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From the editor: So apparently all of Santa’s reindeer are female

Photographer: JYOTHY KARAT

By VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine India

So apparently all of Santa’s reindeer are female.

That comes from the antlers of reindeer – apparently, most male reindeer lose their antlers around November, while females retain them till spring, so Rudolph and gang must be all girls. Science rules, of course, though Science tends to hide its crown and look at you a little awkwardly when you’re asking about the gender of flying reindeer that pull a fat man’s sleigh all over the world in one night. But that little debate notwithstanding, it is Christmastime, and, flying reindeer or not, we think you might like what we’ve got for you.

This special issue, the Best In Travel 2016, is a list of the best places you can visit in the coming year. And before you get out your indignation-filled pens and ask me why such-and-such place was not included, let me ask you this: do you want to be on Santa’s bad list? If not, enjoy yourselves as we take you from weep-inducing Fiji to Bavaria, and from iguanas pretending to be cuddly versions of Godzilla in the Galápagos to weddings in Africa, and all the sweet, pretty, quirky and unmissable places in between.

We also have a second issue alongside the usual one, if you’ve noticed – a special on South Africa, taking you on a tour of this startlingly pretty country, where even the animals have a wry sense of humour.

And if you want to, er, examine the reindeer, you’ll have to ask the guy who sits in the sleigh. I think I have his address somewhere…