CapeTownMagazine.com

Cape Town’s First Outdoor Blind-Friendly Park in Bellville

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Cape Town’s First Outdoor Blind-Friendly Park in Bellville

A new Northern Suburbs playground specifically designed for children and community members with limited or no vision

Mother City residents – especially those living within the Northern Suburbs region – will be happy to know that the City of Cape Town and Transport for Cape Town (TCT) have finally (we’ve been excited for months waiting for the public announcement) unveiled an all-new inspiring and very much-needed – not to mention, first-ever – addition to our pretty metropolitan: Cape Town’s first Outdoor Blind-Friendly Park.

Located in Bellville (between Berol Street and Beroma Crescent) – and within walking distance of the Athlone School for the Blind – the play area has been in the making for the last five months and was officially opened to community members on Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

Headed by the TCT, it was stated that the city’s transport authority used approximately R1.1 million (that was left over from its budget for non-motorised transport) to transform the once sandy square of land into an inviting and safe playground and environment for the visually impaired and visually abled children and residents of Bellville.

“If you drive around the area you would see that we have upgraded all of the sidewalks with special-needs pedestrians in mind – there are tactile paving and dropped curbs.  After doing such, we had some budget leftover and after engaging with the Athlone School for the Blind they identified that they needed a play area,” explains the city’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.

In essence, the TCT’s non-motorised transport programme is aimed at improving pedestrian facilities throughout the city. The new park has therefore been specifically fitted with universal access – as mentioned, dropped curbs proving easy access to the area and tactile paving for mobility and safety – along both the roads therefore making it a lot easier for members with limited eyesight to enter the grounds.

“We saw this empty space and decided to create this park as part of the project,” Councillor Herron continues. “All the sidewalks lead the children here [a path of special tactile pavers connects the school to the park] and now they can play.”

A first for Cape Town, the new alfresco playground and area is open to all community members, however, what makes this space so different (and incredibly special) is that the city has specifically designed the park with special needs in mind and with the intention of giving such individuals the opportunity to interact and engage with others who are visually abled. Although the park uses the same elements – swings, slides, jungle gyms and more – one would find in any other park in the city, each feature has been implemented in such a way that residents with little or no vision can easily find their way between the various play areas.

The park has been divided into smaller closed-off play areas where low-seating walls, cutting across the grounds, have been added to help assist with acoustic way-finding. The sounds of feet walking reverberate off the walls and the echoes enable one to determine their location through hearing. Along the seating walls, an extensive relief mural has also been installed.

Curated by Lovell Friedman, who works within communities designing murals for parks, libraries and hospitals as well as conducts workshops for its members, each mural tells a different story. The educational tales include how a seedpod travels by wind and with the help of birds to the place where it will sprout and grow as well as the story of the worker bees and how they build hives and care for their queen.

“All of the stories are depicted by mosaic designs [some of the Athlone School children were involved with the making of the clay designs and moulds], those with impaired sight can feel and following the walls ‘reading’ the various stories,” explains Lovell. “It is truly a labour of love.”

The outdoor playground comprises a variety of unique paving materials which helps to guide visually impaired children to the various areas. Such spaces include a fenced-off zone with asphalt humps ideal for small bikes and scooters, an enclosed rubber matted-space (to help stimulate balance, encourage mobility, build confidence and improve muscle tone) comprising a wooden jungle gym complete with a slide, ropes and bridge, two swing sets, a see-saw and monkey-bars as well as a fenced games court space with seating walls.

Opposite the games court there are also beautiful large shady trees as well as a lawn area ideal for picnics and informal games. What’s more, to assist with navigation, a scented garden with indigenous plants such as lavender, wild garlic and rosemary has also been planted along the park’s border of Beroma. Once the garden has developed, this area will help stimulate an individual’s smell organ as a beautiful fragrance will be released when they brush passed the various plants and bushes.

“We were told small interventions make the world’s difference for those without eyesight when they have to move around in outdoor spaces. We have tried to transform this open space and we are very proud of what we have achieved. I am confident that it will be used and enjoyed by all of the children from the local community,” concludes Councillor Herron.

NOTE: All children and community members – the visually impaired and visually able – can play and use the park.

Tip: When visiting the park, take your time to view the beautiful murals found on the walls surrounded the play area. Each mural tells a different story that can be read by all by following the mosaic- and tactile art with your fingers.

The Bill:  FREE. There is no charge to use the outdoor play area and park.

Opening Hours: Daily

Between Berol Street and Beroma Crescent | Bellville | Cape Town

by Krysia Gaweda

Image Credit: Josh Oates

Video Credit: Josh Oates

---

ABOUT #CapeTownMagNew:

#CapeTownMagNew is a long-standing project that is dedicated to discovering exciting new places in and around our pretty city.  We tell their stories, find out what they offer, and delve into what makes them unique. From cafés and restaurants to trampoline parks and dog hotels, there is always one new place in the city that we uncover each week. You can follow #CapeTownMagNew on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter to track recent features or read more here about more Hot Spots and New Restaurants in Cape Town and Surrounds.

