Travellers with Disabilities: Our Top 3 Luxury Sabi Sands Accommodation Picks
“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne – bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive” – Karen Blixen
Discovering the mystical African bush, and her wild secrets is an experience on many a bucket list. And so, it should be. One of South Africa’s magnificent gifts to those traversing her lands is the experience of meeting the Big 5 up close at the world-renowned Kruger National Park.
On the southwestern corner of the park, lies the 65 000 hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve renowned for incredible leopard and lion sightings.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve offers some of the best in luxury 5 Star Safari Lodge collections, and this means a thoughtful understanding of the needs of differentially-abled persons.
With a passion for excellent service and spectacular comfort, selected world-class safari lodges within the reserve cater to travellers with disabilities and are mindful of wheelchair specific needs.
Mala Mala Main Camp
Perfectly marrying excellent service, perfect attention to detail and great game viewing, Mala Mala is well renowned for spectacular safari experiences. Mala Mala Main Camp prides itself on being one of the few safari destinations to offer a fully equipped disabled suite designed in accordance with the Disabled People’s Information Service of South Africa and is in line with international standards.
Besides the indulgent touches of the lodge’s luxury African Safari accommodation, the dedicated suite boasts features such as a ramp on the entrance to the room, a separate bathroom able to comfortably accommodate a guest who is wheelchair bound as well as a wheel-in shower with all the necessary fittings.
The master bedroom features two bathrooms en-suite, desk surfaces levelled for wheelchair-height positioning, and a separate lounge area doubling as a bedroom should a disabled guest require assistance from an accompanying nurse.
Thoughtfully there are no loose rugs or carpets impeding wheelchair movement in the suite and there is 24-hour temperature control.
Further enhancing each guest’s safari experience in this haven of tranquillity is an elevated deck overlooking the bush. Wildlife Safari Game drives are conducted safely in a suitably equipped land rover.
Lion Sands Tinga Lodge
Lion Sands Tinga Lodge in the Sabi Sands presents contemporary spacious suites, each with a colonial flair, capturing the romance of the pioneer days. Tinga lodge combines incredible game-viewing adventures with pure comfort in its bold and sophisticated spaces, with en-suite bathrooms and separate lounge areas.
Every suite here as a private deck with a plunge pool that overlooks the Sabie River and a chance to spot hippo’s, astounding bird-life and other game.
With each guest’s comfort in mind, special diet menus can be arranged upon advance request, and game-drive assistance with steps allows everyone to join on a wildlife adventure of a lifetime.
The main area of the lodge includes wheelchair-friendly public bathrooms and the lodge features 5 wheelchair-friendly rooms including roll-in showers, grab rails and a shower seat.
Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
With only six luxury units on-site, Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp offers a lavish and intimate getaway. Decorated in contemporary African design with organic touches and warmth, each suite boasts a private viewing deck and heated spa bath overlooking the riverbed.
A dedicated handicap suite features all furniture at modified height, a wheel-in shower stall, grab bars in shower and tub as well as a hand-held shower nozzle.
The main area of the lodge provides ease of mobility with ramps and special accommodation is made for mobility-impaired guests on game drives, offering a thrilling and exquisite African safari adventure for everyone.
Top Tips for Travellers with Disabilities
1. Consider a road itinerary
Travel by car from Johannesburg to Sabi Sands is a 5-and-a-half to 6-hour drive. If unsure whether small, light aircraft will be able to accommodate your specific needs, opt for a road-trip for both comfort and safety purposes.
A road safari to your destination can offer many adventures and magnificent sites in itself, and would likely be a cost-effective option. A driver-guide can accompany you on your road journey as you start your African safari experience even before reaching your lodge destination.
2. Be clear about your needs
Being out in the bush may not provide all the amenities and equipment you require. When booking your safari, be clear about what you may need to make this adventure memorable and comfortable to ensure this can be provided for you with ease.
Choose resorts with flat stretches of land, with walkways and paths as opposed to only sand or gravel and opt for a room with an al fresco shower. Showering outside under the sun or moon, surrounded by nature is a safari tradition. Outdoor showers on decks are often a lot more spacious than indoor ones.
3. Shot-gun the front seat
Request to sit up front with the driver-guide on your game drive. The front seat is easier to access and provides a much smoother ride than sitting in the back.
4. Plan for emergencies
Although unlikely, be sure you are prepared for big or small mishaps. Since you’ll be in a fairly remote location it is best to make sure you have emergency supplies with you where possible such as a puncture-repair kit, copies of medical prescriptions and list of generic options for international travellers as well as a sufficient travel insurance policy.
5. Book in advance
As with family suites and inter-leading rooms, wheelchair-accessible suites are limited in availability, especially during peak season. Book early to avoid disappointment.
6. Take your time
Whether it may be a night in Johannesburg or a stop en-route, take your time to adjust to your new environment, rest, and shake off any travel tiredness. Arriving rested and ready for early morning safari wake-up calls will make the experience so much more enjoyable.
Allow yourself to soak up the beauty of crimson sunsets over African plains, wild encounters with magnificent beasts and savour the finest African cuisine with world-class wines. Sit-back, relax and leave the rest up to us.
“I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same” – Suzanne Evans
Get in touch today and let’s talk about your next South African safari experience.