Hit Enter to search or Esc key to close

Hiking to the Dian Fossey Grave: Pay tribute to Fossey

If you have ever heard about Dian Fossey and you wish to explore more about her history and life as a conservationist or primate enthusiast, then count hiking to the top of Dian Fossey site a must for you while in a safari to Rwanda.

Situated within the Volcanoes National Park, the Dian Fossey tomb site is one of a bucket list adventures for visitors on gorilla safaris in Rwanda. The hike to this amazing site aims at offering visitors opportunity to explore more about the works of the popular American primatologist and zoologist, Dian Fossey who devoted herself to research and protect the lives of the critically endangered mountain gorillas for over 18 years in the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda.

Given the fact these endangered primates had been exposed to poachers, they became very fearful to humans but Dian Fossey was such exceptional person, she began to patrol the place together with her group mates and saved several gorilla babies after their family members were murdered. As she kept on, her efforts in Rwanda earned her a local name Nyirmachabelli or Nyiramacibiri which means the woman who lives alone on the mountain. She gained trust of gorillas and also got international support from various organizations like Mountain Gorilla Project, World Wildlife Fund, Fauna Preservation Society and African Wildlife Foundation.

She also established Karisimbi research centre within Mount Karisimbi and Bisoke where it derived its name. Her great work is credited that the mountain gorillas got known to the world. She fought against poaching for long period but unfortunately she was mysteriously murdered in 1985 and buried near Digit her lovely silverback gorilla at a time. The hike to Dian Fossey tomb site offers amazing opportunity to also explore other stunning attractions within the national park especially the mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, several primates as well as distinct bird species.

Dian Fossey hike is conducted in the morning. Visitors are required to be at Kinigi park headquarters at 7:00am for briefing from the park guide and then set off at 8:00am. You will drive off for about half an hour to the base of the Mount Bisoke where the treks start from. The hike is strenuous and you are advised to come with a walking stick at a free cost to give you support while hiking and if you do not trust your strength, make sure you hire a porter who will help you to carry your luggage.

You will catch a glimpse of the spectacular views of the Virunga Mountains while you are still outside the park. After you by pass the stone wall that marks the demarcation of the park and also acts as barrier for elephants and buffaloes that may want to cross to the local community. The trek then leads you to Mount Bisoke through a place where mountain gorillas tend to be and amazingly you will have a chance to catch a glimpse of them and several wildlife species like buffaloes, duikers, golden monkeys and many more.

Around 2967 meters, Dian Fossey tomb trail then breaks off from Mount Bisoke hiking trail and then you will have another episode of hiking to mount Karisimbi which comes with spectacular stretch of Hagenia hypericum forested zone at elevation of 2900 to 3000 meters. This elevation means the hike is breathtaking but rewarding. It comes with amazing mountain sceneries of Virunga Mountain ranges from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. The en-route offers visitors with sightings of incredible bird species and for bird lovers, this is the best spot for you to catch a glimpse of the Albertine rift endemics.

The trek usually takes about one to three hours but this depends on visitors’ level of physical fitness. You need waterproof hiking boots that are light weight and make you feel comfortable while hiking, long sleeved shirts or T-shirts to guard you from the stinging insects as well as thorny plants, snacks and water to keep you strong, camera, gardening gloves and many more.

Dian Fossey left a legacy with Gorilla Fund that monitors the ten (10) gorilla families out of the 15 that are found in the Rwanda Volcanoes National Park as well as other tourism and conservation projects that all aimed at protecting mountain gorillas and their habitats. Hiking permits for Dian Fossey tomb are always obtained at the park headquarters at $75 per visitor and this includes fee for the guide.

In conclusion, Dian Fossey was such a great primatologist whose legacy still counts in conservation of mountain gorillas in Virunga Mountain ranges. Trekking to the Karisimbi mountain slopes rewards hikers with not only her story as a conservationist but also other spectacular sightings of the Virunga Mountains, birdlife, primates, plant species and many more which all make the experience memorable.