Dian Fossey Graveyard

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Dian Fossey Grave

A story behind a story, a story of passion, love, and pain, that reunited humans and Apes like never before and brought the face of Gorillas into focus all over the world. a mission that began with good intentions and course, but ended in murder and death, a scene that has led to the most exciting safari offer in Volcanoes National Park; Dian Fossey graveyard hike.


Dian Fossey grave hike gives us an opportunity of learning more and uncovering the life in the Jungles. It's beyond just appreciating Dian Fossey’s effort, and contribution towards the conservation of these unique primates, but also recognizing gorilla secrets, contributing to the conservation efforts and researching more about these rare apes. Her grave is deep in the jungle, accompanied by those of her friends; the Gorillas such as Digit among others.  


Her Journey started in 1932 to 1985, with 18years of interaction with the Gorillas in The Lush tropical forest of Virunga chain of mountains, sprawling through three east and central African Countries; Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her legacy never allows us to forget of our close relatives; the mountain gorillas whose faces, whom we share with over 98% DNA. Despite great achievements, she also had a life of controversies and criticism that was suggested as the cause of her cold blood murder on 26th December 1985.


In her 18 years of research, she became one of the greatest primatologists the world has ever known, advocated against poaching, featured in a renowned book and film "Gorillas in the mist", and founded a research center; Karisoke research center in 1967 in Rwanda.


About Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey was born to George Fossey and Kitty Kidd in 1832 in Francisco, USA. At the age of 19, she enrolled in a pre-centenary biology course at the University of California and thereafter took up occupation therapy at the San Jose State College where she graduated in 1956. Fast forward to 1963, she arrived in East Africa where she met Louis Leaky who introduced her to mountain Gorillas. Leaky convinced her to return and make deeper studies concerning mountain Gorillas; an idea she accepted after visiting Jane Goodall's center in Gombe stream national park in Tanzania and acquiring research methodologists.


She set-up Karisoke Research center in 1967, in Ruhengeri province on the slopes of Mountain Bisoke in the Virunga chain of mountains. Her research led to a deeper understanding of Mountain Gorilla habits, social structure, and communication. In 1970, she left Africa for her doctorate at Cambridge University in England, before returning to concentrate on her studies on the male silverback called Digit, forming an intimate bond till the time of its sudden death.


Strange but true, Dian Fossey graveyard hike is one of the cheapest hikes in Rwanda, yet on a good day, you can chance the gorillas in the Jungle, besides captivating backdrops of the mountains, rare plant species, avian species and the breathtaking landscape among others.


On her grave are the following words; "Nyiramachabelli", Dian Fossey-1932-1985, no one loves Gorillas more. Rest in peace, Dear Friend. Eternally protected in this sacred ground, “for you is home where you belong". It is surrounded by other gorilla graves, both ancient and current.


Dian Fossey graveyard hike lasts for about 1-4 hours, with the rest of the time spent studying the gentle apes and uncovering more about the conservationists - Dian Fossey. It is advisable to book for a hiking permit 3 months in advance, at a fee that ranges at about 75usd. You can have your safari at any time, as long as there is a valid hiking permit. Other activities besides hiking include; Gorilla trekking, gorilla habituation, birding, cultural adventure and golden monkey trekking among others.


Simple process

In your hiking attire such as good hiking boots, long pants, shirts and passports among others, you will head to the park headquarters for briefing, before heading to the jungle, escorted by an armed Rwandan soldier and an experienced park ranger for about 1-6 hours. Thereafter, you will have lunch break, before deciding to either drive to Kigali city or any other destination of your choice.


In conclusion, the Dian Fossey graveyard was designed in 1986 by Evelyn. It is surrounded by several other gorilla graves, alongside lush vegetation and undulating hills. Hiking to it is one of the cheapest safari offers in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and presents a rare opportunity of spotting the mountain gorillas on lucky days. Save you time and money and enjoy the Dian Fossey hike.

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