Dian Fossey’s Karisoke Research Camp and Gravesite Hike
Dian Fossey Hike to her Research Camp and the graves of her beloved gorillas
Diane Fossey arrived in Rwanda in 1967 to study the Mountain Gorillas found in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda. She founded the Karisoke Research Center which was her home until the time of her violent death in 1985.
She became Friends with Rosamond Carr, the longest living Westerner in Rwanda, and in Uganda Walter Baumgaertel with his Travellers Rest Hotel provided her with a home away from home.
Dian Fossey was a tough woman who was single-minded about protecting her beloved Mountain Gorillas from poachers who captures mountain gorillas to sell (no mountain gorilla has ever survived captivity in a zoo or elsewhere) or poachers would sell Gorilla heads – also hands that were used by some as ashtrays. Things that are unthinkable today in the 21st Century.
Her anti-poaching campaigns are thought to be the reason that she was murdered in 1985.
Her work, her dedication to preserving the Mountain Gorillas and her legacy live on, made famous through the film “Gorillas in the Mist.”
The movie made people aware of the Mountain Gorillas and they began to flock to Rwanda. Many of them pay a visit by taking the Dian Fossey Hike to the Karisoke Research Camp, the Gorilla Graveyard and Dian Fossey’s grave in particular. Though it takes a bit of an effort to reach her former Research Camp, the hike there has many added benefit, it is scenic with the Virunga Volcanoes all around, there are four in Rwanda, there are the different vegetation zones at times you see wildlife, a lot of birds including those that are endemic to Volcanoes National Park, flowers in season and a lot more.
It is a trek that is well worth doing, going to her former home and research station.
She was against Gorilla Tourism, however today she may well applaud it since it has become an example as to how eco-tourism and in this case Gorilla Trekking has paid the way toward Mountain Gorilla Conservation and that is exactly what she stood for until she was murdered in 1985. She started out in Zaire now the DRC but due to conflicts was forced to shift her operation to Rwanda, which she fell in love with and tirelessly labored to protect her beloved Mountain Gorillas from poachers and other persons of ill will such as those who were encroaching on the park land which is Virunga Volcanoes National Park.
Today – the real camp is in ruins and is located in the saddle area between the Mount Visoke Volcano and the Mount Karisimbi Volcano. The Dian Fossey hike up and down is an experience – you might see forest elephants and forest buffaloes, lots of birds and pass through various vegetation zones.
This is a half-day trek and will take between 3 and 4 hours – it is a guided hike and once at the research camp you will be give background insight into the life and work of Dian Fossey among her beloved Mountain Gorillas in what Volcanoes National Park.
The Dian Fossey Hike is a perfect add-on to a Gorilla Trek in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Her legacy is intertwined with the present reality of Gorilla Conservation. Though she was against Gorilla Tourism it is Gorilla Tourism that is paying the way for Gorilla Conservation and she just might agree.
If you would like to include the Dian Fossey Hike in your Safari Itinerary with us – Please let us know