BY Advocate.com Editors
February 02 2009 1:00 AM ET
2. Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda
The Eco-Adventure: Original eco-activist Dian Fossey first introduced the magnificent silverback gorillas that inhabit the bamboo-covered slopes of Rwanda’s Virunga Volcanoes, later chronicled in Gorillas in the Mist. Some of their closest genetic relatives, the chimpanzees (also our closest relatives in the animal kingdom), make their home in the 247,000-acre Nyungwe Forest, which dates further back than the last Ice Age and also supports 100 different species of orchids, close to 300 bird species, and 12 other species of primates. Herds of elephants, giraffes, and other big game animals wander the savannah of Akagera National Park.
Do It Gaily: This 14-day safari through Rwanda organized by Coda Tours (Coda-Tours.com; 888-677-2632) includes visits with the magical gorillas, both chimpanzee and colubus-monkey tracking, two nights at a game lodge, and a final flourish on the sandy shores of Lake Kivu. You can also milk a cow, make your own ghee, visit a coffee plantation, and share a traditional meal in the reconciliation village, where perpetrators and survivors of the Rwandan troubles live together in a unique way.
3. The Daintree Rainforest of Queensland
The Eco-Adventure: Most tourists head to the Cairns area of Queensland, Australia, solely for the Great Barrier Reef offshore, but another World Heritage site beckons inland: The dense, 110-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest made up of mangroves, eucalyptus woodlands, and tropical rainforest that have remained unaffected by ice ages. It’s home to many primitive species of plants and animals—including 20% of Australia’s bird species and 65% of its butterfly and bat species.
Do It Gaily: Gay Australia specialists Above and Beyond Tours (AboveBeyondTours.com; 800-397-2681) can customize a trip to Cairns and the Daintree that includes rafting, bungee jumping, and aerial tours of the rainforest. The region is also full of gay resorts like the beachside clothing-optional Turtle Cove Resort and Spa (TurtleCove.com; +61-7-4059-1969), and the Balinese-style mountain retreat Mai Tai Resort (MaiTai-Resort.com.au; +61-7-4098-4956).