In the late 1960s, Rwanda’s Virunga mountains became home to one of the world’s most famous prima-tologists, Dian Fossey. Inspired to travel to Africa by a friend’s photographs and stories, Fossey took out a loan and made the trip in 1963. Fossey’s life, and those of Rwanda’s endangered mountain gorillas, would be changed forever. Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center in the remote rainforests of northwest Rwanda and, for the next twenty years, devoted her life to living with and studying eight gorilla groups in the surrounding mountains.
Fossey revolutionized the way the world viewed gorillas. No longer were they seen as savage beasts, but rather as gentle giants not all that different from their human cousins. She was accepted by the goril-las in a way no person ever had been before. In fact, photographs showing gorillas touching her hand were the first ever recorded peaceful contact between man and gorilla. But as much as Fossey would have liked to live and conduct her research in peace, poachers constantly troubled her. She fought hard for anti-poaching measures to protect the gorillas she had come to know so well.
In 1983, Fossey published Gorillas in the Mist, a detailed look at her scientific research and how it came about. It served as the inspiration for the 1988 film of the same title. Just two years later, however, she was brutally murdered as she slept in the bedroom of her cabin. Today, Fossey’s legacy lives on, namely through the conservation efforts of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Fossey was buried next to her favorite gorilla, Digit, not far from her research center. Tourists now have the chance to visit her tomb in remembrance of one of the most dedicated and fearless wildlife researchers in the world.
This hike may take up to 2hours uphill with a slight chance to encounter Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, numerous birds and wide range of wildlife along the trail. The hiking permit costs $75 and the hike starts at 7:00 a.m. Contact us for more details about this hike.