Best of Dian Fossey Tomb Trek and the Legacy of Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey tomb trek is one of the most memorable experiences you should be part while on Rwanda gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park. The Dian Fossey hike provides tourists a great opportunity to trace the origins of the Dian Fossey and her work.

This article discusses the legacy of Dian Fossey and also the factors why the trek is worthy and tips for a successful Dian Fossey Hike. 

Dian Fossey

Brief facts about Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey was an American primatologist and conservationist who dedicated her life to the study and protection of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. He was born on 16, January, 1932  and was died on 26, December, 1985.

Dian Fossey together with Jane Goodall are pioneer primatologists. Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Centre in Rwanda in 1967 to aid her daily research activities in the Virunga Region.

During her research time, she spent 18 years studying about the rare mountain gorillas, till 1985 when she mysteriously died.

She was buried nearby her lovely silverback gorilla –Digit according to her will. She is also the brain behind Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund that still conducts activities that Dian Fossey used to do to ensure survival of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

The Dian Fossey Hike

The trek to the Dian Fossey begins in the morning after you have been briefed at Kinigi park offices. The actual walk to the tomb site starts at 8:00 am, and takes you about 2-3 hours to get there. All visitors on Dian Fossey tomb hike will be led by experienced Volcanoes National Park guides.

Visitors with heavy luggage can also hire porters and if you have fitness challenges, you can even embark on a have a walking stick. The Dian Fossey tomb site lies at an altitude of 2967 meters and on a trek; you will branch off from Mt. Bisoke hiking trail. Walk towards/around Karisimbi Volcano, an area that is rich is hagenia vegetation cover.

The Dian Fossey tomb site walk also allows you explore other attractions within the park. Get the exceptional scenic views of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda and the D.R. Congo. As you walk, you may also come across some finest birds and other wildlife species.

How much is hiking to the Dian Fossey tomb site?

Guests on Rwanda safaris and are interested in a trek to the Dian Fossey tomb site require USD 75.

The permit for hiking to the Dian Fossey can be obtained at the tourism offices in Kigali or at Kinigi where Volcanoes NP offices are found. The price excludes the cost for transportation, accommodation and meals.

Dian Fossey Hike

Can I see mountain gorillas on a hike to Dian Fossey tomb site?

There is a possibility of encountering the endangered mountain gorillas, although this is not 100% guaranteed. Alternatively, you can book a gorilla tour and hike to the Dian Fossey tomb site.

Gorilla tour permits for Volcanoes NP are available for booking at USD 1500 per person and because of the high demand; we recommend that you book the permits early.

Is the Dian Fossey trek challenging?

The Dian Fossey tomb site hike accommodates all categories of visitors. Even the inexperienced hikers can make it to the tomb site and back.

The trek leads visitors on an altitude of about 2900 meters and the challenge may arise if you are visiting the park for Dian Fossey hike during the wet or rainy season.

Unlike the dry season, hiking to Dian Fossey tomb site during the wet season can be challenging because it is when the trails become muddy, slippery and the vegetation grows high or even dense.

What should you expect?

Before hiking to Dian Fossey tomb site, ensure that you pack some snacks and enough drinking water, come with waterproof hiking boots, long trousers, long-sleeved shirts, insect repellents, a sweater and more.

During the trek, visitors will be accompanied by experienced park guides. As you walk through the park, there is a chance to see other mammal species, and birds.  

After the trek, return to the lodge or Kigali, and you may tip the team that accompanied you to the Dian Fossey tomb site and back.

Where to stay?

Depending on your budget, Volcanoes National Park has all kinds of accommodation facilities –budget, midrange and luxury. The nearby lodge to Kinigi offices perfect especially for budget visitors is Kinigi Guesthouse.

Other lodges include Bisate Lodge, La Palme Hotel, Sabyinyo silverback Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, and others.

How to reach the park?

Getting to Volcanoes NP is easier by road and you set off from Kigali using a good 4×4 tourist vehicle. The expected driving time should be 2-3 hours and from Kabale or Kisoro, drive through Katuna or Chanika border. Departing from Kinigi, you need about half an hour to get to the park for briefing.

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