Shanrod Africa offers accessible travel in Africa. Ours safaris in Africa offer services that are tailored for wheelchair users and other special needs persons.
Most Airports in Africa have wheelchairs if you are not having one but there is no guarantee that a narrow aside chair will be present. This means that unless you can walk to some degree, entering and exiting the aircraft will be a manhandling affair like at Entebbe in Uganda. Staff will be prepared to help but this service is not as slick as you may be used to.
We mainly use flying safaris for the special needs persons to enable us have short driving distances. In some parts, we may provide you with the cars that are customized for the wheel chair users. However if you are using public means, it may be a hard task copying with the situation as the facilities for people with special needs are not available.
Most hotels and other public places like shopping malls have facilities for people with special needs including toilets, and access with ramps for wheelchair users. In upcountry lodges, and small hotels some of the facilities are not yet available. However the facilities in Uganda and Rwanda can only be in high-end hotels. This means that budget travelers and backpackers have to deal with the situation as at some places, they have to be carried to be able to access the facilities.
Some of the activities that involve physical activities like walking and gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, there is more that is needed. People are carried in a customized chair through the rainforest to track the gorillas. Shanrod Africa offers the best to take care of the clients. On the day of gorilla tracking in Uganda and Rwanda, people with special needs are allocated the gorilla groups that are near.
Travel by people with disabilities, also known as “disabled travel” or “accessible travel,” is on the rise. The travel industry is waking up to the special needs of travelers with disabilities by providing more services and greater accommodation.
Disabled Travel Tips
- Call ahead. Service providers are required by law in many cases to accommodate travelers with special needs. However, most need some time to make the necessary arrangements. Mention your needs at the time of reservation, and call the provider 24 to 48 hours before your arrival to confirm that proper accommodations have been made.
- Be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the “lingo” of accessible travel, or the medical terms for certain conditions. Give as many details as you can about what you can and can’t do, and don’t downplay the severity of the disability. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you. If they promise you certain accommodations, try to get these promises in writing.
- Be specific and clear when describing the trip to your doctor. A doctor can often prescribe measures for coping with an unusually long flight, limited medical facilities at your destination, the unavailability of prescription drugs and other pitfalls of traveling. Be prepared — in some cases, your doctor may question the advisability of travel.
- Take a doctor’s note and phone number. Travel with a statement from your doctor, preferably on letterhead, covering your condition, medications, potential complications, special needs and other pertinent information. Be sure you have a number where your doctor (or another medical professional) can be reached in an emergency situation at any hour of the day.
- Bring extra medication. Many experts advise that you travel with two complete packages of essential medication in case of emergency. Store all medications and other necessary medical supplies in your carry-on bag.
- Investigate physician availability where you will be traveling. Your doctor, health care provider, insurance company or local embassy can provide the names and contact numbers of physicians at your destination. For more information, see Health Care Abroad.
- Carry medical alert information, preferably in a place that a medical professional or anyone who assists you will find easily (wallet card, necklace, close to your identification).
- Consider using a specialist travel agent. Some agents provide stellar niche services; one might be very experienced in working with travelers with hearing impairments, another with developmentally impaired travelers. Since the requirements for these varied travelers can be staggeringly different, it helps to find someone who knows the ropes.
- Avoid connecting flights. Although wheelchairs are the last items to be checked into the luggage compartments, and thus first to be pulled off, flying direct can save you unnecessary time and hassle. One exception: If you have trouble maneuvering into airplane lavatories, long flights may become uncomfortable — so a series of shorter flights might be a better option. If you do choose to connect, be sure to allow plenty of time between flights (we’d recommend at least 90 minutes, or two hours if you need to go through customs or security) to get from one gate to the next.
- Allow plenty of time before your flight to check in, get through security and transfer to your gate. Arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight — more if you’re traveling at a peak time.
- Check in with your flight attendant before your plane lands to make a plan for exit.
- Don’t forget about transportation to and from the airport. If you have a wheelchair, Shanrod Africa will help you with the arrangement on how to move about from the airport.
- Bring spare parts and tools. Wheelchairs can take tremendous abuse while traveling; assemble a small kit of spare parts and tools for emergency repairs. You may also be required to dismantle a wheelchair for certain flights or activities; please, contact Shanrod Africa at the time of booking and your safari consultant will advise.