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Why the New Documentary Virunga Should Be On Your Watch List This Weekend



All it takes is one safari to get a visceral sense of the importance of conservation in Africa. You feel it in your gut: the twinned awesomeness and fragility of the continent’s wild places. That’s why so many travelers give so generously to the parks and reserves they travel through. But how do you activate this protective instinct for place a few travelers have seen—and in a country as fraught as the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been riven by conflict and exploitation since the days of King Leopold? Give documentarian Orlando von Einsiedel a hand for finding a way to distill (but not diminish) these complex issues into the riveting Virguna, which premiers today on Netflix and in select theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.

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New Photo Book Showcases the World's Best Gardens

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A cacti-filled garden in Morocco, lush country homes in England, a tropical oasis in Florida: the world is filled with countless public and private green spaces—and the new book The Gardener’s Garden brings together more than 250 of the world’s best.

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Château Vaux le Vicomte's New Look

Vaux le Vicomte

Less familiar and less crowded than Versailles—but designed by the same architects—Vaux le Vicomte can now be seen as never before.

Alexandre de Vogüé and his brothers didn’t think much about growing up at Vaux le Vicomte, the 17th-century estate about an hour southeast of Paris. “All our friends had small gardens, and we had a bigger garden,” he says of the magnificent grounds, designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre. At night, the siblings would play cat-and-mouse in the château and listen to ghost stories about its first owner, Nicolas Fouquet. That visionary patron united the talents of Le Nôtre, painter Charles Le Brun, and architect Louis Le Vau, to create one of the glories of the Grand Siècle.

Two years ago, Alexandre and his twin brother, Jean-Charles, took stewardship of the estate. This spring, visitors can enjoy their first major renovation: the installation of six giant, arched glass doors that restore the château’s transparency and vistas. Vogüé says, “Today, when you are in the grand salon, looking out, you almost dive into the garden.”

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Beautiful Castles Around the World

Photo © A. Chicurel – L. Lourdel

Daily Transporter: Golf Death Valley

sand trap

Even if you can’t brag about a low golf score, you can play the lowest-altitude golf course in the world: the links at Death Valley’s Inn at Furnace Creek sit 214 feet below sea level.

See the Inn at Furnace Creek in Great National Park Lodges

Editor’s Picks: Death Valley
America’s Coolest Ghost Towns
World’s Strangest Natural Wonders
Beautiful National Parks: Readers’ Photos

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the NYC World's Fair

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More than two thousand visitors, near and far made the trek to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York last month for a special, limited public viewing of the New York State Pavilion’s interior. 

The rusting monument, designed by acclaimed architect Philip Johnson for the World’s Fair, was recently recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Daily Transporter: Yosemite

glorious national park view

Cameras mounted on unmanned drones have found a place in nature photographer’s arsenal (case in point: this breathtaking GoPro video taken at Arches NP in Moab) but as of last week, the National Park Service has banned the use of drones inside vast Yosemite, saying that they disrupt both peace and emergency services.

See Yosemite in World’s Scariest Hikes

Editor’s Picks: Yosemite
Ultimate Adventure Travel Bucket List
Super-Short Travel Disaster Stories
Great National Park Lodges

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Daily Transporter: Canadian Rockies

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Finding a great view in Banff or Jasper National Parks in Alberta has never been hard, but the new Glacier Skywalk (opening May 1) adds a stomach-in-your-throat thrill to the hunt. The glass-paved walkway is cantilevered 100 feet over the edge of a cliff, more than 900 feet above the valley floor.

See Glacier Skywalk in World’s Coolest Tourist Attractions

Editor’s Picks: Alberta
Best Instagram Photos of 2013
T+L’s Best Travel Photography Tips
World’s Scariest Roller Coasters

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

National Park Week Launches Tomorrow With Free Entrance All Weekend

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Tomorrow marks the start of National Park Week (April 19-27), and to celebrate, the country’s 400-plus parks are waiving entrance fees all weekend long. It’s a big year for the National Park Service, with milestone anniversaries (Yosemite turns 150 this year; Rocky Mountain National Park is 100) and important developments (including major renovations to Yellowstone’s oldest hotel).

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Delta and United Add Seasonal Flights to Yellowstone

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Just in time for summer—the most popular season to visit National Parks—Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are increasing service to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana. Delta’s seasonal non-stop service will depart from New York-LaGuardia Airport on Saturdays from June 21 to September 27. Meanwhile, United will fly out of George Bush International Airport in Houston on Saturdays and Sundays between June 28 and August 17.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1

Photo Credit: Jim Peaco

Video: National Park Adventures

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Embrace the great outdoors with an affordable getaway to one of these national parks.

Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Stay: Volcano House

Volcano House reopened in 2013 following a $7 million renovation that preserved the character of the original 1941 design. The rooms have beautiful views: some overlook Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, while others face native Hawaiian rainforest of ohia lehua and koa trees. This 323,400-acre national park is also great for wildlife spotting; more than 90 percent of the plants and animals here are found nowhere else on earth. Cabins from $55/night.

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