Living in Africa and needing disabled access to anything is a nightmare. We love to travel and have a lot of opportunity to travel with my husband’s job, but we are starting to learn that the words “disabled”, “access”, and so on, have completely different meanings in different places.
Checking before booking, the internet and photos on line should make this process much easier, but it doesn’t at all. There are places where disabled rooms are available and we have arrived to find that all rooms have the same flat wide path to access them, but the cruddy room without the views is the one where they have installed railings all over the bathroom… yet forgotten about the three steps to the front door.
There are legal codes, country codes, world wide codes, and then there are people who cut corners, make claims, and simply have no idea what they are talking about. Then there are the lovely people who tell us that they have no idea whether their place will work for us or not, ….so best we not come at all.
After two years, over a dozen international flights, even more domestic flights, road trips, boutique hotels and enormous cookie cutter hotel chains, we have learnt to expect nothing, to hope for the best, to pack and plan for any number of outcomes, …and to do what we have always done in life and simple “wing it”! I never leave the house without my crutch and we usually take the wheelchair. We take our own long life food and drinks (in case we can’t go anywhere and there is no room service), kettles and hot hot water bottles, my own pillow and blanket, warm clothes, every kind of medication, laptop and phone, plus a good book to read.
The above photo was taken out the door of our hotel room in the middle of Lesotho in June this year. It zigs and zags it’s way up from reception (hidden by the hill) this side of that big river which loses perspective a bit, …but if you see the road by the river and note that it is a two way road, you can see how far up we are, and how reception can be hidden this side of the river (and how high it is). There is absolutely no way on God’s green earth that I could get up or down this path and all these steps. Thankfully we were able to drive around the long way across the donkey paddock around the back, and that we could do it because we have a SERIOUS 4 wheel drive, … even a small one would not have been able to drive up over the rocks and ditches. It snows mid winter there and so if the snows had already come then even with our 4 wheel drive we would not have had access.
I actually don’t think that everywhere can have access for all people, it simply isn’t practical without pushing prices through the roof and making places therefore unobtainable for the financially challenged, however it would be great to have some kind of idea of what to expect?