Walk In The Footsteps Of Famed Primatologist Dian Fossey

Visiting the former research home site of Dian Fossey is the perfect complement to any mountain gorilla trek. Hiking up her grave shrine is an experience that appreciates education, courage, advocacy, celebration, and tragedy. Fossey was known for her work as a primatologist, both studying the gorillas and spearheading efforts to protect them. In 1967 Ms. Fossey began a research effort that would ultimately become her life’s work, as well as the foundation for developing a deep, personal connection to the primate species and to many of the individual gorillas with whom she spent her time. Her most beloved gorilla was a silverback she named Digit. After first spending time in the Democratic Republic of Congo studying mountain gorillas, Fossey was taken prisoner by soldiers. She escaped and relocated to Rwanda, where she established the Karisoke Research Center. The prevalence of poaching at the time had taught the gorillas to be fearful of humans, but Fossey was able to gain their trust with her quiet patience, diligence, and respect.

In addition to studying the primate, Ms. Fossey and her staff conducted anti-poaching patrols to protect the gorillas and rescue those that were orphaned. Many of the gorillas she studied were killed by poachers over the years, including Digit, who was killed while protecting a baby gorilla. In 1985 Fossey also became the victim of poachers, who saw her as a threat and murdered her. The Dian Fossey Grave Shrine Tour in Volcanoes National Park allows you to walk in Fossey’s footsteps and visit the site where her remains are buried alongside Digit and other gorillas. Spending time at the site and learning about Fossey’s work will connect you to the world’s endangered mountain gorillas in a way certain to be one of the most intimate and heartfelt safari experiences of your time in Africa.

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