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Great Ape Escape, Rwanda and Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, October 06 10:57 AM

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Sure, elephants and lions are cool and all. But when it comes to the animal kingdom, it doesn't get much more fascinating than observing our relatives. The drama, the pathos, the hairy chests (we're talking about primates, not your Aunt Sarah).

On Safari & Conservation Company's new Great Ape Escape, you'll get up close and personal with the primate world. Starting in Rwanda, you'll trek to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat before flying to the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania to observe chimps in the wild. The best part? With your own private plane, you avoid the hassles of airports, taxis, and charters. Because no one needs that kind of monkey business on vacation.

Photo: Courtesy of Safari & Conservation Company

AdventureSmith Explorations Antarctica Cruise

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 19 07:00 AM

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It's an amazing experience to watch the dramatic landscape slide past your stateroom window on a cruise to Antarctica. But AdventureSmith Explorations' new Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise goes one step further. For the first time ever, cruisers can get off the ship and camp on the frozen tundra.

It might not be as comfortable as your cabin, but you'll be provided with mattresses, polar sleeping bags, and all the other cozy gear required to protect you from the elements. Sailing time is kept to a minimum in order to maximize opportunities for hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and glacier walking. While on board the 110-passenger Plancius, you'll be schooled by photography experts on how to capture the icy surroundings and amazing wildlife. If you've ever dismissed a cruise as a sedentary vacation, this is the trip that will change your mind.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise, 2012 departures: February 27-March 9, November 22-December 3; 2013 departures: February 25-March 9. Doubles from $8,350 (2012) and $8,790 (2013) per person; 877-620-2875.

Photo: Courtesy of AdventureSmith Explorations

Lamai Serengeti, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 05 07:30 AM

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The annual wildebeest migration through Kenya and Tanzania is one of nature's greatest shows. But as with any hot ticket, you can be sure you'll be jockeying for position among herds of eager onlookers. That is, unless you stay at the new Lamai Serengeti.

Situated in the remote northern Serengeti, the 12-room open-air lodge perches on the rugged granite outcrop of the Kogakuria Kopje, overlooking the Mara River valley. From late July through October, the migration of those 1.5 million hairy beasts (not to mention the lions, leopards, and hyenas that dine on them) will be on your elegantly decorated doorstep. Interiors are understated and stylish, a blend of canvas and plaster walls with pops of blue or red against a cream-and-white backdrop. The secluded location ensures that the tourists won't outnumber the four-legged animals. It's wildly civilized.

Photo: Courtesy of Nomad Tanzania

Singita Explore, Tanzania

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 23 01:30 PM

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Did you know that safari actually means "journey" in Swahili? Ponder this nugget as you experience exactly that with Singita Explore, the brand-new luxury mobile tented experience from Singita Game Reserves. So, just as animals roam the 340,000 dramatic acres of Tanzania's western Serengeti, now you can, too.

You'll camp with the crickets and cawing and crick-crack of who-knows-what shuffling in the bush. But fear not, you'll hardly be roughing it. Accommodations are pared back to finely tuned yet high-class basics (a plush bed, and leather, rubber, and timber furnishings) in custom-designed, eco-friendly en-suite tents. The caravan itself is a private jaunt of 2 to 12 people. Just because you're following the herd doesn't mean you have to be a part of it.

Book two nights and receive a third night free with Singita Explore introductory promotion (from $2,600 per person sharing for three nights through December 2011)

Photo: Courtesy of Singita Game Reserves

Compagnie du Ponant Antarctica Sailings

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, June 09 07:00 AM

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Sometimes one megayacht just isn't enough. At least that's Compagnie du Ponant's take on the matter. Come November, the luxury cruise company will launch two new ships, L'Austral and Le Boréal, on nine round trips from Ushuaia, Argentina, through the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

The 132-cabin twin vessels double your chance to chill out with Champagne as you sail past whales, penguins, and sea elephants. After a long day of exploring glaciers with experts in hydrobiology and polar wildlife, you can retire to the marble tub in your luxury suite or get a massage in the spa. Because who wouldn't want a little extravagance on an Antarctic expedition?

Sailings from November 2011 through February 2012, from $4,860

Photo: Courtesy of Philip Plisson, Compagnie du Ponant

Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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