Fearless on Four Wheels: Travelling through Africa with a wheelchair in tow

2018-07-10 13:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Woman and man in wheelchair standing next to a 4x4

Kareen and Louis Broodryk will be travelling through Africa for a year with a wheelchair in tow. (Photo: Fearless on Four Wheels)

Travelling through Africa for a year is not an easy task, but when you have limited mobility and a wheelchair in tow, your amount of challenges just doubled.

This however did not put off Louis Broodryk - a wheel-bound Capetonian who refuses to let his situation stop him from seeing the world with his wife Kareen.

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For the last 15 years they have been conquering travel hurdles that come when wheelchair access is limited, and have backpacked in Peru, Bolivia, Japan, Thailand, Australia and Vietnam, and in Africa have taken on road trips through Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi with a little Renault Kangoo delivery van before upgrading to a Volkswagen Caddy.

"Getting accommodation that is wheelchair accessible is always the biggest challenge. People's unfamiliarity with a person travelling in a wheelchair always calls for a different approach. Especially persuading people that Louis can take part in activities like scuba diving, horseback riding and driving a quad bike," says Kareen.

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While on their travels, they decided to swop their work lives for long-term overlanding, and decided to do some good along the way. They started Fearless on Four Wheels, a travel diary that also serves as a charity organisation. From the start of July, they will embark on their year-long quest to traverse the whole of Africa, although they have no end destination in mind.

Woman and man in wheelchair standing next to a 4x4
Kareen and Louis Broodryk standing next to their 4x4 vehicle. (Photo: Fearless on Four Wheels)

The fundraising they will do along the way will go towards distributing washable sanitary pads to schoolgirls with Subz Pads, screen eco-movies about making money from recycling and print out pictures for families who do not have access to a printer or camera.

The overland trip will be done with a Toyota Hilux D4D - nicknamed Ufudu which means 'tortoise' in Zulu - kitted out with solar panels, a pop-up tent and a hand control driving and unload system so that Louis can drive by himself, as well as get in and out of the car without assistance. Louis also learned how to give the car a service at a mechanic in case anything breaks down on the road.

"As we take on our trip through Africa, we hope you'll come along for the ride as we show you that people with disabilities can travel independently," says Louis. 

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The trip will start in Namibia's Skeleton Coast, through to Botswana's Okavango Delta and then Angola, without any agenda set up.

"The idea is to travel slowly through Africa, stop anywhere, and experience all the people and cultures."

If you want to follow them on their journey, follow their social media pages or track them on this nifty map

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