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Rwanda: Gorillas Go Chic

National Geographic Adventure picks the 25 best new outfitted trips.
Text by Bonnie Tsui   Photograph by David Pluth/Atlantide

Photo: Watching a mountain gorilla in Rwanda
Communing with Rwanda's endangered mountain gorillas

WHAT'S NEW: Face-to-face with mountain gorillas—beloved for their humanlike mannerisms and massive grace—it's easy to see a reflection of yourself in one of the world's most endangered species. Less than 700 of the primates remain, most of them in the volcanic forests of northwestern Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, where tracking parties limited to eight visitors can spend an hour with the giant apes. As Rwanda's domestic strife has settled in recent years, these rare creatures have become a major tourist attraction. But until now there has been little infrastructure near their protected stomping grounds. That changes early next year when Kenya's Governors' Camp safari company opens an eight-room luxury lodge on the park border.

ON THE GROUND:
After gorilla-watching, you can dry your boots and sip cocktails as the sun sets behind the peaks of the Ruwenzori Range. The high-end Governors' Camp property is representative of Rwanda's drive toward niche tourism; the nation has already refused package tours and is pushing operators to sell high. "We're not shy about saying Rwanda will be expensive," says Rosette Chantal Rugamba, director of Rwanda Tourism and National Parks. "Visiting the gorillas will be one of the wonders of the world."

Vitals

Outfitter:
Governors' Camp (www.governorscamp.com)

Length:
Three days

Price:
$450 a night

Difficulty:
Moderate

Opens:
August


Cover: Adventure magazine

Our November 2006 issue features the best new adventure travel trips; an exclusive look inside Iran; a Greenland global warming report; backcountry spas; digital cameras; travel Web sites; weekend getaways; and more.

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