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DIAN FOSSEY GRAVESITE HIKE, The hike to the Dian Fossey gravesite is a plus for gorilla trekkers to Rwanda because it’s from this activity that tourists have knowledge of some of the few special people that sacrificed their time and lives for the conservation of Mountain gorillas, the most outstanding being Dian Fossey.

Dian Fossey was an American primatologist who founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in 1967. She is known for dedicating her life to studying the Mountain gorillas until 26th December 1985 when she was murdered by poachers although the mystery to her murder is still unresolved.

The most interesting thing about hiking to the Dian Fossey Gravesite is that tourists have chances (although not guaranteed) of encountering the Mountain gorillas although with few minutes to take photos then continue with the hike. Also, other residents of the Park especially animals such as golden monkeys, elephants, bushbucks, duikers, waterbucks and buffaloes as well as several unique bird species will be encountered during the hike.

How to Dian Fossey Gravesite Hike is conducted

The Dian Fossey Gravesite Hike lasts from 1-3 hours and just like most hikes in Volcanoes National Park, it usually begins with converging at the Park Headquarters at 7:00am. While here, you will meet the armed ranger, tour guides and porters for a briefing then at 8:00am be provided with a walking stick and driven to the base of Mount Bisoke that is the trailhead of the hike.

After 10-15 minutes of hiking outside the Park, you will be rewarded with the mind-boggling views of the Virunga Volcanoes and soon you will see the stone wall that demarcates the Park boundaries in addition to keeping the large mammals especially buffaloes and elephants from crossing over to community land. Your next step will be hiking along Mount Bisoke and through an area that is usually frequented by mountain gorillas and on a lucky day you will see them.

Upon reaching an area at 2967 meters above sea level, you will eventually separate from the Mount Bisoke hiking trail to hike towards the famous Mount Karisimbi while transversing the stunning extension of the Hygenia Hypericum forest between 2900 and 3000 meters above sea level.

Permits for the Dian Fossey gravesite hike.

Permits for the Dian Fossey gravesite hike cost only $75 and can be acquired from the Rwanda Development Board Head offices in Kigali or the Kinigi Park Headquarters (Volcanoes National Park).

Where to stay

Volcanoes National Park as well as the neighboring Town of Musanze has countless accommodation facilities ranging from budget to luxury for every traveller’s desires. You can stay at Muhabura Guesthouse, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi Guesthouse, Da Vinci Gorilla Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge and One&Only Gorillas Nest among others.

What to wear or carry for the Dian Fossey Gravesite Hike

Before heading for the Dian Fossey Gravesite hike, make sure that you have carried your hiking permit, sweater, insect repellant, enough drinking water, passport, energy giving snacks, a rain jacket, a backpack. Also wear waterproof hiking boots, long pants to cover your legs from stinging nettle, long sleeved shirt and gardening gloves to protect your hands from stinging nettles and other unpleasant vegetation while hiking.

How to get to Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park in north-western Rwanda is approximately 3 hours’ drive from Kigali City and can be reached by both private and public means. If you wish to use public means, you will need to catch a bus (between 9:00am and 6:00pm) from the Nyabugogo Bus Station in Kigali heading to Musanze Town. You will later need to hire a cab/taxi or motorcycle to the Park. For private means, hire from reputable car hire companies that will take you to your final destination-Park, accommodation facility or any other tourist sites.

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