The Karisoke Research Center was founded in 1967 by the late Dian Fossey, a famous American zoologist who dedicated her life to studying the mountain gorillas in the Virunga ranges of Rwanda. The gorilla center was strategically situated between Mount Karisimbi & Mount Bisoke which accounts for the combination forming the name Kari-soke. After the murder of Dian Fossey in 1985, the center continued its operations to date thanks to funding from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, a non-profit fund created purposely for financing her research and anti-poaching patrols to protect and conserve the gorillas. During the horrific 1994 genocide, the center was closed down as most workers were fleeing to neighboring DR Congo, facility buildings were destroyed and some staff killed leaving the gorillas to the mercy of the Hutu militia.
The continued survival and increase in the number of mountain gorillas in recent years clearly justifies the value of Karisoke research center in Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo. Karisoke’s importance stretches from the locals to the economy of Rwanda through employing over 100 locals, providing education and health and gorilla sensitization services to the community of Musanze.
You can visit the research center during a guided gorilla safari expedition or when climbing Mount Karisimbi or Bisoke. All our Rwanda safari packages include a trip the Karisoke and Dian Fossey’s grave.