Dian Fossey Trail - Volcanoes Park Rwanda
Dian Fossey was an American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist who undertook an extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years. She came to Rwanda in 1967 to carry out an extensive study of the gorillas in the mountain forests. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. It was adapted into a 1988 film “Gorillas in the Mist”. Fossey was murdered in 1985; the case remains open.
Her anti-poaching campaigns are thought to be the reason that she was murdered in 1985. Her work and dedication to preserving the Mountain Gorillas and her legacy lives on in the village at the foot of the mountain where people gain from the money charged for gorilla permits. Her movie made people aware of the Mountain Gorillas and tourists then began to arrive in Rwanda in search of the Mountan gorillas.
A day or 3 and 4 hour trek (commonly known as Diane Fossey trail) costs 75 USD/person.
The trek starts across fields which relatively gently steepen towards the Park's wonderful dry stone wall.
The hike/trek takes you to the trail, Dian Fossey used with their porters on the way to the research camp. It goes through different vegetation - hagenia trees forest, hypericum trees, meadows with giant lobelia. All the trek is on stable trails, with fantastic views you don’t need to scramble through dense vegetation unlike during the gorilla tracking.
The research centre is on a historic place, where all the stories really happen. There remain some ruins a reminder of the civil war but the guides will give you a lot of interesting information.
There is a burial ground of gorillas next to which is Dian Fossey Tombstone which reads 'No-one loved gorillas more. Rest in Peace dear Friend Eternally Protected in this Sacred Ground for You are Home where you belong'.
The Dian Fossey hike can be done the day before gorilla tracking day or after. The hike gives you a chance to take photos of the different vegetation of the national park forest, and there is plenty of time to enjoy the forest learn more about trees, plants, Diane Fossey and her life, gorillas and their behavior and conservation, about national park and the culture of the people around.