Mind’s Eye Travel
Enriching the lives of people who are visually impaired or blind
Our Upcoming Trips
Sue Bramhall launched Mind’s Eye Travel in 2008 in order to address a challenge she was facing herself: Her RP (retinitis pigmentosa) had advanced to the point where she could no longer travel independently and comfortably. Her love of travel prompted her to create a service for visually impaired people like herself. The service includes experienced sighted guides who accompany each tour as needed.
The Mind's Eye Travel Experience
Sighted people often wonder what enjoyment we get from travel if we “can’t see anything.” This article explains it very well. It first appeared in 2017 on afar.com, where it won a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Since our African Safari has proven to be so popular, we thought you might like to read it also. In Namibia we will experience the same animals and the same kind of “trophies of sound” that the author encountered in Zimbabwe.
A Blind Man’s Trip Will Change the Way You Think About Safaris
A visually impaired traveler journeys through the wilds of Zimbabwe and discovers a side of the safari experience that very few know.
As our Land Cruiser nosed through the brush, cicadas buzzed above us like power lines. My wife and I had been in Zimbabwe only a few hours. So far, our guide on our first safari drive, Alan, had already spotted several species of fleet antelope, and I was already concerned that for me—as a blind man—yes, this was going to kind of suck. I might as well be at a drive-in movie.
Here, you try: Close your eyes. Over there is a kudu, whatever a kudu is.
Welcome to a blind safari.
Dharmesh, the driver, stopped the vehicle. Alan suggested in his lovely baritone voice that we step out and stretch our legs on the dusty path and have a drink, or “sundowner.” Robert, our animal tracker, dismounted from his seat on the vehicle’s grille to pass around beer and snacks. In the distance, apparently, a giraffe could be seen slipping into the trees. Tracy, my wife, watched quietly as Alan began his work, describing the animal and its behavior and its place in the ecosystem of the locale, the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve.
My can of lager, because I could taste it, was more real to me than a giraffe.
How a blind man can be guided, how I might connect with unseen sights in an unseen place, would be Alan’s challenge for the next seven days. A few years earlier, he had guided his first blind client through a game reserve on the western boundary of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The experience had radically enriched his approach.
“Whether you’re sighted or not, the bush is overwhelming and confusing when you first arrive. It’s an onslaught of stimuli,” Alan told me. “But guiding a blind person helped me realize the significance, the depth, of our other senses. I could use them to enhance my voice as a guide. A taste, a sound, touching or holding something, these slow everything down to a different focus.”
Read the rest of the article at the 'experience' page found in our site menu
or by using the button located immediately below this notice.
Until further notice Mind's Eye Travel clients and guides must be fully vaccinated
(including booster shots) against COVID-19.