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Already checked off the world’s most visited countries—France, the U.S., Spain, China—and not sure where to go next? Consider planning a trip to overlooked gems like Slovenia, Uganda, Belize, and Bhutan, where less-crowded cultural attractions and a slew of luxe new hotels has made them more appealing than ever this year.
For decades, Rwanda has been the go-to destination for gorilla tourism, but last year's dramatic increase in park permit costs has begun convincing travelers to choose neighboring Uganda (which offers many of the same attractions at a fraction of the cost) as a more affordable alternative. Award-winning outfitter Volcanoes Safaris—pioneers in setting up camps around the great ape parks—has three lodges in Uganda including the newly refurbished Bwindi Lodge, whose picture windows and terraces overlook Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Prior to your arrival, Volcanoes will help organize your gorilla trek (including securing permits and visas); follow up your encounter with naps in your private standalone banda and a complimentary massage at the lodge's new spa.
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.