Dian Fossey Grave Site Hike

The Dian Fossey Grave Site Hike is a popular activity in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, that offers visitors a chance to pay their respects to the renowned primatologist and conservationist. Deep in the heart of the Volcanoes National Park, lies a sacred place—the final resting place for Dian Fossey. She was known in her research in Gorilla observation. In a field study in Rwanda, she made several important discoveries about this species of great primates which she collected in her book, Gorillas in the Mist’, now a world best seller.

Furthermore, The Dian Fossey Grave Site (tomb) Hike is a transformative journey in the heart of conservation. It provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the remarkable story of one of the world’s most influential primatologists. While moderately challenging, this experience rewards you with breathtaking views of the Virunga ranges and the DR Congo, enveloping you in Rwanda’s stunning beauty. Taking up the hike honors Dian Fossey and supports the ongoing conservation in Volcanoes National Park. It also emphasizes the need to protect endangered species and preserve the natural world, following her example.

Who Was Dian Fossey?

Dian Fossey, an American primatologist and conservationist, was born on January 16, 1932 in San Francisco, USA. She devoted her life to the study and preservation of the then critically endangered Mountain Gorillas. Through her pioneering research and unwavering dedication, Fossey significantly elevated public consciousness about these magnificent creatures and their precarious survival.

Fossey’s involvement in conservation started in the early 1960s when she embarked on a journey to Africa and developed a deep affection for the Gorillas residing in the Virunga Mountains. She set up a research camp in the saddle area between Mount Karisimbi and Mount Bisoke hence the name ‘Karisoke’.

It is from her Karisoke Research Centre that she dedicated all her time to studying these magnificent creatures up close. Over the years, Fossey became deeply connected to the Gorillas, forming strong bonds and documenting their behavior, social structure, and unique characteristics.

Tragically, in 1985, Dian Fossey was brutally murdered at her research center. The Zoologist may have suffered retaliation from poachers or traffickers. Remember she had put an intense resistance against Gorilla poaching. Although her death remains unresolved, her legacy lives on through the ongoing work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and the countless individuals inspired by her dedication and activism.

Until now, Dian Fossey’s work holds Immense Significance, she dedicated her life to studying and protecting endangered Mountain Gorillas. They were critically endangered and yet greatly threatened by poaching and habitat loss. Who knows they would be extinct by now!

Diana Fossey Grave Site hiking Trail

Dian Fossey Grave site/tomb hike is a Journey into the Life of a Conservation Legend. The trek is sort of a pilgrimage for wildlife enthusiasts and those who admire her unwavering commitment to Gorilla conservation. Located in the lush foothills of the Virunga Mountains, the 10Km hike provides a truly immersive experience that encapsulates both Fossey’s incredible life and the tranquil beauty of the Rwandan landscape.

The hike begins at 7:00 AM at the park office in Kinigi. After a briefing with the ranger guides, you will drive for about 30 minutes to the base of Mount Bisoke, where the trek starts just outside the park boundary at the car park. Walking sticks are provided free of charge at the starting point, and porters are available to hire to carry your bags and provide support during the hike.

The guided hike to the grave site of Dian Fossey begins through dense rainforests, home to a diverse array of flora and fauna. As you navigate the winding trails, your senses will be awakened by the symphony of bird songs and the captivating whispers of the forest. You’ll pass by the Karisoke Research Center, which Dian Fossey founded in 1967. This center served as her home and the base for her extensive research on Gorillas. The elevated site offers breathtaking views of the Virunga Mountains and a deeper understanding of Fossey’s dedication to the cause.

The trail can be muddy and strenuous, but it offers the opportunity to spot various monkey and bird species along the way. Your knowledgeable guide will provide insights into Fossey’s life and work, as well as the unique ecology of the rainforest.

Upon completing a challenging trek through the lush rainforests of Volcanoes National Park, you’ll arrive at a tranquil clearing where Dian Fossey rests in a simple, unmarked grave. This spot is shaded by dense vegetation and adorned with vibrant bouquets of flowers. Here, visitors can take a moment to pay their respects, reflect on Fossey’s remarkable accomplishments, and be awestruck by the breathtaking surroundings.

Preparing for Dian Fossey Grave Site Hike

  • For the hike, it’s important to be in decent physical shape and wear suitable gear, like robust shoes and a raincoat, given its moderately challenging nature.
  • It’s advisable for visitors to carry an ample supply of water and snacks for the entire hike.
  • The best time for a hike is during the dry season, spanning from June to September or from December to February.
  • Having a guide with you on the hike is mandatory to ensure your safety and to provide valuable insights during the journey.
  • The Dian Fossey Grave Site Hike requires a permit, which can be obtained through a trusted tour operator (Jungle Escape Africa). To get the precise information you need, it’s a good idea to contact the operator and confirm the current permit cost.

Dian Fossey Grave Site Hike Permit Price

Visitor Category Adult Child/student
Foreigner $75
Foreign Resident in Rwanda $60 $45
East African Foreign Resident $65 $45
East African Citizen $55 $45
Rwandan Citizen RWF4000 RWF2000


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