South Africa’s tourism industry recorded double-digit growth from the Australian market last year, and 2017 looks like being equally successful according to specialist Bench Africa.

The company has reported a spike in interest in the Rainbow Nation this year, with bookings for its group tours almost double 2016 levels.

Bench Africa general manager Martin Edwards said the destination had “really taken off”.

“South Africa especially is such a great value destination right now that Aussies are flocking over in their droves,” Edwards said, citing a favourable exchange rate among key driving factors. “Availability is starting to become a bit scarce”.

“The most significant trend we’ve noticed is on our scheduled group tours where we have seen a 96% increase in numbers of passengers travelling, compared to the previous year,”he said.

The number of Australians visiting South Africa grew 10% to 109,146 in 2016, reaching six-figure levels for the first time. The first few months of this year have seen continued growth of around 5%, according to Statistics South Africa.

Bench Africa is promoting its “Grand Tour of South Africa”, which is the company’s bestselling group tour in South Africa. The 15-day small group tour visits the famous Kruger National Park as well as the Blyde River Canyon. There are also stops in Swaziland and Zululand, plus the Eastern Cape and the vibrant city of Cape Town. Prices start from $4,045 per person.

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