Jo’burg Zoo has long been Gauteng’s most popular destination. Now People With Disabilities can enjoy a leisurely roll amongst the animals without having to bribe their fittest relatives to push them around the 5 kilometres of Lions and Tigers and Bears! (Oh my!)
Prema Naidoo handed over 10 electric wheelchairs on behalf of the City of Johannesburg Environmental Management Department at the Zoo's Conference centre in February, boosting the Zoo’s total number of wheelchairs to 12.
Zoo manager of education, Deona Brough, spoke of the number of schools who visit the zoo and felt that the wheelchairs would not only make the experience more pleasurable for kiddies with mobility impairments but also reduce their dependency on teachers and care givers.
Mr Naidoo initiated the project and is passionate about it, "It is important to note that our zoo now not only caters for such needs but, due to these new wheelchairs, will ensure that anyone who has a need for a wheelchair will be transported in the latest and most comfortable ones on the market."
Zoo CEO, Stephen van der Spuy said "It is part of the zoo's plan to break the half-a-million mark this year, in terms of visitors, and this will only be done if everyone is able to access the zoo."
The chairs have nice fat takkies so visitors can go off the beaten path and get up close to enclosures and exhibits. They are also tilt and recline adjustable with variable foot elevation and include seat belts and drink holders for long, hot and dusty Highveld days.
And after all those drinks you are going to need the Loo! Wheelchair friendly bathroom facilities can be found at the Childrens Farmyard (2), the Tiger Enclosure, the Old Elephant House and up at the Crocodiles. The closest one to the Restaurant is at the Meerkats / Education Centre,
The wheelchairs will be at the Zoo entrances and are allocated on a first come first served basis. Speak to the cashier at the entrance. Hiring a chair will cost you R100 which is fully refundable upon the return of the chair in good condition. You can also lock your own chair up in the buggy room, for safe keeping, until you return.