The Big Five that draws tourists to South Africa is no longer made up of the lion, rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo and cheetah - these days it involves facelifts, liposuction, tummy tucks, breast reductions and enlargements - and the pounds and dollars are rolling into the country.
More and more international tourists are visiting the country for cosmetic operations because the cost of plastic surgery is much lower locally than overseas.
Much cheaper in Mother City
A Cape Town plastic surgeon said facelifts were up to R10 000 cheaper in South Africa than overseas.
"I operate on between seven and 15 tourists a month," the surgeon said on Tuesday.
Lorraine Melvill said her company, Scalpel Safaris, brings in between 20 and 30 international visitors to South Africa every month to have their appearance changed.
She said these tourists spend an average of R100 000 on plastic surgery, where local patients spent about R30 000 on such an operation. Sometimes the amounts involved are even higher. "One of our clients spent R250 000 on plastic surgery for him and his wife last year!"
Scalpel Safaris also arrange a South African holiday for their clients to recover from their surgery in style.
Liposuction the nr.1 attraction
Doctor Barend Zeeman of the University of Stellenbosch said the most popular operation among foreign visitors was liposuction.
"Liposuction is way ahead. Then comes breast reductions, then breast enlargements for women and facelifts and operations to the eyelids and ears for men."
Prospective clients have to wait as long as three months for an appointment with local plastic surgeons because of the high demand for their services. - (Yvonne Beyers, Die Burger)