We've compiled a list of the 7 top tourist destinations in Cape Town that are wheelchair friendly.
Cape Town is rated as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The rolling mountains, the sparkling surrounding oceans, the vast winelands and the amazingly diverse flora all contribute to making it such a great place to visit.
It is fair to say that exploring Cape Town is a must on any traveler's bucket list. Luckily, Cape Town caters to all, with many of the hot spots being wheelchair-friendly (please note: the city centre can get quite busy with all the people walking around and taxis zipping through the streets; we'd recommend you explore the city on the City Sightseeing Bus if you use a wheelchair).
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium is located in the V&A Waterfront and boasts over 3000 living sea animals and various exciting and educational exhibits. Expect to get up close and personal with penguins, observe the predator tank, marvel at the kelp tank and enjoy a bite to eat or glass of wine at Cafe V !Almost all areas are accessible for wheelchair users and manual wheelchairs can be hired free of charge from the Visitor Services.
The V&A Waterfront is possibly one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cape Town. It was founded in 1860 by Queen Victoria's son Alfred and is now a busy harbour lined with shops, hotels, buskers, cinemas, restaurants, an amphitheater and bars. What makes the V&A Waterfront so special is the magnificent scenery in which it is set - Table Mountain on one side and the sparkling ocean on the other side.
It's a great, safe place to spend a day or more and is mostly flat with a couple of ramps here and there. Park in the V&A Mall underground car park for the best selection of disabled parking. The V&A Mall and the Clocktower Mall both have accessible bathrooms and lifts. You can hire manual wheelchairs from the tourist information office for free, but you need to book in advance on +27 21 408 7600.The African Craft Market is all on one level and great for browsing for souvenirs or gifts. The hop-on, hop-off City Sightseeing bus leaves from the kiosk outside the Two Oceans Aquarium and is accessible for wheelchair users.
City Sightseeing Bus
These accessible tour buses are a great way to see the outstanding sights of Cape Town and to get around the centre. They run daily throughout the year, with extended hours in summer. The ticket kiosk is at the V&A Waterfront, near the Two Oceans Aquarium.
The buses are modern and accessible, with an extending ramp and a wheelchair space on the lower deck. There is no need to book the wheelchair space in advance.
Table Mountain, one of the 7 Natural World Wonders of the world. It would be rightfully sinful to visit Cape Town without visiting this iconic landmark and luckily a trip up this majestic flat-topped mountain is possible for anybody.There are disabled parking bays outside the lower cable car entrance on Tafelberg Road and the cable car is accessible for wheelchair users. At the top, there are level and sloping boardwalks to some areas but you won't be able to access all over the top of the mountain. No matter where you go, you are guaranteed a breath taking view.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Gardens is rated the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the most beautiful in the world. Located on the slopes of Table Mountain, the garden comprises of 528 hectares of diverse and rich land, containing only indigenous South African plants with excellent displays on the various themed areas.
There are large car parks with marked disabled bays at Gates 1 and 2. You can also get the accessible City Sightseeing Bus direct to the door. For the best experience, go to the information point at Gate 1 where you can pick up a map and get advice on the best places to go.The main areas are accessible for wheelchair users with good surfaces and ramps, but take a charged-up wheelchair battery or a strong companion as they can be very steep. You can hire a free wheelchair at any of the entrance gates – there are six available in total so you only need book in advance in peak times.
Also a point worth mentioning, there is a Braille Trail and a Fragrance Garden designed specially for people with visual impairments.
Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)
The CTICC is a multi-purpose conference and exhibition centre situated right in the hustle and bustle of Cape Town's city centre. There are several auditoria and various exhibition spaces, hosting world class events such as the Design Indaba, film shoots, presentations, trade shows, banquets, international conferences, and the list could go on.The CTICC has been designed to be accessible for wheelchair users and visitors with other disabilities. There are designated drop-off points and disabled parking bays, plenty of wheelchair-accessible toilets, and Braille buttons in all the lifts.
The Artscape Theatre Centre is the main performing arts centre in Cape Town. They are host to a variety of productions, including the ballet, opera, cabaret and performances by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. While you are not marveling the performances on stage, there is a bar and restaurant in which you can indulge.
Facilities for wheelchairs are available in the Opera House and Theatre in accordance with safety regulations. Wheelchair seats can be booked at the Artscape Box Office, at any Computicket outlet, or through the Computicket call centre. Please note that the Arena is not wheelchair friendly.
Wheelchair friendly toilets are situated in the Marble and Chandelier Foyers of the Opera House and on the lower level of the Theatre Foyer.
There are limited parking bays for Disabled Parking Disc Holders in the tunnel area opposite the Stage Door entrance and in the staff parking area. A drop off facility is available in the tunnel area for patrons who have difficulty walking. Prior arrangements in all regards should be made with the Front of House Manager.
Riverlodge Backpackers is conveniently situated within close distance to these tourist attractions; these experiences could be right at your fingertips!
Written by Saskia Carelse
(All photos sourced from Google Images)
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