South Africa Travel Guide for the Over 50s
South Africa is famed for its diverse landscape, incredible wildlife and rich array of activities. From sightseeing in its historical capital, Cape Town, to sipping wine in Stellenbosch, South Africa has much to offer for locals and tourists alike. In addition to its natural beauty and diversity, this country is renowned for its accessibility. Lonely Planet identifies the country as “one of the best destinations on the continent for travellers with disabilities, with an ever-expanding network of facilities catering to those who are mobility or visually impaired.” So, anyone can enjoy the wonders South Africa has to offer. Whether you’re a local looking for a different experience, or you’re new to the country, Stairlifts Athens share their top tips for travellers over-fifty.
Kruger National Park
If a Safari is your idea of fun, you’ll love Kruger national park. Kruger is one of the largest and oldest game reserves in Africa and its Safari tours are unmatched. It is the perfect place to see the famed ‘big five’: lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos. Seeing any of these creatures in the wild will be a breath-taking experience and if you’re lucky enough to see all five, you’ll be over the moon.
As well as wild animal scouting, the Kruger national park is a great place to take in some local culture. Safari tours will teach you a bit about authentic Shangaan traditions, and you can even stay in traditional huts to top off the experience.
One of the fantastic things about visiting Kruger is that you can cater your trip around your own specific needs. There are a wide variety of tours on offer, including classic safaris, luxury tours, honeymoon packages, and family holidays. It isn’t all remote huts; some tours offer luxurious and fully accessible accommodation featuring swimming pools and golf courses. So, whatever your age or your mobility level, there will be a safari package perfectly suited for you.
Most gift shops, restaurants, and lookout points in Kruger are ramped and accessible. Additionally, you can easily find accommodation with accessible features such as ramps and stairlifts. Find a full rundown of these accessible options here.
Cape Winelands — Western Cape
Wine produced in South Africa is renowned around the world. If you’re a wine lover and want to learn more about the different grape varieties and what makes them special, then visit the Cape Winelands. Vineyards can be found just 40km outside of Cape Town, so you’ll only need a day to discover this magical place if you are based in the capital.
The Cape Winelands are made up of small villages, historic towns, and Cape Dutch farmsteads. The landscape is idyllic, with tiny hamlets placed neatly at the foot of towering mountains. It is these mountains, in fact, that make South African wine so special. The unique geological make-up of the soil gives the wine unique character.
To try some wine yourself, the best areas to visit are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Tulbagh, and Wellington. In any of these destinations, you can put your knowledge to the test over wine tasting. You will learn about the origin of each wine’s name, its distinct characteristics, and the importance of its grape variety. All the while you will be taking in an outstanding view and feeling fantastic. Top your experience off with a cheese board, or a meal from one of the many high-quality restaurants.
The vineyards are all reachable by car, so you don’t need to worry about accessibility. In addition, many of the gardens have boardwalks for wheelchair access and brail trails for the visually impaired.
The Garden Route
The Garden route has been deemed by Lonely Planet, “one of the most popular parts of South Africa for visitors both local and international.” It draws in the crowds and we can see why. Stretching 200km along the coastline of the Western Cape, the Garden Route captures stunning panoramas. You can catch glimpses of dense forest, tranquil lakes, and breath-taking beaches all within a short distance from one another — the photos you bring back will be envied by all. If you’re wondering how to get there, one of the closet airports is Port Elizabeth and here’s a great site for getting the cheapest flights to Port Elizabeth.
This scenic route has something to offer for adventure seekers and laid-back travellers alike. Many take the chance to learn to surf at Mossel bay or try out diving, exploring eerie shipwrecks. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more relaxed approach, there will be plenty of opportunities to get onboard a yacht and enjoy a delicious lunch and a glass of wine while taking in the view.
Don’t let the extreme activities put you off. There are plenty of accessible-friendly ways you can enjoy this route. The entire route is easily accessed by car and you’ll have no difficulty finding accessible accommodation if you decide to go slow and take a few days to enjoy the route.
Thanks to South Africa’s diversity, there are endless options and travel opportunities. Any of the above attractions could be perfect for a weekend away — providing a wonderful way to get away from city life. They are also perfect starting points for anyone new to South Africa, who wants to learn more about the unique and wonderous country.