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10 Off-the-grid hotels for when you really want to escape
Virunga Lodge, Rwanda
Set at the height of a lush peak between Lake Bulera and Lake Ruhondo, you might think all of Virunga Lodge’s charm lies in its location—and, exempting the Rwanda retreat's totally amenable staff, you’d be right. The camp’s 10 bandas (suites) not only sport their own fireplaces, but each has a private terrace overlooking the volcanoes or twin lakes. While you’re sitting on what feels like the top of the world, make time to partake in the lodge’s best-known activity, silverback gorilla tracking, or sign up for a hike to Mount Karisimbi or the Visoke volcanoes.
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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.