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Introduction

South Africa is a popular tourist destination and tourism accounts for a substantial amount of the country's revenue. South Africa offers both domestic and international tourists a wide variety of options, including Picturesque Natural Landscapes; Beautiful Beaches; Tours; Trails & Botanical Gardens; World Renowned Game Reserves; Highly Regarded Wines and Wine Farms and so much more.

Traveling and going to new places can however be daunting for persons with disabilities. In the past there were not always assistance available for travelers with various disabilities, but modern society however is becoming increasingly aware of the concept of the integration of persons with disabilities and the National Department of Tourism (NDT) has been focusing on Accessible Tourism and making more South African attractions universally accessible to all travelers. They have recently engaged with various organisations that represent persons with disabilities, to explore how the tourism industry can serve them better and to ensure that tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their limitations, disabilities or age. Accessible Tourism encompasses publicly and privately owned tourist locations and enables persons with all disabilities to function independently and with equity and dignity, through the delivery of universally designed tourism products, services and environments. Steps have been taken to promote guidelines, and major resources are now dedicated to Accessible Tourism which includes:

  • Barrier-free destinations (infrastructure and facilities): Government Regulations have been put in place in South Africa and around the world to make public places more accessible to persons with disabilities, including persons with Visual and Hearing Impairments. These Government Regulations ensure that accommodation and transport is accessible and that equal opportunities and rights are available for persons with disabilities.
  • High quality services (delivered by trained staff): There are a variety of Companies who specialize in accessible travel and tours, some companies such as Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting and East to West Events and Conferences, can also assist you to organize your trip, event and accommodation, taking the stress out of the planning the event and leaving you time to enjoy yourself, with the knowledge that your holiday or event will run smoothly.
  • Transport (by air, land and sea, are suitable for all users): Traveling by Air, Sea, Rail or Road are all possible for persons with disabilities, with some companies offering specially assistance and adapted rooms to accommodate persons with disabilities. Many of these companies that offer these services, also offer online booking via their web site.
  • Marketing, booking systems, web sites & services (information accessible to all): Online Booking Web Sites are available, so that Traveling, Tours and Accommodation can now be booked via a web site. These web sites allow you to list your disabilities and needs, so that they can better assist and accommodate you. Accessible Travel Websites also provide information about which Restaurants, Safaris, Hotels & Holiday Destinations in South Africa & around the world are Accessible and also how accessible they are and whether they will suit your disability needs.
  • Activities, exhibits, attractions (allowing participation in tourism by everyone): Accessible Tourism encompasses a variety of attractions and forms of entertainment and enables persons with disabilities to function independently and with equity and dignity.

Thanks to these companies, regulations and innovations, tourism is more accessible and traveling for persons with various disabilities can now become a pleasure. With the assistance of links to web-sites and various articles, this page below and the other pages linked to this page (see links on the left of page and below) will assist you to choose the type of traveling that would suite you and also put you into contact with the right companies and people who can assist you to make traveling easier and accessible to you.

Initiatives & Government Regulations

Various Initiatives and Government Regulations have been introduced throughout the world and in South Africa to assist persons with both Visually and Hearing Impairments to live and travel independently and to be able to complete daily tasks and activities, such as Traveling, Shopping, Eating Out and Moving From Point A To Point B. These initiatives help to ensure that equal opportunities and rights are available to all persons with disabilities, they include:

  • Money - Distinct Shapes & Raised Patterns On Our Coins & Notes
  • Service Dogs and Guide Dogs - Rules & Regulations (allowing them in restaurants, public transportation, aeroplanes, etc.)
  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
  • Braille Atlas
  • Audible Traffic Lights.
  • Tactile Paving
  • Building Regulations that assist the Blind

Click the link below to find out more about these initiatives and how they can assist the Blind and persons with Visually Impairments.

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Government Regulations

Government Regulations have been put in place in South Africa and around the world to try to make public places more accessible to persons with disabilities, including persons with Visual Impairments. The Government makes laws that insure that new buildings and surrounding areas are designed & built with certain features to make them more accessible, these are known as The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act. These "initiatives" and "Government Regulations" that have been introduced, are collectively known on this website as "Accessible Features" and are there to ensure that buildings, accommodation and transport is accessible and that equal opportunities and rights are available for persons with disabilities. Click on the link below, to find out more about the Government Regulations which have been introduced in South Africa to assist persons with Visual Impairments to gain independence, as well as the companies and organizations that can assist them.

