Touch and Feel: Braille Trails of South Africa
Courtesy of Sertorio Mshothola, Director, Ntwanano Tours & Travel
From the beloved Kruger National Park to the historic Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town, there a variety of Braille trails in South African where visually-impaired and unsighted people can engage with the wonders of nature in a sensory and sensual way.
The area around Berg-en-Dal camp in the southern Kruger National Park (KNP) supports one of the greatest floral diversities in the park. This is because of the high rainfall and geological habitat, and here there are trees that occur nowhere else. The touch and feel Braille Trail with guide ropes and Braille signboards goes around the edges of Berg-en-Dal, and unsighted visitors can enjoy this unique floral diversity. As part of their Botanical Bliss tour, Ntwanano Tours & Travel offers customised tours to the Braille Trail at Berg-en-Dal, and an indigenous muti or medicinal garden at Skukuza camp, also in the southern parts of the park, as well as a variety of nurseries on the outskirts of the KNP.
In the Karoo National Park in the Eastern Cape, there is a 400-metre long Fossil Braille Trail that is designed to take visitors back in time some 225 million years to when the first complex ecosystems occurred on land. This was the Late Permian Period, long before the dinosaurs, when herbivores, lizard-like insect-eaters and sabre-toothed super-predators roamed the Great Karoo.
There is a Braille Trail at Mossel Bay Botanical Garden in Mossel Bay, a coastal town along the Cape Garden Route. Here unsighted people can immerse themselves in the world of plants – particularly fynbos – used for centuries by the San, Khoi, Coloured, Xhosa and European people for shelter, food and medicinal uses as well as for magical, ritual and religious purposes.
Kirstenbosch’s Braille Trail is one of the country’s most popular, and also features a fragrance garden where visitors can touch, feel and smell. Established in 1895, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is the oldest and largest in South Africa and one of the Seven Magnificent Gardens of the World.
Sertorio M Mshothola, Director, Ntwanano Tours & Travel
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