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Extraordinary encounters in Africa and India

Great apes, lava lakes and luxury lodges lure adventurous travellers

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Extraordinary encounters in Africa and India

February 16 2012
Sophy Roberts

In the Republic of the Congo, two small camps, known collectively as Odzala (www.odzala-kokoua.com; from $4,500 per person for three nights), will open this spring in the world’s second-largest tropical forest. The elevated rooms give a view of forest canopy, but what visitors come to see are the lowland gorillas.

Meanwhile, Roberts Safaris (www.robertssafaris.com) has just announced a helicopter safari with Kenya-based Tropic Air (first picture; www.tropicairkenya.com) that will venture into the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, an area that has lately been making headlines as a result of political unrest – not that this will stop intrepid travellers. Wilderness pioneer Willie Roberts will lead the inaugural trip this month (from $100,000 for nine nights), with two nights in the Virunga National Park and a night on Nyiragongo, which boasts the largest liquid lake of lava on the planet.

The safari also stops in Uganda, where Praveen Moman, the visionary conservationist behind Volcanoes Safaris, recently opened a new contemporary-style eco-lodge, Kyambura Gorge Lodge (second picture; www.volcanoessafaris.com; from $400 per person per night), in the western part of the country. Here, chimpanzees are the lure.

For those who prefer the notion of Shere Khan, take note of a new jungle lodge from Encounters Asia; Jamtara Wilderness, (www.encountersasia.com; $250 per person per night) is located in Pench, a remote region of Madhya Pradesh in India, where Rudyard Kipling was inspired to write The Jungle Book. It is an area well known to the lodge’s owner, Amit Sankhala, whose grandfather founded Project Tiger with Indira Gandhi.