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Organizations & Companies That Can Assist With Universal Design & Access

There are also various Organizations and Companies that specialize in Universal Design and Access to make sure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from any events, services, information, communication, products and venues. These Organizations and Companies that can assist in different ways include Tri Access, The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting and The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA).

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Disability Equity Training

Many public and private sector bodies have gradually realised that their work practices and policies fall far short of fulfilling the needs, rights and aspirations of disabled people who are their clients, customers and co-workers and that, in order to change this situation, they need to turn to disabled people for education and guidance. From this realisation has grown the demand for Disability Equality Training (DET) run by disabled people, which aims to help people understand the meaning of disability, identify changes in work practice, and plan strategies to implement change

Disability Equality Training courses have been organised and run by disabled people and organizations to address the need for information about reality of disability. A DET course will enable participants to identify and address discriminatory forms of practice towards disabled people. Through training they will find ways to challenge the organisational behaviour which reinforces negative myths and values and which prevents disabled people from gaining equality and achieving full participation in society.

There are various Companies and Organizations who offer these Disability Equality Training courses and workshops, they include the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting and QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA). Training is done by an expert well trained team of persons with disabilities.

The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD): Disability Equity training is inclusive of all impairments and addresses definitions, an inclusive workplace, reasonable accommodation, terminology and much more!  TheNCPD sessions are at least three hours, but can be up to two days (depending on the needs of the client). Training is done in inter - actively, using multimedia and is not “heavy”!!! Training is tailor made for every sector, including:  Tourism, Tertiary Education, Banking, Mining and more.

For references, contact:

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Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting: Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting conducts Disability Awareness and Equity Training. OurBradshaw LeRoux portfolio of training sessions and informational talks are aimed at different audience profiles, from Corporate to Hospitality & Customer Service personnel, to Scholars. Designed to teach etiquette, shift perceptions and create impact, our  presenters use a combination of humour, personal experience, subject expertise and passion to deliver barrier-busting changes in perception around disability and its place in business and society.

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The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA): provides sensitization training to corporates and Government, in order to dealQuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) with prejudices and inequalities towards disability and change mind sets and create opportunities for people with disabilities to integrate. Training is also given regularly to the service providers to airlines on the safe and appropriate handling of assisted passengers, thus developing a better service for assisted passengers who travel. These projects have a revenue stream for QASA.

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Event Organization Companies

Event Organization Companies are available that can organize any events, including Disabled Sports Events, as well as your Traveling, Accommodation and Tours. These companies take the stress out of the planning your trip or event and leave you time to enjoy yourself, with the knowledge that everything will run smoothly. These Event Organization Companies include companies such as Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting & "East to West Events and Conferences", they can assist you to organize your trip, event and accommodation.Bradshaw LeRoux

Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting: Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting conducts Campaigns and Events. Our Disability Inclusive campaigns and events are designed to raise awareness around barriers to inclusion of persons with a disability, to highlight the value of workplace adjustments, and to showcase the value of the diversity of disability to business and the economy in general. Entertaining, inclusive and impactful, these campaigns include communication content and events coordination which are disability accessible and inclusive.

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East to West Events and Conferences: Since 2011 East to West Events and Conferences has exceeded the expectations of its various clients’ needs, to fast become a force to be reckoned with in the events planning industry. Some of the services we provide are:

  •  Disability Sport Group Accommodation
  • Conferences
  • Year End Functions
  • Product launches and fund-raising events to name but a few.

With experience in the hospitality industry since 2011, it makes us perfect for sourcing accommodation for persons withEast To West Events & Conferences disabilities and athletes alike. We visit each property to inspect them to assess whether they are viable venues, and how many athletes and persons who use wheelchairs can be accommodated per property. Whether you are planning an international conference, a year end function or an intimate beach wedding, we bring that extra something to the table. We ensure that your event is a spectacular success from planning to execution. Every part of your conference and sport group booking is overseen by seasoned professionals ensuring a seamless event.

