Hike to Dian Fossey Memorial

May 21st, 2008, 01:52 PM
  #1  
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Hike to Dian Fossey Memorial

What exactly is at the grave and Research Center? In other words, after you hike 2 hours up and 2 hours back, what do you see besides her grave and what sounds to be a small museum? What is the center like? I am considering cutting it out of our itinerary.

Thanks for any feedback.
ca_vol is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 03:08 PM
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I describe the trek here with pictures.

http://www.go-safari.com/Volcans/ParcFossey.htm

The modern Research Center has moved down to the edge of the Park.

I found the trek surprisingly challenging because it was a bit steep, wet, muddy and swampy in areas. Plenty of stinging nettles.

We heard the gorillas very close during our trek which was enjoyable - I thought I may get a free peek but to no avail!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
May 21st, 2008, 03:11 PM
  #3  
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Finally! Thank you! You are the only person I can "find" who can tell me about it. I am going to read your blog now. Do you think it's worth doing?
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May 21st, 2008, 03:12 PM
  #4  
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I should add that we are already going gorilla trekking.
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May 21st, 2008, 03:14 PM
  #5  
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Sorry for the triple post, but it doesn't look like there is anything there!
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May 21st, 2008, 03:46 PM
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You will need a full morning to do the trek starting at 7am at the sign up until about 2pm to be on the safe side.

If time is of essence it is not worthwhile to spend an extra day to do the Fossey trek. There is very little to see. You have to enjoy hiking and I thought maybe I could see a few gorillas or monkeys along the way!

If you have an extra day and are not an avid hiker (and not enough $$$ for a gorilla trek) then there are other more interesting things do especially the cultural things.
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May 21st, 2008, 05:19 PM
  #7  
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Well, we are already paying to go gorilla trekking and also chimp trekking. I just thought it would be interesting to see but it sounds more and more like it is just a hike to a grave and that is it. Would you agree?
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May 21st, 2008, 07:16 PM
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If I could add my .02 cents...

I think it all depends on what perspective you're viewing the trek from.

I've also visited the old KRC (Karisoke research center) and Dian's gravesite, which is next to the gorillas' graves as well.
The gorillas who have passed, including Digit, her favorite, are all buried next to Dian. Very heart-rending.

I had been an admirer of Dian and her work for many years and for me, it was a very moving, emotional experience. Yes, the trek is tough and I can only imagine Dian's dedication to the gorillas to climb up and down Karisoke for years, especially knowing she had emphysema.
What fortitude this woman had!

It is a beautiful, magical place, lush and green and I completely understand why she picked the area she did to live among the gorillas. (I've been to Rwanda and the Virungas several times.)

Yes, it was chilly up there. And it poured down rain when I arrived at the site, but it was so fitting at the time. I walked around, saw where all the old buildings used to be and where all the researchers and scientists stayed when they continued her work after her death. I spent a long while at the gravesite, much of the time in tears, to pay my homage to Dian and to her gorillas, whom she dedicated and gave her life for.

You could visit the golden monkeys, which I also do each time I visit. They're fun and cute. Or you could climb to the top of Mount Bisoke and spend time at the crater lake.

But for me, the old KRC holds a special place in my heart. It's the place where the protection and conservation of those majestic and wonderful mountain gorillas began. And without Dian's hard work, they probably wouldn't be here today!

If I sound a little partial to the gorillas and Rwanda, yeah, I am! And I wouldn't hesitate to visit KRC again if I had the time!





divewop is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 04:54 AM
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Wow! No, my trek did not invoke the same emotions.

I too read everything about Karisoke. I expected to see more evidence of the buildings and that would've stirred more emotions I guess. But what's left is a rock here, and a small piece of a foundation over there. For me that part was not worth it.

The grave site area was more in line with my expectations. Simple, yet neatly organized. I paid my respects in silence for about 15 minutes and was ready to leave - I was well aware that the way down would be slippery and wet!

Will I do this trek again? No. In general I do not enjoy visiting grave sites. That's just me!
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May 22nd, 2008, 05:18 AM
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Eben...different strokes, I guess. The fact that I was up there with the KRC director and a couple of Dian's old employees who still work for the center probably added to the experience, since I got a more in-depth tour of the area than most trekkers would. Added to the fact that we got stuck in the gazebo for quite a long time during a downpour.

I still think it's one of the prettiest places in the Virungas.

Elsa's gravesite in Meru was just as emotional for me. I was a blubbering basket-case there too.



divewop is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 03:19 PM
  #11  
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Thanks to both of you for the insight. I decided to ax it from our itinerary. I thought there was more to see than what is actually there.

Thank you again!
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