With the festive holiday season fast approaching comes the challenge of finding fun things for the kids to do. If you need to include elderly parents or friends who are unable to walk far in these outings, this handy list of wheelchair friendly venues is full of inspiration. Remember, you can hire wheelchairs, crutches and other assistive devices from Tafta at nominal rates. Please call 031 332 3721 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Durban Botanic Gardens
Established in 1849, this is Africa’s oldest surviving botanic garden, and well worth a visit. Every day from 7h30-17h15 you can wander to your heart’s content through 15 hectares of paved walkways providing easy access for wheelchairs. Or you can take a guided golf cart tour. Entrance to the gardens is free and there is a gift shop and gourmet coffee shop.
Trail of Lights
From 11-30 December (including Christmas Day), visit the Trail of Lights from 6-10pm and get into the Christmas spirit in support of various charities (including Tafta). An illuminated trail winds its way through the dark gardens, providing a magical experience and fun for the entire family in a safe and secure environment.
With new displays, over 1 million lights, a festive market, food gardens, live entertainment and holiday activities, the Trail of Lights continues to create magical memories over the festive season. Entrance is by ticket only (no tickets at the gate) from R50 per person. Prebook at Web tickets or Pick n Pay.
uShaka Marine World
Everyone’s favourite, uShaka Marine World, is totally wheelchair friendly – from the water park to the aquarium and a selection of restaurants. While you’re there, browse through the mall alongside or take a walk along the new promenade, with its wide paved walkway offering magnificent views of the beach and sea and invigorating sea breezes. The Umhlanga promenade is another enjoyable option for people confined to wheelchairs to get out into the fresh air and sunshine.
Everyone wants to go to the beach!
Want to take a disabled person onto the beach and let them feel the sand between their toes? At last, this is a reality, thanks to a project to install MobiMats at some Durban beaches. These mats provide a slip-resistant surface that is rigid, while allowing the flexibility of the mesh surface to contour the sand beneath.
Another option is to hire a special beach wheelchair, available at various beaches around Durban. These wheelchairs can carry granny or gramps across soft beach sand and even into the water.
For more information, please visit The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) website or contact one of the venues below to book a beach wheelchair free of charge:
- Suncoast Beach – 031 314 7878
- uShaka Surf & Adventures, South Beach – 031 332 9949
- Southroom Beach Granny’s Pool – 082 771 3158. There are two beach wheelchairs, as well as wheelchair access to the beach via a ramp with excellent ablution facilities
- Ocean Braai restaurant on North Beach: Beach wheelchairs can be rented free of charge.
Umgeni River Bird Park
The Umgeni River Bird Park has wide paved walkways that are easy to navigate in a wheelchair and, apart from the stunning array of birds on display – from North and South America, Africa, Indonesia and Australia – you can also enjoy wonderful green vegetation, tall shady trees, waterfalls and amazing rock faces.
Time your visit for around 11am when you can enjoy a free flight bird show with critically endangered species like the Wattled Crane, as well as owls, storks, hornbills and a Cape Vulture in free unrestricted flight. There is also a café and children’s playground to keep all members of the family entertained. Special rates for pensioners and children under 3 are free.
Another favourite with Durbanites, Mitchell Park is a gardener’s delight with stunning flowerbed displays, mature trees and green lawns. There is also a menagerie and a collection of aviaries housing exotic birds, animals, tortoises, tropical fish and reptiles, plus a children’s playground and restaurant. Perfect for a family day out.
This hidden gem is not only interesting and informative, but wheelchair friendly with on-site parking and entrance is free!
Situated in a building that was once one of the most despised structures in Durban – the Department of Native Affairs – the building has been transformed into a place of hope and optimism, a place in which diversity is celebrated and those who were once a part of the struggle against injustice are honoured.
Please note the museum is closed on Sundays and public holidays.
Phezulu Crocodile and Snake Park
Take a drive up to the Valley of 1000 Hills for an enjoyable visit to Phezulu Crocodile and Snake Park, where you can see giant crocodiles in their natural habitat, as well as an astounding number of snake species including African Rock Pythons, Green and Black Mamba, Boomslang, Vine Snake, Puff Adder, Spitting Cobra, Rinkhals, Anaconda and Boa Constrictor. There is a tearoom and curio shop too.
Mandela Capture Site
More time on your hands? Continue up the N3 to the Mandela Capture Site and Apartheid Museum, dominated by the unique landmark sculpture of 50 steel columns (representing the 50 years since Mandela’s capture) that reveal the face of Madiba when viewed at exactly the right angle. Special rates for pensioners and children under 12 are free.
If you can recommend other wheelchair friendly outings, please use the comment section below to share details with others. Thank you!