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Accommodation in South Africa’s national parks for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is nearly fully booked…

Within two hours of opening bookings for next year's football World Cup, beds in South Africa's national parks are nearly all sold out, the parks authority said.

"All the main camps in the popular parks were fully booked two hours after opening," SANParks marketing boss Glenn Phillips said in a statement.

In a twist on the usual event accommodation fare, visitors to the first World Cup on the African continent have the choice of staying in game parks, in the habitat of the elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.

Anticipating huge demand from an expected 450,000 visiting football fans, SAN Parks began taking bookings for June and July 2010 on Wednesday "to facilitate a smooth booking process".

The World Cup takes place in nine cities across South Africa from June 11 to July 11, 2010. World Cup visitors can book rooms in one of 21 national parks across the country for up to two months at a time.

Kruger National Park, the country's biggest game park, on the border with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, is the biggest attraction. Kruger's main rest camps are all sold out. Some space in bush camps in the far north of the park are still available.

Kruger Park is situated about 40km east of the city of Nelspruit, one of the host cities in the World Cup next year.

Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com

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