DISCOVER OTHER EXCITING NEW SPOTS IN THE CITY: 

Kuyasa Regional Library in Khayelitsha

Outdoor Ice Skate Rink at the Blue Train Adventure Park

---

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smartphone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City.

Cape Town Events Calendar
March 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

kaskaziBoost Your Week With A Hump Day Kayak ...

The chance to see ocean and bird life at sunrise and get to work on time

jeanlucs_4Share a Tasting Plate and a Bottle of ...

A hidden gem on Orphan street: Small and intimate bistro-style eatery with extra-special ...

March Overview 2018 - Free Jazz ConcertWATCH (videos) Full Line-Up of Cape ...

From RnB to Jazz to funky pop. See Shekhinah, Craig Lucas and the lead singer of ...

cocosafar_steak1From Rib Eye To Vegetarian – Here Are ...

Gourmet burgers and steak, as well as cocktails, are now on the menu at this all-day cafe ...

jackson_hallWatch New Local Music Talent At Grand ...

Catch B Charles Experience, Chasing Time and DJs performing RnB, pop, jazz, funk, Motown ...

Nom Nom_New1Something New: Invent Your Own Gin at ...

All-new DIY gin bar, double your wine every Wednesday, PLUS: an all-new menu to share

La Paris_Deli2Wednesday Delights at La Paris Deli in ...

A bakery and bistro experience at one of the most beautiful winelands wedding venues, now ...

cartelcafe6Lunch Sorted: A Midweek Buffet At The ...

Fill up your plate and tuck into a tasty lunch spread every Wednesday and Thursday: From ...

two_oceans_aquariumMake Memorable Moments at Cape Town’s ...

Throw a party unlike any other at the Mother City’s underwater wonderland

knife barMai Tais To Margaritas At Discounted ...

Jugs of Jack Black lager included

Comedyclub_new11End Hump Day With a Laugh At The ...

Share the experience at Cape Town Comedy Club in the Waterfront’s Pumphouse every ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

High Five SUP 3Stand Up Paddle Surfing Group Lesson ...

Learn to SUP for less thanks to High Five Kitesurf school

Rotterdam_EventGirlsGin2Ultimate Bachelorette Party: The Girls ...

Three days of gin pairings, massages and pool parties on a private guest farm in ...

Galileo_LourenGet Comfy at Kirstenbosch Movie Nights ...

Great films, fabulous scenery, delicious food and cosy seats – look forward to a night ...

HaskellVineyards 6Save On A Meal and Wine For Two At This ...

Haskell Vineyards offers patrons a delicious meal and glass of wine at a discounted price

glam_barBeauty Special: Gelish or Shellac Nails ...

Book via Whatsapp: Workday-perfect nail treatments with free rinse and discounts on all ...

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

theatre and film costume hire25% Off Hollywood-Calibre Costume ...

Wednesdays only: Gorgeous vintage cocktail dresses to realistic historical costumes for ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

Strolla New 1Half-Price Rotisserie Chicken (And Live ...

Here’s your chance to sip Corona on the Sunset Deck in shorts and slops (while the kids ...

house of hLook Who's Serving a R50 Lunch Special ...

Loved by locals, House of H now does delicious new lunch specials – from boerie rolls ...

Park Inn_RGB_ItalianDinnerSpecial5All-You-Can-Eat Italian Dinner Special ...

Made fresh right in front of you, with your choice of sauces and toppings – this is one ...

Jack Black Burger Winter SpecialGet Two Burgers for the Price of One ...

Grab your growler and bring a friend for burgers and beer at the Diep River taproom

Leopard's Leap Harvest Table 1Savour the Lekker in What's Local at ...

Discover South Africa through its flavours and traditions at a family-table event ...

Cartel House CoffeeSave on Co-Work Desk on Wednesdays And ...

Secure your desk at this excellent co-working space provider in Cape Town on Wednesdays ...

Just Like Papa 1Just Like Papa: The Ultimate Place to ...

Finally, there’s a place in Cape Town where you can get exceptional home, camping, ...

lou lousBottomless Wine With Your Meal on ...

Head to this classy restaurant and tapas bar in the Cape Quarter for a winter wine ...

Le Bonheur 12Get a 20% Discount on Accommodation at ...

Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures offers patrons a 20% discount when they stay at this ...

Beluga Images 22-for-1 Whisky Wednesdays at Beluga

Your midweek escape just got a whole lot better with the 2-for-1 Wednesday special at ...

Stellenbosch Street SoireesStellenbosch Street Soirees

Wine, dine and soak up the summertime vibes with an impromptu food and vino festival in ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

art_scienceDirty Art, Messy Science and An ...

Artist Natasja de Wet brings her recycled goods art exhibition to a pathology learning ...

cloud 9 rooftop bar table mountain 2Happy Hour Special at Cloud 9 Rooftop ...

Celebrate the midweek mark with discounted cocktails, 2-for-1 local craft beers and ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.