a certain gate location which would be the best area to be in for a three day safari? Thank you.

St. Louis Travelers 314

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8. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Thank you thesandmans for your info. Do you have an area in the park that you could see the Big 5 and more (elephants, giraffes, etc.) that you could see from a regular vehicle? Are the animals close by are do you need binoculars to see them? Thank you.

St. Louis Travelers 314

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9. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

Bradt publishes a book entitled Access Africa: Safaris for People with Limited Mobility. It has lots of general information on travel to Africa and some specific information on Kruger. Thought the book might be helpful to you.

Naracoorte
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10. Re: Disabled mother, manual wheelchair,safari in Kruger NP

I am not sure about the park and ride system being operational, however the issues with accessing the high vehicle would still remain (if indeed it is an issue). I have exclusively booked a Sanparks safari vehicle (for a special sunset drive) and guide by booking in advance the entire vehicle ie you pay for the full number of seats even if your group doesn't occupy them all. I did this at Phalaborwa gate. Again the vehicle is one you need to 'climb' up into although a seat in the front next to the driver would be more manageable. Perhaps contact one of the relevant people here at Skukuza headquarters to try and get some help with your needs.

sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/camp-tel.php

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