Learn about the famous primatologist Dian Fossey, who studied Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, on this hike to her research base …
Follow in the footsteps of famous primatologist Dian Fossey on this trek to her former research base in the Volcanoes National Park. The hike is run by the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) and begins at 7am from their headquarters in Kinigi, where you will meet your local guide. During the three-to-four-hour return hike, they will tell you about the surrounding forest, its gorillas and of course Dian, who studied Rwanda’s mountain gorillas here until her tragic death in 1985.
The trail passes through some of the national park’s most beautiful Hagenia-Hypericum forest. Apart from the first 45-minute incline, the hike is not particularly challenging. It’s a beautiful trek and one that is surrounded by ancient trees, lichens, thistles and colourful birdlife. Eventually, you reach the site where Dian set up her research centre, Karisoke, which was named after two surrounding volcanoes, Mount Bisoke and Karisimbi. This is where Dian lived for 18 years and became the world’s leading expert on mountain gorillas.
Abandoned and overgrown, all that really remains now is the graveyard where Dian was laid to rest alongside her beloved gorillas, including her favourite, Digit. A lot of people have read Dian’s book Gorillas in the Mist or seen the 80s film with Sigourney Weaver, so she’s become this iconic character. Even though the site is dilapidated now, it’s amazing to visit the place where she lived and worked, it puts everything into perspective. Dian made such a huge impact on conservation and taking this hike really contextualises your visit to Rwanda.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656