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Dian Fossey Map Room

The Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge

The Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge has been built in honor of Dr. Dian Fossey, the pioneer primatologist who set up the Karisoke Center high in the Virunga volcanoes in 1967. The exploration and conservation of the Virunga volcanoes is a very interesting and unique story and has been brought together for the first time in the amazing exhibition at the Dian Fossey Map Room at Virunga Lodge.

The Dian Fossey Map Room was opened on 2 March 2017. A permanent exhibition has been set up in the Map Room charting the ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga Volcanoes’ from 1850 to 1985 when Fossey died. The exhibition and catalogue have been curated by Giulia Ajmone Marsan, a writer on historical subjects.

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The Exhibition

The exhibition ‘Explorers and Conservationists of the Virunga Volcanoes’ covers three elements:

– It charts the exploration of the area around the Virunga Volcanoes from the 1850s by the great explorers, including, Speke, Stanley, Kandt and Gotzen

– It highlights the detailed mapping of the area by local administrators in the colonial period

– It provides an overview of the contribution of different researchers, scholars and conservationists who have contributed to the understanding of the mountain gorilla since 1902, when the gorilla was first discovered by Robert von Beringe. This includes the work of Karl Akeley in the 1930s, the simple gorilla tourism started by Walter Baumgartel at the Travellers Rest Hotel in Uganda in the 1950s and the scientific research started by George Schaller’s year with the gorillas in 1959. The research was more formally developed by Dian Fossey setting up the Karisoke Research Center in 1967. Karisoke continues to be run by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International which operates out of Atlanta. Felix Ndagijimana is the current director of the Karisoke Center based in Musanze, Rwanda.

Today a number of gorilla conservation organizations continue to work in the region, in close partnership with the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC to protect the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Just over 1,004 remain in the wild.

For a more detailed overview of the building of Dian Fossey Map at Virunga Lodge and a synopsis of the catalogue ‘Explorers and Conservationists of the Virunga Volcanoes’ please follow this link.

To download the full catalogue please follow this link.

Rates for Dian Fossey Map Room

Rates from $42 per person with food options from $12 per person.

For more information about hosting a meeting, conference or private lunch or dinner at the Map Room please click here to view our information booklet PDF

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To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 years are allowed to go gorilla tracking. For guests booking a stay at Virunga Lodge, please note that the minimum age limit for children at Virunga Lodge is 12 years.

Safari Activities

Chimpanzee Tracking

Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.

Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.