Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary

Top choice Wildlife Reserve

in Democratic Republic of Congo
Image by Martin Harvey / Getty Images
Image by Martin Harvey / Getty Images

Ninety minutes west of Kinshasa, just beyond the city's sprawl, this excellent project provides a home for orphaned bonobos. Long thought to be chimpanzees, bonobos are actually a separate species known for being much more peaceful than their cousins. They're also endangered, with only around 50,000 surviving in the wild. Trails here lead around the large, forested enclosures, but the playful bonobos often hang out right at the front, especially in the morning.

The sanctuary is 8km off the Matadi road. If you're patient, you can hitch those last 8km off the highway. A hire car with driver from Kinshasa will cost US$100, but in the wet season you'll need a 4WD (US$200).