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South Africa 'is the best for safaris'

South Africa has been hailed as the best international destination for people who want to come face to face with wildlife.

Readers of popular travel magazine Lonely Planet in India voted the nation as the ultimate place to take an authentic African safari.

With superb places such as the Kruger National Park, Madike Game Reserve and Pilanesberg Game Reserve, it is hardly surprising that the country's reputation is so strong among animal lovers.

According to tourism leaders, there was a 26.2 per cent jump in the number of Indian travellers taking a holiday in South Africa last year, with more than 90,000 people from the Asian country heading to Africa's most southerly point.

Country head of South African Tourism India Hanneli Slabber said it was a "great honour" to receive such an accolade.

"South Africa has come to be appreciated for its diverse attractions and impeccable hospitality and this award is testimony to the relationship travellers have with our destination," Ms Slabber added.