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Travel Channel, Natasha Huang Smith
Getting away from it all doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it in the middle of nowhere. Enjoy some peace and quiet at these ultra-secluded, ultra-luxurious properties around the world.
Arrive to your adventure base in Rwanda by 4x4 or helicopter and be welcomed with cool drinks in an intimate setting that’s bound to set the tone for your exhilarating adventure. Set high on a ridge, Virunga Lodge is an hour’s drive from Musanze, the hub for tracking endangered mountain gorillas. While most people visit this property to go on gorilla treks, don’t forget about tracking the delightfully energetic golden monkeys as well. Back at the resort, enjoy captivating views of Musanze Valley, the Virunga Volcanoes and the Twin Lakes. The 10 cottages are decorated in the Rwandese style with brightly patterned fabrics that are typical for the region. Each cottage is named after an African lake and built with volcanic tile and stones, cozy fireplaces, raffia ceilings and grand four-poster beds. One of the best parts of the property is the fact that all 16-20 guests eat together at the chunky wooden dining room table, where stories from the day’s trek can be shared, family style.
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.