In August 2014, following several visits to various consultants and an MRI scan, I was diagnosed with CPD.
My wife Clare had been making enquiries about holidays and top of her ‘bucket list’ was a safari holiday, she commented that she would not be doing this on her own and, after much research, booked a trip in northern South Africa.
In March 2015 we flew overnight to Johannesburg and then stayed in at four different safari lodges for three nights at each, the last being in the Kruger National Park.
At each location we had our own lodge, with veranda (one with a spa pool). Most days started with an early morning game drive before breakfast and drives till about 10am when we returned to the lodges or other locations for breakfast. Other trips took place during the days with further game drives in the afternoons and early evenings. On several late afternoon trips we stopped in the bush with the driver producing sundowners and snacks which we had as the sun set.
Despite my reservations at the start, the trip was everything we wanted. We saw, at close range, every type of wild animal you could wish for; including lions, leopards, rhinoceros, water buffalos, giraffe, zebras and all the different antelopes and gazelles. We will remember forever a herd of about 20 elephants passing either side of the vehicle within touching distance, a leopard in the branches of a tree eating its prey and watching a pack of African wild dogs harrying zebras.
Game drives were in open 4x4s which provided great views and, providing you are reasonably able to climb two steps, access was easy and help was provided. Although we did some walking over rough ground I was able to cope with this and the ability to walk distances was not essential. Travel between lodges was in a minibus (and trailer for the luggage).
The holiday was all inclusive and included collection from, and return to home from Heathrow. This made life a lot easier, particularly as we live in South Somerset, and saved us any problems. We were a group of six and were met at Johannesburg and were accompanied by a guide the whole time. The overnight flights meant there was no jet-lag.
I found a one-off insurance cover for both my wife and I, with my CBD and other conditions, for £250.
I would like to say that not everyone is as fit as I am but make the most of what you can do. Holiday insurance is available but problems can arise if you are awaiting specific tests or treatment. It’s best to wait until you have the results before applying for cover.
If you need any information on travel companies, the trip etc please contact me via PSPA.
Also, some while ago my consultant recommended Tai Chi for his patients and I have been attending classes in the village on a regular basis. This helps considerably with balance and eye-limb coordination.
You can even take part sitting down or using a chair for support. This combined with assistance from our local Parkinson’s Physiotherapy Department and other treatment has resulted in a slow progression of my condition. I would recommend Tai Chi to any who can manage it.
All the best travelling!