Our Strategy and Vision: Building long and trusting relationships that exceed the expectations of every client and to become a household name in the events planning industry in South Africa.

Our values are: The pursuit of excellence; Innovation, Transparency, Fairness, Community involvement and the continual increase of customer satisfaction and Job creation. You can contact Marisa on the following details to find out more: Cell: 072 694 5575. Office: 021 854 4123 email: info@easttowest.co.za or visit their Web Site at: www.easttowest.co.za

Tips & Information To Planning an Accessible Holiday

If you decide not to use an Event Organization Company to book your holiday and travel arrangements, it is advisable to start looking for accessible accommodation and planning all your traveling requirements two to three months in advance, as there are a wide variety of different things to consider including how you will be traveling, what type of holiday you would prefer and the type of accommodation you would require, as well as, whether you will need to hire Nurses and Specialized Transport at your place of destination and what entertainment, tours or trails you would like to enjoy. If you use a Guide or Service dogs, you would also need to make arrangements for this with the Travel and Accommodation companies. Planning for this can become extremely stressful and "First Time Travelers" may even wonder if it is worth it, but the more one travels, the easier it often becomes, we gain experience, learn from our mistakes and learn what to look for when it comes to finding accessible travel and accommodation, we also learn to live outside our comfort zone and end up doing things we never thought were possible.Accessible Travel & Accommodation

“The vast majority of people live within a comfort zone that is relatively small. The comfort zone is defined by fear & our perception of our limitations. We are occasionally willing to take small steps outside it, but few of us dare to expand it. Those who dare sometimes fail & retreat, but many experience the satisfaction of moving into a larger comfort zone & the joyful anticipation of more success”- A quote from ‘Still Me’ by Christopher Reeve.

For those people who do not regularly travel and need advice, there are various Blogs, Web Sites, Facebook Pages or Twitter Feeds, which are listed below and have been put together by persons with Visual, Hearing and Intellectual Impairments who regularly travel and have to find accessible holidays in South Africa or in other countries around the world. Some of these people have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and can advise you on companies to use and what to do when looking for accessible accommodation or booking into a hotel. Click on the links below to get advice on travelling and find information that might prevent you from making mistakes that could ruin your trip or holiday:

Tips When Travelling In South Africa

Tips When Travelling To International Destinations

Accessible Travel & Holiday Websites

Web Sites are also available, which provide information about Accessible Restaurants, Safaris, Hotels & Holiday Destinations in South Africa & around the world, they allow you to list your disabilities and needs, so that they can better accommodate you in one of their accessible rooms and suites. Some of these  Companies which are listed also offer packages for accessible Traveling, Tours and Accommodation which can be booked online. These Websites make holidays and traveling easier and take some of the stress out finding Restaurants, Safaris, Hotels & Holiday Destinations that suits your disability needs, thus making traveling a pleasure again. Click the links below to find these companies that can make traveling easier and accessible to you.

Booking Trips & Tours To South Africa

Booking Trips & Tours To International Destinations

Accessible Travel

South Africa is a very popular and relatively accessible tourist destination. They aim to ensure that all aspects of tourism are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. Despite this, one of the biggest obstacles still faced by many travelers with disabilities, is finding suitable Accessible Travel and Transport which can cater for persons who need the extra assistance. If you use a Guide or Service dogs, you would also need to make arrangements for this with the Travel and Accommodation companies.Accessible Travel

There are various options when traveling in South Africa or overseas, including traveling by Air, Sea, Rail or Road, which are all possible to some degree for persons with Visual, Hearing and Intellectual Impairments. Each person is different and each form of travel offer its own pro’s and cons. Your travel arrangements can be booked online via the company web site which may also specify more details on what disabilities they can cater for. When deciding to take a trip, whether it is for a holiday or for business, it is important to start organizing & planning your transportation and travel arrangements a couple of weeks or months before departure. Please click on the link below to find more information, links and tips about the different forms of traveling that would accessible to you, as well as some of the companies and web sites that can assist you in specific areas.

