It seems just about everyone is getting their genetic makeup tested these days. Yet in the search to find our DNA ancestry, we often overlook our closest living relatives—the Great Apes.
Fact is, humans share nearly 99 percent of our genes with fellow Hominidae—gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo, and orangutan. Sadly, all four of these magnificent creatures currently face numerous threats of extinction. Our upcoming Plains to Primates: Zambia & Rwanda expedition will afford travelers the rare privilege of observing two of Africa’s great apes in their natural habitat.
More than 13 different species of primates, including some 500 chimpanzees, find refuge in the dense Nyungwe National Park of southwest Rwanda, Africa’s oldest and largest mountain rainforest. Guests will spend two nights at the Nyungwe Forest Lodge, set on a working tea plantation overlooking the park’s thick canopy. The perfect base for chimpanzee trekking, you’ll visit the nearby Banda community, and observe the more than 275 bird species, 24 of which are endemic to this specific section of the Rift Valley.
Around 70 miles to the north, the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas make their home amidst the forested slopes of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. It was here where primatologist and anthropologist Dian Fossey lived for nearly 20 years among these shy, gentle creatures, and our adventurers will spend two full days tracking and observing the park’s 10 gorilla groups sweetly interacting. Three nights at the “bush-chic” Virunga Lodge leave plenty of time for tracking golden monkeys, hiking to a volcano or Lake Bulera, visiting Fossey’s grave, and enjoying a complimentary massage.
As always, what really makes our tours stand out is the quality of our expedition team. Safari guide Chris Stamper has spent more than 15 years tracking wildlife in southern and central Africa, and brings an unrivaled professionalism and enthusiasm to our Zambia & Rwanda expedition. Chris never fails to leave guests with a greater appreciation of Africa, and an understanding of themselves that no DNA test kit could ever match.