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Traveling with a Physical Disability - Travel with mobility disabilities
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Ayuda sobre accesibilidad. Ahora no. What are you in the mood to read? Are you one of the many active seniors or baby boomers who have some disabilities and wants to travel? Do you have special needs, use a wheelchair and are looking for accessible travel options? Not all disabled or special needs travelers have the same needs, and it is important to be mindful of your unique situation as you research safari holidays, travel, and accommodation.
Travelers with limited mobility will not have the same requirements as people that are vision or hearing impaired.
Many tour operators, like Endeavor Safaris, offer a variety of trips to multiple locations and of varying duration for people with a variety of special needs, and your trip can be tailor-made for you, even down to a private departure. For travelers with limited mobility and similar disabilities, there are an increasing number of safari operators to meet your needs, whether you require the use of a cane, walker, manual wheelchair, or are permanently confined to a power chair. Endeavor Safaris is a leader in this regard, offering a number of safaris through Botswana, South Africa, and elsewhere.
When planning your trip, it is essential that you ensure you can be accommodated every step of the way. The vehicles used to transport you to the site and during the course of the safari should be accessible to you. Many operators offer safari vehicles fitted with hydraulic lifts, which are useful for people with a variety of mobility issues, not just wheelchairs. Additionally, many operators have vehicles with a wheelchair locking system that allows travelers to remain in their chair or transfer out of it. Some operators, like Access2Africa Safaris, even offer a personal caretaker for those travelers that have more specific medical needs, and can even provide power wheelchairs and commodes should the need arise.
Most lodging in Africa will not have wheelchair accessible bathrooms, so to make the most of your trip you will have to be somewhat flexible. Bathing is often the biggest adjustment for any Western traveler, and facilities will likely be primitive on safari, if not completely non-existent. Bed or bucket baths may be the only thing available, so you may feel more comfortable traveling with someone that can assist you.
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Travelers with limited mobility may also have issues with pressure wounds, so you will need to take into consideration the types of accommodations available and plan accordingly if you need cushions or inflatable mattresses. Since traditional safaris are very much visually oriented, visually impaired travelers have a unique set of needs. There are often opportunities on safari to exit the vehicle, and in places where it is safe to do so, travelers can exit the vehicle to touch and smell things to enhance their experience. In fact, visually impaired travelers may get a more holistic experience than those travelers on that rely solely on vision.
It is important to mention the use of guide dogs.
Regulations put in place in order to prevent the spread of disease between animals and people prohibit bringing outside animals into national parks, including guide dogs. They pose the potential danger of attracting predators, and some people are also opposed to putting an animal through a long international flight. However, if visually impaired travelers listen to the guide and have human assistance, they are at no greater risk on safari than any other time.
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Deaf or otherwise hearing impaired travelers also have special needs to consider. While it is possible for tour operators to help you arrange for a sign language interpreter, this can be a costly option since this is a service that may not be readily available. Since many travelers go on safari with family or friends anyway, a family member or friend that is traveling with you that can act as an interpreter may be the most economical option.
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Special accommodations can even be made for people with other needs, like those needing the use of an oxygen tank, or even people currently undergoing kidney dialysis. Endeavor Safaris can easily facilitate people requiring the use of oxygen tanks, and they offer a unique safari opportunity for those travelers on dialysis — their tours are centered around dialysis centers throughout South Africa, the quality of which should be approximately comparable to the care you are used to receiving at home.
For many people, disabled or otherwise, having some sort of in-country assistance is absolutely essential, whether you are traveling alone or your disability necessitates traveling with friends or family members. It can be very beneficial to have someone local to help with in-country travel arrangements and other bureaucratic issues and, if you are in a place where English or your primary language is not widely spoken, your local guide can serve as a translator.
You will have to coordinate this aspect of your trip in advance, and there can be some drawbacks, namely that you may not know much about your guide. It is important to communicate as much as possible prior to your trip so you know what to expect from your guide. On the other hand, a tour operator may be willing to help coordinate a guide for you — these guides are generally reliable and have worked in this capacity before.
Hiring a guide can also be cheap, given the strength of western currencies versus African currencies and the standard of living in the country s you will be visiting.
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Additionally, you will need to make sure that everyone you will be working with throughout your trip, from airlines to tour operators, is aware of your specific needs. This can be especially true for people with impaired mobility, and is very important on international flights given their duration. You will also want to be sure to bring any equipment that you will need with you, including tools for wheelchairs and the proper supplies for people using catheters, especially since access to hospitals and clinics and the quality of care abroad is often not at the same standard you may be used to at home.
Medications should be labeled with your name and relevant information, and it may be a good idea to bring copies of your prescription, just in case. Be sure to pack essentials in your carry on luggage in the event that your checked bag s is lost. As you begin planning your trip, assess your personal health needs, and consider some of the common concerns shared by disabled travelers abroad when you begin investigating the specifics, including lack of wheelchair accessible airport transfers, vehicles, and lodging.
Other concerns include a lack of professional staff equipped to deal with the unique needs of disabled people and a lack of information concerning accessibility in certain places of interest. Now that you know what to expect as a disabled traveler on safari, what is a safari actually like? Regardless of the cost of your safari holiday or the type of traveler you are, most safaris follow a similar format to maximize on your experience. For most travelers, the safari will begin on the first full day since, in many cases, the first day of your travels within a country will be dedicated to getting to the park or reserve.
There may also be a briefing on what to expect during the days ahead, and most travelers will appreciate a night to recover from all the traveling.
Food and accommodations will depend on what you have arranged for your trip, but travelers staying at a lodge operated by a park or traveling with a safari operator will generally be provided with three meals a day. There are a few reasons for this. Additionally, this curfew serves as a safety measure, since animals in the park have free range, and some animals may be more active at night. At Mikumi National Park in Tanzania, visitors are warned about lions that may potentially sleep on the porches of the cabins.
Days on safari can start very early, though your individual itinerary may vary based on your wants and needs. Many safaris will do a morning game drive between 6 and am local time — this is a time at which wildlife is very active, and it is a good time to be out before temperatures rise. Game drives can last for a few hours but, again, your experience may vary based on your needs. Breakfast is generally served before the morning game drive, and lunch will be served afterward. A second game drive generally takes place in the afternoon and lasts until sunset — many parks have a rule that requires those out on game drives to return before sundown.
By timing the game drives this way, you generally avoid being out during peak temperatures. The above information assumes that you will be doing your safari in one park; many operators offer safaris that will take you to multiple parks. In this case, you may participate in a morning game drive followed by a meal at one park, then spend the afternoon traveling to another park or another area, if the park is exceptionally large. Sometimes, it may be possible to do a game drive on the way to your next destination.
For any traveler, it is important to know where you stand in any foreign country that you visit.
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