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Vehicle Hire & Transport Companies

Some persons with Hearing, Intellectual or Visual Impairments who are traveling alone in South Africa may need to rent a vehicle with a driver who is qualified and experienced in providing transport of persons with disabilities, including persons with Hearing, Intellectual or Visual Impairments. There are private companies such as Pro Mobility & Travel With Rene' who also specialize in the transport of persons with disabilities in South Africa, they offer services which include anVehicle Hire Airport shuttle service, Charter Service or Self-Drive option. Some companies & organizations such as WAV Hire & QASA also rent out accessible or adapted vehicles, which are handy if you need accessible transportation for longer periods of time or will be driving around South Africa. You can rent wheelchair accessible vehicles in most of the major cities in South Africa, such as Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Some rental companies are situated near the airports to make renting a vehicle easier if arriving by airplane. For an extra fee, some companies will drop off and pick up the vans from the airport, while other companies provide a driver with the vehicle for an extra fee, making transportation in these major cities fairly easy if booked far enough in advance.

Click on the link below to view information about these companies that offer these transport and vehicle hire services that are available for persons with disabilities  in specific areas and find out how you would go about using them.

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Hotels & Accommodation

Accessible AccommodationPersons with Hearing, Intellectual or Visual Impairments who are traveling don't encounter the same issues as those persons with Mobility Impairments who use Wheelchairs or Scooters. There when traveling to new destination in and around South Africa and overseas, is finding Accessible Accommodation especially if they . This accommodation should not only have ramps, but also specially adapted rooms and bathrooms big enough to not only accommodate the person in wheelchair, but also spacious enough to allow them to move around and store their assistive devices. Government Regulations and the increasing awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities have ensured that there are more and more companies who offer different types of this accommodation for travelers with Visual Impairments, including Bed & Breakfast Accommodation; Game Reserve and Bush Lodge Accommodation; Hotel and Holiday Resort Accommodation and much, much more. Unfortunately these adapted rooms are often limited to one or two rooms per hotel, resort, safari or guest lodge and should therefore be booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Some companies offer online booking via their web site and some websites allow you to list your disabilities and needs, so that they can better accommodate you in one of their accessible rooms. There are also a variety of  websites that list places that offer accessible accommodation and some Events Companies in South Africa can organise or book accessible accommodation for larger groups travelling around South Africa, such as disabled sports teams.

To view more information about these Organizations, Companies and Web Sites, click on the link below or on the "Hotels & Accommodation" on the top left.

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Restaurants, Activities & Entertainment

There are a wide variety of things to do that are accessible to persons with Visual Impairments if they are living or traveling in South Africa. Most Restaurants, Botanical Gardens, Tourist Attractions, Movie Theatres and Sports Stadiums in and around SouthThings To Do Africa are fairly wheelchair friendly and happy to accommodate persons who use wheelchairs. Some venues who describe themselves as wheelchair friendly may have ramps but do not necessarily have accessible toilets or may not be wheelchair accessible to all persons in wheelchairs. Read the article below to find out what is available and accessible to you.

Accessible Restaurants

According to the "The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act" most buildings and Restaurants in South Africa should be accessible to persons with disabilities, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Some restaurants who describe themselves as "Accessible" are not completely accessible for all persons with disabilities, they may be happy to accommodate persons with disabilities and may have some issues.

Disabled Toilets: According to the "The South African National Standard for Building Regulations", all public buildings, shopping centres and restaurants in South Africa should have wheelchair friendly toilets, but some of these toilets have mirrors which are often too high to use for a person seated in their wheelchair, while some don't have mirrors at all, this includes Cape Town International Airport and Shopping Centres such as Tygervalley. Carrying a small mirror in your handbag to touch up your make-up can solve this problem. With a wheelchair-bound child, sometimes decision to load the kids into the car and take a trip through our city to find something interesting for our kids to enjoy.this takes a little more planning and consideration, but our Mother City doesn’t disappoint.

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Accessible Restaurant Websites: There are a variety of "Accessible Travel & Holiday Websites", which can also assist you to find Accessible Restaurants designed to accommodate persons with Visual Impairments, including those who use wheelchairs in South Africa & around the world. These web sites can assist you to choose Restaurants that suits your disability, so that you are not disappointed when you arrive at a restaurant and it is not accessible. Some of these websites do not only list which restaurants are accessible but supply links for you to be able to make a booking and confirm that they are accessible for you. Please remember to contact these Restaurants directly to make a booking and to confirm that they can accommodate you. Click on the links below to find an Accessible Restaurant near you and make"Eating Out" a pleasure again.

