Accessible Garden Route?

Destination Garden Route accessible for Warrior on Wheels at Knysna Cycle Tour
“I am glad we could help, although I’m not too sure what we did other than bringing you in contact with the organizers.” That’s what I said to Deirdre Amy Gower, main lady behind the Warrior on Wheels Foundation and mother of Damian. Together with Nura and Jay-Jay and their teams of cyclists and support they participated in the Knysna Cycle Tour last weekend. Damian, Nura and Jay-Jay are kids, normally in wheelchairs, but at the cycle tour in buggies behind their riders, and with support from friends and family.  

Knysna Cycle Tour

Her response was that we made a dream come true. A dream she had for seven years already, to do the Knysna Cycle Tour – one of the main events of the annual Knysna Oyster Festival – with differently-abled kids in buggies behind their bicycles.   When assisting her initially we did some research about accessible accommodation on the Garden Route and it was encouraging to see how certain establishments have adjusted to accommodate this type of traveller.  Travellers who need brackets to pull themselves up to be able to use the bathroom, or a ramp to get into the restaurant, or just some extra space in the bedroom to freely move around with a wheelchair.  

Accessible South Africa

By being on the bike and going on all sorts of adventures with other parents and their fully- and otherwise-abled kids, Deirdre and Damian have become big ambassadors for accessible travel. To the extend that Accessible South Africa is another one of Deirdre’s achievements. It provides info about accessibility of tourist facilities, currently focused on the Western Cape. And while there are a few Garden Route establishments on there, there could be more on there.   And may be there should be more on there! If only because at next year’s cycle tour there will be more buggy teams participating, bringing more people with special needs to the Garden Route.   Photo credit: ELLE PHOTO