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Heavy rains force tourist rescues in S.Africa’s Kruger park

Torrential rains in South Africa’s Kruger National Park have forced the emergency rescue of dozens of tourists and staff from the wildlife reserve, officials said Monday.

At least 15 tourists were airlifted to safety while several camps, roads and entrance gates to the giant park were closed.

Much of South Africa has been pelted with heavy rains in recent days, and more rain is expected over the next two days, the park said.

The downpours forced 70 staff and an unknown number of tourists to be evacuated from one camp alone.

The top tourist destination borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique and is home to Africa’s big five — lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. It is roughly the same size as Israel or Wales.

The weather has also caused havoc at the northern Mapungubwe National Park, a World Heritage site, which has been closed with some roads to the area washed away.