This year’s Paralympic games are being held in London between 29 August and 9 September with twenty disciplines at various venues across London and the southern coastal region (visit our website formore information).

We are certainly primed and eagerly awaiting these games – which will hopefully have even more local television coverage than Beijing! DSTV have intoduced extra HD channels for Olympic coverage and let’s all hope they extend this to the Paralympics too. Visit our Rolling website and Facebook page (or the local the press) closer to the time for programme details.

Should you wish to attend this prestigious event, and see our fabulous South African Paralympians competing in the flesh,you will need the following :

1. A valid Passport– to be valid for at least 6 (six) months after your return date.

2. A UK Tourist visa– from the British High Commission. You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to theUK. We strongly advise you not to confirm your travel arrangements until you have received your visa. To apply for a visa go to http://www.vfs-uk-za.com/ and click on UKBorder Agency in South Africa in the second paragraph from the top. Beforeyou apply, you must:

a.Prepare your supporting documentation

b. Beready to submit your visa application, fingerprints and photograph (biometric information) at one of the visa application centres in Capetown, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth orPretoria

c. Be able to pay the visa application fee. This varies according to the exchangerate and the duration of the visa costing R988 for 6 months and R9,126 for a 10 year visa. (Prices valid May 2012)

3. Return plane tickets. Direct flights are available from Jo’burg and Cape Town on SAA, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic at around R9200 return. Cheaper (non-direct) flights are sometimes available via other hubs like Dubai, Paris, Amsterdam, Cairo etc. Travel times can be much longer so do take this into account when planning your trip.

4. A British travel pass for the duration of your stay. A multi-modal pass (Oyster card) is available for use on the underground, buses and trains. It is advisable to ask that this be included in your travel package so as not to eat into your pocket money!

5. Accessible accommodationclose to the venues. Most 3 Star (and above) accommodation has accessible rooms but most B&Bs are inaccessible to the mobility impaired.

The cheapest options are usually package deals that include the flights, accommodation and travel passes. A basic package (including return tickets and airport taxes with SAA, seven nights accommodation at a 3 Star hotel in central London with bed and breakfast plus an Oyster Card with £15 pre-loaded) is ± R19,200* per person sharing (*subject to availability).

For international events South Africa hastravel wholesalers who offer package deals including flights, accommodation andevent tickets but, for London 2012, South Africa has been allocated limited eventtickets, so the agent is holding on to the tickets for officials, athletes andtheir families. This means that South Africans will have to look at a basicpackage and try to obtain event tickets through the various standard channels.

The other option is to purchase package deals(including event tickets) on the internet but be warned! There are touts whosell unofficial tickets and you could be left at the gate of the event, without entrance answering to officials and police! Please use internationally acclaimed tour operators and Travel Agents for this option.

If you are interested in travelling to London,please do not hesitate to contact me and I will try to get you the best, mostaccessible deal possible!

Happy Travels

ri-dot