Although my familiarity with Africa is nowhere near that of Europe, Asia or North America, my research and experience suggests that Cape Town may have the most wheelchair accessible sidewalks on the continent. Very few cities are exceptional in this regard, but Cape Town earns a solid 4-out-of-5 in my rating of sidewalk accessibility. It is a very “rollable” city.
Curb cuts, curb ramps, sidewalk ramps—whatever you call them—are standard features of footpaths in Cape Town. While there are always exceptions, you will find accessible sidewalks in most developed areas throughout the city.
Older areas of the city like District Six do have sidewalks without curb ramps, or curb ramps that are especially steep. This is a result of the limited economic investment in the neighborhood. Some primarily residential communities also lack these standard features, but these areas are typically outside of the typical routes a tourist would take.
Marked crosswalks are also common. In high traffic areas, crosswalk signals stop vehicles and alert pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street or intersection.
The V&A Waterfront area is a large pedestrian-only zone that is free of cars. With so many attractions surrounding the waterfront, you could easily spend an entire day there without crossing a single active roadway.
The waterfront area is mostly flat, but elevation changes become more common as you move inland. Although I never encountered any incredibly steep streets in rolling through the city, I do use a power wheelchair.
The paving materials used on sidewalks varied widely – brick and cement were the most common surfaces, but there were also sidewalks made of asphalt and cobblestone. In general, though, sidewalks were smooth an easy to roll on, with manhole covers and occasional bumpy patches spread throughout.
There is surely work to be done in certain areas, but as a tourist rolling the sidewalks of Cape Town, I was content with the condition and availability of accessible walkways.