Movies at the Cinemas, Live Sports Events & Live Music ConcertsNewlands Cricket Ground

There are also a variety of other activities that persons with Visual Impairments living or traveling in South Africa can enjoy, such as:

  • Going to the Movies
  • Live Sports matches
  • Live Music Concerts, etc.

These are all great forms of entertainment which are accessible to persons who use wheelchairs. These Movies, Sports Matches and Music Concerts, usually take place in venues that have accessible platforms or areas, especially  allocated for wheelchair users, they also include Disabled Parking and Disabled Toilets. According to The National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act these auditoriums, Sports Stadiums & Halls are regulated by law to be wheelchair friendly:

Buildings that incorporate halls or auditoriums for public use are obliged to ensure that a reasonable percentage of space is available for people in wheelchairs or other “assistive devices”.

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There are also various other Blogs, Web Sites, Facebook Pages or Twitter Feeds, which we have been listed below, which have been put together for persons with Mobility Impairments who are looking for accessible things to do in South Africa. Click on the links below to find other things to do in your city:

Things To Do In & Around South Africa

Tours, Safaris & Beaches

South Africa is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international tourists, as well as tourists with disabilities. Thanks to initiatives such as "Accessible Tourism", persons with disabilities, including persons with Visual Impairments can now enjoy the picturesque natural landscapes and beautiful Botanical Gardens, as well as the world renowned game reserves,  beautiful beaches,  and highly regarded wine farms in and around South Africa. There are also a wide variety of companies that can organize tours, as well as Accessible Tour companies that specialize in catering for persons with disabilities, so that they can visit and enjoy some of the most popular and accessible publicly and privately owned tourist locations in South Africa including several national parks, such as the expansive Kruger National Park, the coastlines and beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal and Wine Farms in the Western Cape, many of which have become accessible for persons in Wheelchairs, thanks to various new innovations and equipment. Click on the link below to find out more about these tourist attractions and services that are available for persons with Visual Impairments in specific areas around South Africa, Africa and Internationally and how you would go about using them.

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Nurses & Care Givers

Persons with Visual Impairments may rely on assistance from nurses or Caregivers to complete daily tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, transferring into and out of their wheelchair or vehicle. Having someone to help you with these day-to-day-tasks is very important and can help persons with Visual Impairments to stay at home versus living in a facility. This Non-medical homeCcare Giver care is normally paid for by the individual or family, therefore they, will often opt for Home Base Caregivers, which are a cheaper option. These Home Base Caregivers are often more affordable, as they are less qualified than a qualified nurse. Home Care is often a lower cost solution to long-term care facilities.

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Hiring Nurses & Care Givers While Traveling

Some travelers with Visual Impairments may rely on assistance from Nurses or Caregivers while they are traveling away from home. This can work out very expensive if you take them with you, especially if you are traveling overseas and you will need to pay the extra traveling costs for the Caregiver. The good news is, this does not however need to be a problem, there are "Accessible Traveling Websites" which also list companies who hire out Care Givers or Nurses in different countries around the world. Click on the links below to find companies that offer this service in the cities that you will be traveling to, or to pick up some tips on what to look for when hiring Nurses & Care Givers While Traveling:

Disclaimer

Please note that the FREE services and website that we offer is privately run & funded and is not run or funded by the Government or any Organization. We therefore rely on advertising and donations to continue to supply and improve this Free service. The Companies, Clubs, Schools and Organizations that have their logos on this site, have advertised or made donations to the Website and have therefore assisted us be able to continue to offer this free Service. Please support them as they have supported Us and please contact us if you can advertise with us or would like to make a donation!

N.B: This Website is continually changing and being improved some sections may therefor be incomplete or have links and contact details that are outdated. We are making every effort to keep this to a minimum, so we ask for your patients in this regard and to please Contact Us if you notice that your Companies, Clubs, Schools or Organizations details are incorrect or have changed.

Thank you for visiting our website, we hope that it will be helpful, please feel free to visit our Facebook Page to leave a comment.

References

Gold Level
The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD)
Tri Access
Bradshaw leRoux

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