The essence of the hike to Dian Fossey’s research base
Relive the story of famous gorilla researcher Dian Fossey as you hike to the site of the Karisoke research base, which she established. Reached by a three to four-hour hike through picturesque stretches of forest, the former base is set at a scenic altitude of 3 000 metres (over 9 000 feet) and is tucked between the steep summits of two volcanoes, Mount Visoke and Mount Karisimbi. Spend some time reflecting on the future of these endangered creatures in the abandoned graveyard where Fossey’s favourite gorillas are buried and where she herself was ultimately laid to rest.
Similarly to the mountain gorilla tracking safaris, the hike to Karisoke pays homage to Fossey, who for 18 years made incredible discoveries about these magnificent primates. Initially these gorillas were wild; their only interaction with humans was contact with ruthless poachers. Fossey in her study and love of these animals managed to create a trusting relationship and today these phenomenal animals see humans as mostly nonviolent and nonthreatening.
Slowly and respectfully Fossey habituated the wary, cautious and isolated apes to her presence so that she could be near them to observe their daily lives. Accurately and dutifully, she chronicled what they ate and how they vocalised and she studied the intricate hierarchies and social relationships among the four groups in her study. This is all noted in her extraordinary memoir Gorillas in the Mist.