World Gorilla Day on Sept. 24,
Celebrated at New Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Go2Africa offers immersive experiences for travelers to support the Fossey Fund
Cape Town, South Africa (September 08, 2022): World Gorilla Day on Sept. 24, 2022, will now be celebrated at the new purpose-built campus in Rwanda – the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
World Gorilla Day recognizes the majesty of gorillas, with whom we share more than 98% of our DNA, and raises vital awareness about the many threats they face. World Gorilla Day, which started in 2017, also marks the day that renowned gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda in 1967. Mountain gorillas live in the Virunga mountains, one of the world’s most biodiverse areas and a forest that plays a critical role in conservation and our fight against climate change.
What started with one woman in a small tent eventually grew into the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (Fossey Fund), the largest and longest-running gorilla conservation program in the world. The Fossey Fund, which is celebrating its 55th anniversary on World Gorilla Day, focuses on daily gorilla protection, science and helping local communities.
“Our direct gorilla protection and ongoing scientific research have helped bring mountain gorillas back from the brink of extinction,” says Fossey Fund president and CEO/chief scientific officer Dr. Tara Stoinski. “We also help local communities located near the gorillas, because we believe that conservation is most successful when people are thriving too.”
In February 2022, the Fossey Fund celebrated the opening of its new Ellen DeGeneres Campus, which is the new permanent home in Rwanda for their work, dedicated to the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. The campus includes a public exhibit designed to educate students, locals and other visitors about gorillas, conservation, the region and the history of Dian Fossey. Visitors can explore state-of-the-art experiences, including interactive virtual reality and 360° film screenings, snack or dine in the cafe, or take in the view of the six volcanoes from the second-floor overlook.
For travelers eager to learn more and contribute to this crucial conservation work, Go2Africa, the award-winning safari operator, has partnered with the Fossey Fund to develop four immersive experiences, including a behind-the-scenes campus tour, a gorilla trek with a Fossey Fund researcher, a conservation masterclass from your hotel, or an educational sundowner on campus. All proceeds are donated to the Fossey Fund’s local children’s outreach program, which invites Rwandan school children to the campus to learn about gorilla conservation and biodiversity.
“We’re excited to have more experiences to offer our travelers in Rwanda. The new campus is a great addition to our gorilla trekking itineraries, if just for a visit or one of our immersive experiences designed to educate and raise funds to support their work in Volcanoes National Park and local communities,” says Maija de Rijk-Uys, Managing Director of Go2Africa.
Four Immersive Gorilla Conservation Experiences with the Fossey Fund
These four immersive experiences can be booked in conjunction with Go2Africa’s Adventurer Rwanda’s Gorilla Trekking tour, which includes accommodations at Volcanoes Safaris’ award-winning Virunga Lodge, a long-standing partner of the Fossey Fund and pioneer of great ape tourism in the region. During their stay guests at the lodge can visit the Dian Fossey Map Room which hosts the permanent exhibition, ‘Conservationists and Explorers of the Virunga Volcanoes,’ which tells the story of the early explorers from 1850 to 1985 when Fossey was killed.
1. Behind-the-Scenes Campus Tour
Get a two-hour guided tour of the new campus with a Fossey Fund researcher, with behind-the-scenes access to their new purpose-built scientific labs and centers.
Minimum Donation: $100 per person over the age of 15, matched by Go2Africa. Minimum donation of $800.
2. Gorilla Trek with Fossey Fund Researcher
Have a Fossey Fund researcher join you on your gorilla trek. The Fossey Fund started as a scientific organization with Dian Fossey’s work in the forest studying the gorillas and their habitat. The Fossey Fund continues to conduct daily gorilla protection and can provide valuable knowledge and insights on the mountain gorillas and their conservation work alongside you on your trek.
Donation: $500 per group (matched by Go2Africa), plus $1,500 gorilla trekking fee.
3. Private Gorilla Conservation Master Class
A great way to start or end your day of gorilla trekking, the Fossey Fund will meet up with travelers at lodges in the campus vicinity for a two-hour master class in gorilla conservation, ready to answer questions or share their favorite trekking stories. The Fossey Fund wants visitors to not only learn, but be inspired and engage with conservation, which these one-on-one conversations will facilitate.
Minimum Donation: $500 per group (matched by Go2Africa).
4. Silverback Sundowner
Enjoy an evening hour with breathtaking views and Fossey Fund staff! Guests are invited to tour the exhibit followed by a private cocktail hour experience at the Virunga Overlook to meet up with gorilla experts to share their experiences and answer questions. A selection of non-alcoholic drinks, wine, and light snacks are included. The silverback sundowner hour is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. This option requires a pre-booking and donation.
Donation: $100 per person. Minimum donation of $500 for groups less than five people.
For U.S. gorilla trekking bookings and inquiries contact:
Go2Africa is a multi-award-winning tour operator based out of Cape Town that curates exceptional, personalized African vacations, specializing in safaris, plus wineland and gastronomy experiences, city escapes, beach, diving, and golf tours across the continent. Since 1998, the team has been committed to building first-hand knowledge of every destination, lodge, and activity they recommend from their 3000+ partners. Working across 15 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, 100% of their revenues stay in Africa, supporting local communities and conservation projects, making a difference long after their clients return home. With an entire team of African-born and raised specialists, including seven named as Conde Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialists in 2022, travelers are in expert hands. From spotting the Big 5 to following the Wildebeest Migration, trekking into the rainforests to encounter endangered mountain gorillas, enjoying world-class scuba diving and whale watching, or simply enjoying sundowner drinks on an endless savannah, Go2Africa can help create the perfect experience to immerse oneself in the magic of Africa - one of life’s most incredible experiences.
About Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund:
Established in 1967 by famed primatologist Dian Fossey, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund works to protect and study wild gorillas and their habitats and to empower people who share the gorillas’ forest home. With a team of more than 240 staff working in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Fossey Fund is the world’s longest-running and largest organization dedicated entirely to gorilla conservation. At the time Fossey began her groundbreaking work, it was predicted that mountain gorillas would be extinct by the year 2000. Instead, they are recognized as one of the world’s few conservation success stories, and recently were moved from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered,’ one step further from extinction.
About Volcanoes Safaris:
Volcanoes Safaris is recognized as the leader in great ape tourism specializing in mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda and Uganda. With four eco-safari lodges, guests can enjoy all the highlights of Uganda and Rwanda in comfort and style while primate trekking through Africa. Guests can also experience and take part in the eco-tourism and conservation efforts with the local communities, developed by the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT).