Dian Fossey | Dian Fossey Tour
Dian Fossey was an American primatologist and conservationist who is best known for her conservation efforts of Mountain Gorillas. She carried out a comprehensive study on mountain gorilla groups in Rwanda from 1966 up until 1985 when she was murdered. She was murder on the 27th of December 1985, where she was found lying in a pool of blood at her cabin in a remote camp in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. It is alleged that her murder was in connection with her conservation efforts.
Dian Fossey chose to study mountain gorillas in the forests of Rwanda following a recommendation by paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey. She published a book entitled ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, two years before her death. The book tells of Fossey’s career and scientific study of mountain gorillas at the Karisoke Research Center. A film bearing the same name as her book was made in 1988.
Dian Fossey pioneered many anti-poaching campaigns along with her staff, which led to the arrests of a number of poachers who were prosecuted and sentenced to jail. Some of these poachers are still serving their jail sentences. The anti-poaching campaigns were aimed at protecting wildlife species such as Mountain Gorillas and Forest Elephants that are being hunted down for their ivory and thus fast becoming an endangered species.
Dian Fossey was buried in a peaceful place next to her favorite gorilla called ‘Digit’ and about 20 other gorillas that were either killed by poachers or died due to other circumstances.
Hike to Dian Fossey Grave Site
A hike to the Dian Fossey grave site in Volcanoes National Park has recently become a must-do activity for most tourists visiting the park. It is said that following the divorce of her parents, Dian never got much love from her sept father and hence spent much of her time in the love and comfort of animals.
Hiking to the tomb is one of the most sought after trekking activities while in Volcanoes National Park and is included by many Tour Operators in the majority of their tour itineraries to the park.
The hike to Dian Fossey grave takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes from the park’s boundary to Karisoke Research Camp, where Dian’s grave is found. Trekking to the gravesite involves a 30 minutes’ drive from Volcanoes National Park headquarters to the trail leading to the research center.
Hiking to Dian Fossey grave site offers tourists an opportunity to view a variety of primates, bird species, forest elephants and forest hogs. It also gives tourists an intellectual and emotional insight into Dian’s research and conservation efforts aimed towards understanding and protecting the mountain gorillas and other primate species.
Trekking to Dian Fossey’s tomb can be quite a tedious and physically challenging activity and hence calls for a tourist to be physically fit and patient as well.
Points of Interest during the tour
While on tour to the Fossey gravesite, tourists have an opportunity to view attractions such as;
- Dian Fossey tomb
- Karisoke Research Camp
- The cabin where Dian Fossey was murdered in 1985.
- Golden monkeys
- Mount Karisimbi, where a number of gorilla trekking activities are carried out.
- Bird species
Activities Carried Out On Tour to Dian Fossey Grave Site.
The Dian Fossey tomb tour provides tourists with a number of activities that the visitors can indulge in, and these include;
- Hike to Dian Fossey’s gravesite
- Nature walks
- Bird watching
- Wildlife viewing where tourists may have a chance to see wildlife species like forest elephants, warthogs and a variety of primate species.
- Trekking mountain gorillas that are found on Mount Karisimbi.
Best Time to Visit Dian Fossey Grave Site
The tomb can be accessed by tourists all year round during a visitor’s primate trekking tour, however, it is advised that tourists visit the tomb the day after their gorilla trekking activity.
A tour to the Dian Fossey Grave Site is a very educative activity that I would recommend any tourist visiting Rwanda to take part in. It presents an opportunity for tourists to engage in the fight against poaching of endangered species such as Mountain Gorillas and Forest Elephants.