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On Volcanoes Safaris' seven-day Virunga and Kyambura trip, you'll comb some of Africa's lushest lands for the most famous primates on the continent. Starting off in Rwanda, you'll drive through the terraced hills that lead to the Virunga Range, where you'll find ridge-top digs with volcano and lake views so spectacular you'll forget you came to see the animals. That is until the next day, when you're hiking along forested slopes and someone in your party spots the first gorilla. From your prehike briefing, you'll know to keep a certain distance (after all, you don't want to transmit any germs to these guys) - but only now will you understand the true difficulty of compliance. Especially if there are babies. In their attempt to get you to play, the little ones will dial up the cuteness to simply unfair levels, and you you'll have to summon reserve supplies of willpower to back away. You won't want to break the spell but consolation awaits: You'll soon be off to Uganda's Kyambura Gorge Lodge, your getaway to the so-called Valley of the Apes (read:Chimpanzees). Volcanoessafaris.com
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.