Wheelchair Friendly Beaches in Durban

The Need For Wheelchair friendly Beaches in Durban has started a “Pay it Forward” Viral Campaign!! Durban has been blessed with warm water, robust waves and seemingly endless stretches of sandy beaches. Anyone can understand why Durban is everyone’s favourite seaside playground. People from all around the world flock to our beaches to enjoy the Golden […]

wheelchairbeachmat

The Need For Wheelchair friendly Beaches in Durban has started a “Pay it Forward” Viral Campaign!!

Durban has been blessed with warm water, robust waves and seemingly endless stretches of sandy beaches. Anyone can understand why Durban is everyone’s favourite seaside playground. People from all around the world flock to our beaches to enjoy the Golden Mile. But what about those thousands of people in wheelchairs?

So instead of posting pictures of our beautiful beaches, we decided to post something a little different on I Love Durban yesterday, and something VERY interesting happened. We posted a picture of a wheelchair friendly ramp on a beach (see below) on our Instagram profile and it started a viral campaign. Now, we don’t know where this picture was taken, but the response from people on Instagram for this facility has been overwhelming.

The Picture of the wheelchair friendly ramp that was posted on the I Love Durban Instagram Account
The Picture of the wheelchair friendly ramp that was posted on the I Love Durban Instagram Account

The image got 454 likes and 20 comments. Some of the comments were made by people in wheelchairs who thought that this is a brilliant idea.

Ashveer Singh who is in a wheelchair said: “I’m in a wheelchair and that would make visits to the beach awesome”

Kylie said “This would be amazing! My dad is in a wheelchair and grew up by the ocean but hasn’t been able to go onto the beach because there are no facilities. This is an awesome idea. How do we get it started?”

We have been inundated with support and even had some Instagram followers pledging money and wanting to deposit it into accounts to get this wheelchair project started!!

Wheelchair Access Mats - New York City Parks
Wheelchair Access Mats – New York City Parks – Source and Credit: nycparks.org

So we decided to do some investigating.

According to the 2011 General Household Survey, of the total of 45 345 000 South Africans aged 5 years and older who reported some degree of impairment or difficulty with carrying out activities, 83 000 used wheelchairs.

Unfortunately, other than being able to enjoy a stroll on the pavement, wheelchair users very rarely get the opportunity to feel the sand between their toes or the waves breaking at their feet.

Until the invention of these access matting for wheelchair users.

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Wheelchair Access Mats – New York City Parks – Source and Credit: nycparks.org

 

These access mats are flexible sand surface reinforcements for wheelchair beach access. Beach access matting reinforcement mesh can be used in temporary or permanent recreation beach access uses. The plastic mesh structure has been oscillated which provides a slip-resistant surface that is rigid, while allowing the flexibility in the mesh to contour the rolling sand or stone surface beneath. This environmentally friendly, slip resistant product is easily installed and removed.

Now we are currently trying to get in touch with Ethekweni Municiplaty to check on the viability of this project. Surely this would be a great asset not only to our locals, but could prove a major selling point for tourists as well.

However, our friends in wheelchairs need not worry, they too can still experience the magic of out beaches!

The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), through the kind sponsorship from Approved Auto and the Rotary Club of Kloof has placed 3 “beach wheelchairs” at Durban’s beachfront.

The beach going wheelchairs allow persons with mobility impairment the opportunity to be pushed easily over beach sand down to the waters edge and in calm conditions, with no shore break, one can float safely on the water. The chairs are located at uShaka Surf & Adventures (South Beach) and at the granny pools at South Beach and there is no charge for their use.

Contact: Alan 0848239470 (uShaka).

We are determined to get these access mats for wheelchairs on one of out Durban beaches. As far as we know, there aren’t any of these in South Africa. If you have any input, comments or suggestions about how we can get these wheelchair matting, we would love to hear about it in the comments below.