Meet the Team

The Accessible South Africa team came together through our mutual wanderlust and desire to improve the opportunities for disabled travel in South Africa. We all share a love exploring new landscapes and experiencing interesting places, as well as the challenges of overcoming the accessibility hurdles of our respective disabilities. 

We are available to collaborate with brands to provide support on the journey towards becoming the universally accessible destination of choice. Service offerings include assessment visits, attendance at product launches and events, social media collaborations, travel blogging, and reviews. Kindly send us a message to enquire about our availability and to discuss partnerships.

Deirdré Gower

Deirdré wears a few hats, most of which bear the South African outdoors on their brim. She is the co-founder of Warrior On Wheels Foundation, an NPO focused on giving children with disabilities a variety of adventure experiences while forging partnerships in the tourism industry to promote accessibility for all.  Deirdré is also a horse trail guide in a 240ha wildlife sanctuary, a website designer, blogger and traveller.

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Damian Gower

Damian is 19 years old and has Spastic Quadriplegia. He is an adventurer at heart and has experienced many activities such as ziplining, river rafting, horse riding, helicopter rides, boat cruises, sidecar bike trips and has participated in the Cape Town Cycle Tour 5 times. He uses a motorised wheelchair for mobility as well as an iPad with a communication app for basic speech.

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Briony Chisholm

Briony has been quadriplegic for over 20 years, since a car accident on the way home from finishing her Pharmacy degree at Rhodes University. She now lives in Cape Town and juggles a number of hats: writer, pharmacist, traveller and blogger. She comes from a family of adventurers who, if ever there's a choice, will take the back roads. She is a Small Town Girl at heart and is happiest on those there back roads exploring new places and meeting new people. 

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Richard & Ella Brusser

Richard is a retired lawyer who is a L1L2 paraplegic since 1973 following a motor vehicle accident. Ella is a midwife and teaches antenatal classes. They love touring within South Africa and Europe and during these excursions, have built up an extensive knowledge of travelling with someone who needs a wheelchair to get around. The need to improve knowledge about places in South Africa that are accessible for people with all disabilities is the major reason why they have become involved with Accessible South Africa.

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Dave Gale

Dave had an accident while doing his National Service in what was then Rhodesia in 1973 resulting in spinal cord injury. He and his wife, Pippa, started travelling together about 6 years ago. Their "vision" is to show people in similar circumstances that it is possible to travel in Africa with a little bit of planning and research. 

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Pippa Gale

Pippa is a nurse who specialised in palliative care. After 12 years, she left St Luke's Hospice and studied Primary Healthcare and worked for The Clothing Industry until she retired. She then spent a few years as a Disease Manager for a medical aid company before retiring again. Having been born in Zimbabwe, she has embraced Dave's dream of blazing a trail through Africa for people who are differently-abled.

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Hilton Purvis & Loretta Jakubiec

Hilton has muscular dystrophy and has been permanently confined to a wheelchair for more than 40 years. We enjoy travelling, friends, food and photography, a perfect combination!  Together we welcome the challenge of exploring our fauna and flora in the national parks and nature reserves, with Loretta having a particularly soft spot for elephants. Our mission is to discover new places, revisit old favourites, and share our experiences.

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Ilana Hermes

Ilana is both blind and deaf, and has hearing with bilateral cochlear implants. She also has slight left hemiplegia due to Congenital Hydrocephalus.

She studied therapeutic reflexology and meridian therapy, as well as Swedish massage.

Ilana has had a long-standing love for horses and enjoys tandem cycling, though currently doesn't have a co-pilot.

Lois Strachan

Lois is a speaker, author, blogger, travel writer, disability advocate, and sometime rock musician who is committed to showing that disability doesn’t mean inability. She lost my sight at the age of 21 when in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of KZN. A week after being declared blind she joined a rock band. Two weeks later Lois returned to university and completed her degree while learning the techniques she’d need to live as a blind person in a sighted world.

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