Top Wheelchair-Friendly Holiday Destinations
Travelling is one of life's greatest pleasures, but for wheelchair users, it can be a daunting task.
From accessible accommodation to tourism attractions and transport, there is a lot to consider when travelling in a wheelchair. Fortunately, many destinations worldwide have made great strides to accommodate for wheelchair users.
We've pulled together some of the best wheelchair-friendly holiday destinations, both internationally and locally, and provide helpful tips for planning your next trip.
This is a prime destination for wheelchair users, with a world-renowned healthcare system and accessible public transport. Toronto is a particularly wheelchair-friendly city, with dedicated transport lanes, ramps, and elevators in most public spaces. Many of the city's top tourist attractions, including the CN Tower and the Royal Ontario Museum, are wheelchair accessible. In addition, the stunning Niagara Falls is a must-visit attraction, offering easy access for wheelchair users via a specially-designed observation deck.
For a more local getaway, South Africa has many accessible tourist sites and attractions. In recent years, we've made great strides to become more wheelchair-friendly, with many public spaces and accommodations being renovated to accommodate all types of disabilities. With regards to our beautiful blue-flag beaches, WESSA has donated amphibious wheelchairs to four coastal municipalities in South Africa, and have a unique design, allowing them to move easily on the sand, as well as to enter and float in the sea – with support. Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town is one of these beaches where this is available.
At Kirstenbosch Gardens, all visitor facilities such as entrance gates, shops and restaurants are wheelchair-accessible, but much of the destination is set on quite a steep gradient. Here is a handy map of Kirstenbosch showing the main paths that are accessible for wheelchairs. The V&A Waterfront has also been made adaptable for wheelchair users, with plenty of sightseeing attractions available, like the Two Oceans Aquarium. In Gauteng, Johannesburg offers various wheelchair accessible attractions including the Cradle of Humankind and the Apartheid Museum.
Plenty more top tourist destinations have made significant efforts in creating safe, welcoming spaces for wheelchairs and differently-abled users. Here are a few that stand out:
The iconic city of Paris, for example, offers a multitude of accessible attractions including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum.
The Grand Canyon boasts paved paths and a shuttle service that makes it easy for wheelchair users to take in the breathtaking views.
An epitome of multiculturalism, London offers various wheelchair-friendly activities including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the iconic Buckingham Palace and the fascinating Harry Potter Studio Tour.
Singapore boasts modern architecture and family-friendly attractions such as Sentosa Island, the Universal Studios and the Gardens by the Bay.
For the ultimate magical experience, Disney has always been a favourite for South African families, where the famous theme parks in Florida, California, and Paris offer services for guests with disabilities.
Helpful tips for planning your next trip
When planning a trip in a wheelchair, it's important to research accessible transport and accommodation options in advance. Booking with a travel agent experienced in accommodating disabilities can also be helpful, as they can offer recommendations and assistance with transportation, luggage handling, and medical equipment hire. Finally, when booking air travel, be sure to request a specific seat and notify the airline of any special needs in advance.
Travelling is a rewarding experience that should be enjoyed by all, regardless of disability. With many destinations worldwide making strides to accommodate wheelchair users, there has never been a better time to embark on a holiday. Whether you're planning an overseas adventure or a local getaway, do your research, book through a reputable providers ilke Thompsons, and don't let your wheelchair hold you back from experiencing the wonders of the world. Happy travels!