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Volcanoes National Park

A rare subspecies of the world's largest primate, the mountain gorilla has been reduced to just two small populations found in central Africa. The largest enclave makes its home in the mist-shrouded mountains of Volcanoes National Park, a protective preserve outfitted with a number of anti-poaching programs.

The park's star attractions share their verdant hilltop home with unusual animals like the golden monkey, a small species found only in the bamboo forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Birdwatchers also are at home in the park, where more than 170 brilliantly feathered species take flight. In addition, Cape buffalo, deerlike duiker and swarms of tree lizards stomp, scamper and scuttle through the underbrush.

Visits to the park often include a stop at the Karisoke Research Center, a site for gorilla study founded by Dian Fossey. Here, trekkers meet staff primatologists, explore ape preservation programs and visit Fossey's grave and gorilla memorial.