What about handicapped travelers in Ethiopia?

We don’t think that Ethiopia is a handicapped-friendly travel destination.

But with that being said below are excerpts from an article written by Gordon Rattray (a wheelchair bound traveler), about his 2003 journey to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia in a Wheelchair By Gordon Rattray

Potholes and fat backside

“But not surprisingly, [Ethiopia] doesn’t rank up there with Australia or Sweden as far as accessibility goes.

There are no flat-floored buses running through downtown Addis Ababa, no shiny clean toilets with easy-grab handles and no ‘blue badge’ parking scheme.

In fact, diddlysquat comes to mind when thinking of the number of wheelchair friendly features in Ethiopia.

Pavements are treacherous, roads are rarely tar-sealed [smooth and paved] and to avoid flooding during tropical rainstorms, most buildings are at least two steps up from street level.

We found one purpose-built accessible toilet – in the international airport – and our ‘least accessible toilet’ prize goes to the Lido hotel in Addis, which had a doorway that would probably have been too narrow for my backside even without the wheelchair!”

Gordon seems to have planned ahead and hired two Ethiopian personal assistants in addition to a tour driver and local guide…

Personal Assistants

“Neither of the assistants had experience of this type of work, but despite that, they both quickly got used to my grumpy ways and actually seemed to quite enjoy it!

Dessie was eighteen and had just finished high school in Gondar. He was trying to find work as a waiter and whenever he could, he’d follow Arsenal on one of Gondar’s relatively new satellite TV links in a local café.

If Dessie was fit and strong when we arrived then he was a whole lot fitter and stronger when we left, after a week of pushing me up and down the hills of Gondar.”

In Ethiopia with a Wheelchair

“The final thoughts from our holiday were that no matter how ‘poor’ the country, practically anything is possible. In fact, the more we attempted to do, the more we saw the best in African improvisation.

Manpower and innovation were often needed for lifting through stone doorways and up steps, but when we tried to reach the Blue Nile Falls, where this massive river plunges 150 feet over an escarpment, extra measures were called for.

In order to cross the ‘bush and boulder field’ en route to the waterfall, I was thrown shoulder-high on a couple of wooden poles and carried down like the Scottish preacher David Livingstone.

I’m sure that’s not what’s meant by ‘missionary position’ but it certainly was the most comfortable way of getting there!”

So if you are handicapped and want to travel and experience the wonders of Ethiopia, then we can help you. Just call 984-202-5958 or click here to schedule a free 30 minute planning session with us.