Traveling with a disability can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn't have to be. With the right planning and preparation, people with disabilities can enjoy the same experiences as any other traveler. Africa is no exception, and there are a few special considerations to keep in mind when planning a trip. Doing your research is key when it comes to traveling with a disability.
It's important to find out what medical equipment is available at your destination, and if renting is an option. Websites such as Mobility International USA and the European Accessible Tourism Network provide information on medical equipment providers abroad. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the principles of universal design (UD) emphasize the importance of inclusive planning, including the development or improvement of facilities that accommodate people with disabilities. Estimates suggest that between 10 and 20% of the African population is affected by disabilities, so it's important to consider their needs when planning a trip.
Having some type of assistance in the country is essential for many travelers, disabled or not. A family member or friend can travel with you and act as an interpreter, or you may be able to find a local guide who can help you navigate your destination. Airlines must offer all travelers the same travel opportunities, regardless of their disability, unless doing so endangers the health or safety of other passengers and crew. South Africa is an ideal safari destination for older and disabled travelers, as the accommodations found here are the easiest to navigate and contain the fewest total steps.
If you have traveled and feel unwell, especially if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your trip. Include your prescription and over-the-counter medications in your travel kit and bring enough for the entire trip, plus a supplement in case of travel delays. The equipment and supplies needed by a disabled traveler will vary from person to person, so it's important to assess your needs before you go. Visually impaired travelers may even have a more holistic experience than travelers who rely solely on vision. When traveling with a disability, it's important to plan ahead and be prepared for any situation that may arise.
Researching medical equipment availability at your destination is essential, as is having some type of assistance in the country. South Africa is an ideal safari destination for disabled travelers due to its accessible accommodations. Don't forget to bring enough medication for your entire trip plus a supplement in case of delays. Finally, visually impaired travelers may even have a more holistic experience than those who rely solely on vision.