Safaris for the physically challenged

At Semunyeni Safaris, we try our best to create a unique experience for everyone, despite their physical or mental challenges.

A safari in the heart of southern Africa is on many people’s ‘to-do’ lists but they’re always portrayed as being for suitable only able-bodied enthusiasts. Slowly the market is finding ways to accommodate everyone, no matter their challenges.

We understand that if there are special needs’ travellers within your group or family, there are a seemingly insurmountable number of things to consider before you even begin to dream that it’s possible. Semunyeni can provide information regarding this planning process, explain how we are
able to cater to special needs and how we make the experience unique and interactive despite the challenges.

ASESSING YOUR NEEDS

We recognize that not all disabled or special-needs travellers have the same needs, and it’s important for us to be mindful of your situation to make your ventures as comfortable and safe as possible. However, Semunyeni Safaris is a tailor-made safari company, so the more information we
have about your situation, the more we can accurately cater for your needs.

For travellers with limited mobility and similar disabilities, there are limitations as to who we can accommodate based on the severity of the disability, for example, arrangements can be made to cater for a person in use of a crane or walker is a lot easier to cater for a person limited to a manual wheelchair. This isn’t to say that we aren’t able to cater for an individual limited to a wheelchair within reason, but unfortunately for health and safety reasons, we cannot cater for individuals confined to a power chair as on mobile safaris.

There are a lot of risks regarding the safety of the individual as we move from destination to destination so we have several categories to further outline each one:

LIMITED MOBILITY

For those travellers with limited mobility, it’s important for us to assess your needs concerning hygiene, seating and sleeping. For this reason, we recommend travelling with someone who you feel comfortable with who can assist you in your assigned private quarters.

VISUALLY IMPAIRED TRAVELLERS

Traditionally, safaris are very much visually orientated but this isn’t to say we can’t cater to impaired travelers who have a unique set of needs. With our excellent guides, we cater to the visually impaired by trying to use a traveler’s other senses to recreate different aspects of the experience that they might otherwise miss. We focus on different animal sounds and calls, different scents, the texture and smell of the plant life and strong descriptions of the landscape and animals. We make use of all opportunities where possible to exit the vehicle to give a travellers best immersive familiarity in a safe environment creating a more holistic experience.

Unfortunately, due to us operating in governmental game reserves and national parks, the use of guide dogs is not allowed as there are regulations in place to prevent the spread of diseases from domestic to wild animals.

HEARING IMPAIRED TRAVELLERS

Deaf or otherwise hearing-impaired travelers also have special needs that we take into consideration. We are able to assist in organizing a sign-language interpreter, which would be an additional cost. Since many hearing-impaired travellers go on safari with family or friends, someone traveling with you can act as an interpreter which may be the most economical option.

SPECIAL MEDICAL NEEDS

For travellers who may require a medical center to be nearby, mobile safaris may not be the best option as the camps used in the chosen national parks are very isolated and a great distance from a decent medical center. For emergencies, we do however have a contract with Okavango Air Rescue who are highly qualified medical professionals who are able to assist with any medically related conditions by having a doctor on standby and a medical evac helicopter ready to send to our location when needed.

CHRONIC MEDICATION

Lastly, if you could ensure to give us all the information regarding your needs in the originally enquiry relating to your specific condition or disability, along with everyone or anyone you will be working with throughout your trip, it makes the whole planning and travelling experience
much more enjoyable and comfortable.

Please ensure to bring all the necessary equipment with you and we can ensure its safe keeping while on safari. It should also be noted that all the chronic medication needed on safari should be labelled with your name and any important information. As our guides are qualified in First Aid training but as there is no qualified medical professional on safari, Semunyeni is legally allowed to store and safe keep any medication that needs to be refrigerated but no member of the Semunyeni staff is allowed to dispense any medications to the traveller physically.

When it is time to take the necessary medication, the staff of Semunyeni will bring the medications to you for you to self-dispense. Semunyeni acknowledges that mental disabilities also pose certain challenges and require certain needs and attention. We will handle all enquiries from traveling groups with a mentally disabled person on an enquiry basis based on all the information relating to the mentally impaired traveller and how we can assist while ensure everyone’s safety.

LIFE AROUND CAMP

Semunyeni arranges, by your choice, a road transfer from Maun International Airport to your destination safari start point or through Mack Air, we happily assist you in arranging a scenic flight from Maun International Airport to your safari starting point. The recommendation would
be for a physically disabled person to fly rather than drive as the flight is shorter and more comfortable allowing you to start your safari with pleasure and in style.

If a traveller in your group has a mental disability then the choice is yours of how you wish to begin your adventure. Should you fly, the Semunyeni guides welcome you with warm smiles at the local airstrip where we will assist you with your luggage and to disembark. The physically disabled traveller has an upfront designated seat right next to the guide in the front of the cruiser. This seat provides the most stability, comfort and has the easiest access to get on and off the vehicle.

All your equipment and luggage will be safely stowed away. Sit back, relax and enjoy your very first game drive as you head your first camp.
At camp, whether you flew in or braved the adventure by road transfer, your ears will hum with sound as the staff welcome you with a short and sweet song. The staff lend a helping hand and gather your luggage to take to your glammed-out luxury tent. Access around camp, depending on the physical disability, is relatively easy with a walker, cane or crutch.

Depending on the information provided in your original enquiry regarding the ease of your movements, there will be a temporary walkway constructed to provide more support and a harder surface for you to move around camp, particularly for wheelchairs. Welcome to your
first 4×4 experience in your wheelchair!

The staff help you to your tent and give you a short briefing regarding your itinerary, the camp rules and basics of Semunyeni at the dining tent and then the evening is yours to unpack, settle in and explore your home for the next few days. There is space around the bed in the tent
for you to access the bathroom with ease and in a safe environment.

The bathroom has a vanity table fitted with a sink, soap dispensers, spare towels and a thermal water jug, there is a flushable toilet with biodegradable, organic chemicals used to maintain hygiene, the toilet has a wooden frame built around it to help you move from your wheelchair
to the toilet itself. The bucket shower situated at the back of the bathroom area where there is teak-wooden shower base fitted with a shower chair to ease the strain on your body.

Having someone in your group who you are comfortable with to assist you will make life on safari and around camp easier and more comforting.
As you have booked a private safari, the choices are all up to you to ensure that you came on safari to relax and unwind and not put any unnecessary stress on you or on your group. The game drives take place in the morning and in the late afternoon stretching into the evening.

There will always be two staff on the vehicle to help any way possible and for safety reasons.

AWARENESS NOTE

Semunyeni is able to accommodate most disabilities as long as all the information about the traveller is provided upfront so the Semunyeni Team can prepare to the best of our ability. It is also important to note that we can accommodate groups that involve a disabled traveller but
we are not able to accommodate disability specific groups.

Should all the members of your group be disabled, we will do our best to find a company or lodging facility who can assist you. Lastly, the most important factor for us is that you arrive with a positive attitude that is ready to overcome the challenges that present themselves and that you focus on the beauty and wild experience our destinations offer you. We will always try our best to make your trip into an incredible experience, but remember it is not always perfect. Even with all the precautionary steps taken, there is often something unintentionally overlooked.

All terms and conditions apply. We also require all groups who wish to travel with a disabled person to be a PRIVATELY booked safari for everyone’s safety and comfort.

a Typical day on safari

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