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Following in the footsteps of Dian Fossey, thirty years on

Following in the footsteps of Dian Fossey, thirty years on

ZOOLOGIST Dian Fossey dedicated over thirty years of her life to researching and protecting endangered mountain gorillas in Africa. The date of 27 December will mark thirty years since her death in mysterious circumstances.

Mountain gorillaIn support of her achievements and to ensure her values are carried forward to future generations, eco-luxe lodge company Volcanoes Safaris continues to make tracking gorillas accessible to tourists in Rwanda, and also organises excursions to visit Fossey’s research centre, which is also the site of her grave.

View from Virunga LodgeView from Virunga Lodge

Fossey’s belief that the mountain gorillas would become extinct by the end of the 20th century spurred her to open the Karisoke Research Foundation in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park in 1967. The centre is currently the world’s best hope for the survival of these creatures, and thanks to its conservation programme, the mountain gorillas of the Virungas are the only great ape species to have increased in number in recent decades. Guests staying at Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge, situated at the edge of the park, can hike into the wilderness to visit the research centre and pay homage to this esteemed primatologist at her final resting place.

Virunga VolcanoesVirunga Volcanoes

Volcanoes Safaris’ 4-Day Virunga Safari offers guests the chance to engage with the mountain gorillas in the forests that are on the slopes of the Virunga volcanoes. Guests can then head back to the comfort of the magnificent Virunga Lodge, which is perched high on a ridge with soaring views of the volcanoes and lakes. Highlights include gorilla yracking in the Volcanoes National Park; a visit to Dian Fossey’s grave and Karisoke Research Centre; golden monkey tracking in the Volcanoes National Park; Intore dance rerformances at the Lodge; and the Mwiko Primary School Community Support Project.

Rates are from £3,638 (US$5,469) based on a minimum of two people travelling on a private safari. Bookings at, or telephone +44 3333 239 740

Volcanoes Safaris contributes $100 from the safari price paid by each guest to the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust, a non-profit organisation affiliated with Volcanoes Safaris. The money raised goes towards conservation activities in support of the projects set up by Fossey, as well as towards important community initiatives.

About The Author

Mike Cowton

Michael Cowton, an outdoors writer, editor and photographer with a passion for nature-based travel and wildlife. He is a former editor of EcoTravel, Outdoor Pursuits, Camping, Lakeland Walker and Which Motorcaravan magazines, and national newspaper journalist.

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