Lonely Planet Writer

Cape Town unveils its first outdoor park designed for people with vision impairments

Cape Town has unveiled its first outdoor park specially built for people with vision impairments.

Students testing out Cape Town's newest park.
Students testing out Cape Town’s newest park. Image by City of Cape Town

The new Cape Town park is suitable for everybody, but the city added special features to make it a more sensory experience. There is a scented garden filled with plants like lavender, wild garlic and rosemary to release a fragrance when people pass by. There are also many low-seated walls which provide an echo to aid with navigation by sound, as well as dropped kerbs and tactile paving. There are extensive mosaic murals all over the park depicting different stories about nature. The tactile art will allow people with vision impairments to follow the stories with their fingers.

These tactile mosaics are all over the Cape Town park.
These tactile mosaics are all over the Cape Town park. Image by City of Cape Town.

Cape Town councillor, Brett Herron, said “all children can play in the park. However, what makes this playground different is that … we have designed the park with special needs in mind, and with the intention of giving these children the opportunity to interact with other children who are not visually impaired.” The park is in Bellville in the greater Cape Town area and is within walking distance of the Athlone School for the Blind. The school had lots of input into the park, along with mobility experts and councillors. Students visited the park in the last few days to give the features a test-run.

Students from the nearby school for the blind give the park a test run.
Students from the nearby school for the blind give the park a test run. Image by City of Cape Town

“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,” said Councillor Herron.