In August we attended the Cape Whale Coast Mini Indaba held at Arabella Hotel and Spa, listening to key people in the area enlighten delegates as to the area’s diverse tourism offerings, and dispelling the common misconception that the whale coast is all about whales… and sharks. On day 2, as attendees dispersed into groups to head out to discover the various regions of the whale coast – Hermanus, Stanford, Gansbaai and Kleinmond – we set off with our guide, Tania, of Percy’s Tours to explore the Kleinmond and Betty’s Bay area. We were delighted with two of our visits for the day turning out to be exciting wheelchair accessible attractions that we have since pencilled into our calendar of future outings for the children of Warrior On Wheels Foundation, and we are making arrangements for our return visit.
STONY POINT PENGUIN COLONY
We arrived to a moody ocean and were engulfed by the charged tranquility that only the salty sea air and gently lapping waves creates. Penguins here, penguins there, penguins everywhere! On the beach, in gardens, under cars and on the rocks. There is no straining of the eyes to catch a glimpse of Betty’s Bay’s seaside residents at the Stony Point Nature Reserve. A wooden boardwalk provides easy access for wheelchair users to meander between the nesting penguins on one side and the rocky shoreline on the other. Information boards offer information for parents to satisfy the curious questions from inquiring little minds as they spot fluffy penguin chicks and other inhabitants such as the hyrax (or “dassie”), various seagulls and other sea birds.
Entrance Fee: Adults R20, Children R10
Operating hours: 08:00 – 17:00 (last permits issued at 16:30, gates close at 17:00 sharp)
Reserve office phone number: +27 (0) 28 272 9829
HAROLD PORTER BOTANICAL GARDENS
I’ve discovered there is a word for people like me: “Nemophilist – one who is fond of the forest; a haunter of the woods” As a parent of a child with a physical disability, there are only so many forest walks that can be managed with a child in a backpack, so to discover a forest trail – to a waterfall (double exclamation mark) – that is wheelchair accessible, was beyond magical! We were enjoying the easily wheelchair accessible pathways of the botanical gardens, admiring the majestic mountain backdrop and abundant plant life, when our host for the day, Delicia, asked if we wanted to try the forest walk – what a surprise for our day! After a gentle stroll through the canopy of trees a boardwalk makes the rest of the path to the waterfall accessible for wheelchair users. On our return walk, we met a troop of baboons playing on the grass, so we detoured along a different path to allow them their space.
Entrance Fees: Adult (18-59 years): R22.00, Seniors (60 years plus): R12.00, Student (with valid card): R12.00, Learners: R8.00, Children under 6 years: Free
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri: 08h00-16h30, Weekends & Public Holidays: 08h00-17h00
Contact telephone: +27(0)28 272 9311
These two fantastic finds offer ample entertainment for a day outing for families and make it possible for differently-abled children to participate comfortably in their wheelchairs. After a day of exploring the beach and gardens, The Red Disa Restaurant withing the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens offers delicious refreshments and treats. So two stops is all it requires for a full day of family fun in Betty’s Bay.