Recently a group of Chinese tourists visited Dian Fossey graveyard in Karisoke Research Center, Musanze district. This comes in the backdrop of Rwanda and Chinese governments joint efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to Rwanda.
Even though golden monkey and mountain gorilla trekking are the focus for majority of travelers to the Volcanoes National Park, a hike to the graveyard of the American Primatologist Dian Fossey, who sacrificed her life to save the gorillas, has become among the most significant attractions in Rwanda.
Furthermore, the Chinese visit to the graveyard also came hot on the heels of the director of Guangzhou tourism municipality Liu Yumei pledging to work together with Rwandan officials to promote tourism which would see more Chinese tourists visiting Rwanda. He made the remarks during the closure of a three-day Guangzhou international travel fair 2018.
In June 2018 a Chinese businessman, who has been operating in Rwanda for the past eight years, launched a travel agency, HuaLu Hills International Travel Co Ltd”, which he believes is going to bring thousands of Chinese tourists to Rwanda.
According to press reports, Duan XinJian, popularly known for building elevators and running a massage and sauna parlor, organized a tourism and cultural event last month called “Seeking the beauty of Rwanda”, in collaboration with “HuaLu Hills International Travel Co Ltd”, and “Beijing Central Television Sailing Film and Television Co. Ltd” to promote Rwanda as a tourism destination for the Chinese market.
In April 2018, the Rwanda Development Board showcased the country’s travel and tourism attractions at this year’s China’s Outbound Travel and Tourism Market. China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market is a leading travel trade show in the Asian nation.
In as much as gorilla and golden monkey trekking remain a major focus for most travelers to Volcanoes national park, a hike to the graveyard of Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who sacrificed her life to save the mountain gorillas is worth doing.
The graveyard hike has become an exciting learning experience for travellers through providing them in-depth understanding of the beginning of gorilla tourism in the Virunga massif and how Dian Fossey sacrificed her own life to save the mountain gorillas which were on the verge of extinction.
Dian Fossey funded several projects to protect the primates, hired patrols to arrest poachers and gorilla doctors to treat injured gorillas in poaching. Her efforts drastically reduced poaching in the Volcanoes National Parks.
Dian Fossey graveyard symbolizes conservationist heroism, myatery and beauty all rolled in one. It was here that she was based during her 18 years of studying the endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. Also, it was here that she was murdered in 1985, under mysterious circumstances, in her cabin, and where she was subsequently buried – next to her favourite gorilla Digit. This place is now serves as some type of a remote pilgrimage site. It is reached on a strenuous but extremely scenic hike.
According to source from the center, Digit was buried, alongside other dead gorillas, near Fossey's Karisoke research station. Nobody knew back then that Fossey herself would join him there a few years later …
A visit to her graveyard and the Karisoke Research center in Musanze is an appreciation of her heroism, great love for the gorillas, and the tragedy of her death that marked the starting point of gorilla tourism in Rwanda and the Virungas.
China and Rwanda have been enjoying good bilaterial business relationship among businessmen from both countries through import and export of goods between the two countries.