Information for the Disabled Traveller visiting Kruger Park

Elephants crossing a river in Kruger park

Information Courtesy of Chris Patton


Access - Kruger Park For Disabled Travellers

Siyabona Africa Travel is fast becoming one of the leading Kruger National Park destination package specialists, and in doing so, have also considered and made available their services for visitors to the Kruger National Park with physical disabilities.

Kruger is an enormous tract of land (approximately 2 million hectares) offering the visitor a large variety of accommodation types and other facilities and activities. Visitors with physical and mobility difficulties can enjoy many of these offerings.

The access in camps to all receptions, shops, restaurants, lookout points and other public use areas is almost always ramped and accessible public ablution facilities are available at all 12 main Rest Camps except Punda Maria and Orpen, although public toilets at these camps can be accessed with limited assistance.

In addition, a brochure was compiled by a staff member of South African National Parks 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.

Accommodation

This is a summary of accommodation with accessible facilities for people with disabilities in the major Kruger National Park 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 the 2 Rest Camps Letaba and Satara and at each of the 5 Bushveld Camps.

Two of the Bushveld Camps, 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.

  • Berg-en-Dal: 2x6-bed family cottage; Accessible ablutions for campers; Bath/Bath in camping facilities
  • Crocodile Bridge: 2x3-bed bungalow/1x2-bed safari tent; Accessible ablutions for campers; Shower / Separate shower & toilet for safari tent and campers
  • Letaba: 2x2-bed bungalow/1x2-bed safari tent; Accessible ablutions for campers; Bath in bungalows/communal bath for tent -a roll-in shower is located next to the restaurant
  • Lower Sabie: 1x3-bed bungalow/3x2-bed self equipped safari tent; Accessible ablutions for campers; Bath in bungalow/Shower in safari tents/2 separate accessible shower units for campers
  • Mopani: 2x4-bed bungalow; Shower
  • Olifants: 1x3-bed bungalow; Bath
  • Orpen: None; None
  • Pretoriuskop: 2x2-bed bungalow; Shower
  • Punda Maria: None; Accessible ablutions for campers; Bath (no grab rails) in communal ablution block
  • Satara: 2x2-bed bungalow; Accessible ablutions for campers; One bath, one shower/roll-in shower for campers
  • Shingwedzi: 4x5-bed bungalow (2 beds in loft)/Accessible ablutions for campers; Bath/roll-in shower for campers
  • Skukuza:8x2-bed bungalow/1x6-bed guest house/2x2-bed luxury riverside bungalows (6x shower, 2x bath)/Both/Shower (no seat for transfer)

In addition the following satellite camp has accessible accommodation

  • Tamboti: 1x2-bed safari tent and 1x4-bed safari tent with communal facilities; one 3-bed safari tent with self equipped facilities; Accessible shower and toilet at communal block / Shower

Advice for Travellers 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 textTravelling 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
Activities
  • 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 (barbeques) and Breakfasts: Certain camps offer visitors the opportunity of 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
Transport and Tours
  • Hire of hand-controlled vehicle: Tourists wishing to make use of hand-controlled vehicles can do so by contacting a Siyabona Africa consultant. Hand control vehicles can be arranged for the mobility impared persons wanting to do self drives. A hand control is fitted on Budget Car Hire group D (automatic) vehicles only. These hand control requests must be booked in advance because it takes time to fit these controls.
  • One of the challenges facing people with disabilities, particularly those with mobility impairment is that of transport. Siyabona Africa is able to assist any disabled travellers in experiencing the Kruger National Park by making use of our specialist guides in that area.
  • We conduct all game viewing activities in open game drive vehicles on programs that are tailor-made to suit your specific needs. We combine these programs with accommodation and facilities within Kruger National Park as well as the many private lodges on reserves bordering the park.

Picnic options for disabled travellers

Picnic Sites and Lookout Points in Kruger with accessible ablution facilities:

Picnic Site
Nearest Rest Camps
AfsaalMalelane, Berg-en-Dal, Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Biyamiti
NkuhluSkukuza, Lower Sabie
TshokwaneSkukuza, Lower Sabie, Satara
N'wanetsiSatara
TimbavatiOrpen (Tamboti and Maroela), Satara, Olifants
MasoriniLetaba, Olifants, Shimuwini
BabalalaPunda Maria, Shingwedzi, Sirheni
Pafuri (partially)Punda Maria, Shingwedzi, Sirheni

Picnic Sites without accessible ablutions are available at Mlondozi Dam, Orpen Dam, Nhlanguleni, Muzandzeni and Mooiplaas. Other destinations or facilities in Kruger enabling physical access that are recommended:

Destination
Nearest Rest Camps
Rhino TrailBerg-en-Dal (Partially accessible)
Nthandanyathi Hide
Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge
Riverside Trail
In Skukuza
Sweni Hide
Satara
Ratel Pan
Orpen (Tamboti and Maroela), Satara, Olifants
Elephant Museum
In Letaba
Riverside Trail
In Letaba (partially accessible)
Matambeni Hide
Letaba (Access path is steep and rugged)
Shipandani Hide
Mopani
Nyawutsi Hide
Shingwedzi

Several other destinations may offer some degree of access but are not holistically accessible to people with mobility difficulties.

Siyabona Africa has researched the 12 Standard Self-Catering Rest Camps, the 7 Private Self-Catering Bush Camps, the 4 Rustic Self-Catering Camps, 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).

Regional Overview - Areas And Gates

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

Berg-en-Dal Area - Southern Region

Berg-en-Dal is accessed through the Malelane Gate

The gate has accessible toilets equipped with accessible facilities. There is a small step into the reception desk.

Malelane Private Camp and Campsite

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 the 'rhino 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.

Berg-en-Dal has conference and wedding facilities. The indoor and outdoor sections are accessible by ramps and linked to the camps restaurant facilities. Accessible ablutions are available inside the inside the conference facility. Out of the 80 units in the camp, three have accessible adaptations.

One is a 3 bed bungalow, and the other two units are both 6-bed family cottages. One of the three campsite ablutions are accessible, with only one bath and toilet with grab rails, however there is no roll-in shower.

Afsaal **

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 - Southern Region

Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge are accessed through the Crocodile Bridge Gate, although Lower Sabie can also be accessed via the Paul Kruger Gate.

Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp and 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 and contains 3 single beds. In terms of self-catering, the huts contain a refrigerator, a stove (with clearance space beneath), a sink, a table and 2 cupboards containing crockery and utensils. The braai area has been linked to the unit with a cement causeway.

Hippo Pool

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 ***

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. 5 bungalows, 3 safari tents and 1 guest house are equipped with ramps and adapted ablutions for guests in wheelchairs.

Lower Sabie is the Rest Camp with the second largest number of accessible units for disabled travellers after Skukuza. 2 unisex wheelchair ablutions facilities, one in the south and one in the north block is available in the camping section.

All the wheelchair units are fitted with a roll-in shower. One of the bungalows has a bath with grab rails. 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.

Nkumbe *

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).


Elephants crossing a river in Kruger park
Page: 2 Pretoriuskop Area - Southern Region
Pretoriuskop is best accessed through the Numbi Gate. Numbi Gate ** There is an accessible toilet. Some wheelchair users may require limited assistance to access the curio stalls and the reception office. Pre ...

Page: 3 Shingwedzi Area - Far Northern Region
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 ...


 
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