distance: 350km

7,500m climbing

95% off-road

7 days of cycling


10 DAY MOUNTAINBIKING IN RWANDA
Rwanda, the cycling nation in the heart of Africa, famous for its annual Tour de Rwanda, invites you to come and explore its beautiful grounds. This 10-day mountain bike group tour will show you the best that Rwanda has to offer. You will start by exploring the highlights of Kigali which includes a must-visit to the genocide memorial and interesting visit to local market and art scene. Fully supported and guided by our best local guides you will cycle in north-west direction to Musanze followed by a path down south on the famous Congo Nile Trail. You will slalom your way through beautiful tea, banana and coffee plantations, stop for breathtaking panoramic views of Ruhondo and Burera twin lakes, cycle on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains, one of the few remaining natural habitats of the mountain gorilla, explore the banks of Lake Kivu and all of this with a marvelous backdrop of volcanic mountains. Visit small farmer villages and ride single tracks where few tourists go. Rwanda, also called the Switzerland of Africa or Land of a thousand hills, doesn’t have a single horizontal road. This means there are plenty of climbs and descents to enjoy. Are you prepared for this majestic tour?

 

Route Overview
Route Overview

Detailed itinerary

Day 01: Welcome to Rwanda

Welcome to Uganda! Our experienced drivers are waiting for you at the airport in order to transfer you, your bike and other luggage in a safe way to Kigali. If you arrive early you can explore the wonderful capital of Rwanda. Visit the local market, art galleries, milk bar (no joke) and learn about the dark period in Rwanda history at the Genocide Memorial.

 

Day 02: From the capital to the tea plantations

Today will be one of the toughest days of the tour. Lots of climbing meters starting with a 650 metres climb of Mount Jali on the edge of Kigali. The ride will be a combination of nice singletrack and wide dirtroads, ultimately leading to the Sorwathe tea plantations where we will stay the night. You are welcome to learn about the tea growing process and visit the factory. Construction of the factory began in 1975, with tea production commencing in 1978. Today, Sorwathe produces approximately 12% of Rwanda’s tea.

 

Toughness Distance 62km
Technicality Altimeters +1946 / -1346 m

 

Day 03: Angulating to the twin lakes

Today you will cycle a beautiful ride of just over 60km through an area where not many tourist come. Don’t be surprised if little kids will try to get your attention and run along you or even push you up the hill!  You will cycle through a beautiful tea plantation, after which a short tarmac section will lead you to a charming dirt road along a river. After some challenging climbs you will be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view over area. Our final destination of today are the twin lakes of which you will catch a glimpse once and a while. The twin lakes exist out of Lake Ruhondo and Lake Burera. They were named so because they are situated in the same areas and have a physical connection. We will reach the point where the two lakes almost touch each other. Since the lakes are at different levels a hydro power plant was built which supplies power to the whole area. Once we have reached the beach of Lake Ruhondo, a lovely boat ride will take us to our lodge where we will spend the night while startgazing over the lake.

 

Toughness Distance 60km
Technicality Elevation +1172 / -1378 m

 

Day 04: To the gorilla capital of the world

A beautiful day with some good meters going up, but also down. Around almost every corner lies another magnificent view. Expect plenty of breath taking views of Lake Ruhondo. With this and the beautiful backdrop of volcanic mountains you will have your fair share of natural wonders today. Going on mainly wider rocky roads you will slowly approach Musanze, the place where most of world’s mountain gorillas can be found! Dian Fossey used to frequent this town when she was researching these awesome creatures. The day starts with a long climb to wake up those legs. Thank you, Rwanda! We will pass through tiny villages and small patches of agricultural land where maize, beans, bananas and cassava are grown. Around the 20km mark we will pass a small dam. The banks of the lake near this dam are covered with green grass which we will use as a nice blanket during a quick picnic. After lunch a small single track will lead us back to the road we came from. A few climbs and a long downhill will take us to a rare section of flat road. Covered by volcanic stones it reminds of the cobblestone roads of Paris-Roubaix, but then twice as challenging. No worries, when this section is cleared, we will take a well-deserved break to replenish our stock. One last long climb that grows exponentially steeper brings us to another (very rare) flat section of around 10km. Let’s race to our final destination: the training camp of Team Rwanda. It’s fascinating to experience from up close how these professional athletes live, train, eat, train, sleep and train! If you still have some juice left, try to join their afternoon training session. Dinner will be at the best pizza place in town.

 

Toughness Distance 45km
Technicality Elevation +1013 / -810 m

 

Day 05: Ride on the slopes of Volcanoes National Park

Wake up with the sound of roaring gorillas on the background or ….the sounds of bicycle bells. Musanze is the biking capital of Rwanda. You won’t believe how many cyclists you will see pedaling on their massive single speed bikes, uphill, heavily loaded and without slowing down. Today you will be following them up the slopes of several volcanic mountains. A gradually climb to almost 2650 meters high will be required followed by some nice downhill sections. More downhill than uphill. Halfway we will have lunch at Rosamond Carr’s children orphanage. Mrs. Carr owned a flower plantation in a volcanic paradise. She fell in love with Rwanda and stayed there for almost her whole life. She was stalked by leopards, pestered by elephants and cuddled by monkeys and became a close friend of Dian Fossey. After the lunch one of the best downhill flows will follow up to Gisenyi.

 

Toughness Distance 69km
Technicality Elevation +1053 / -1309 m

 

Day 06: Starting the Congo Nile Trail

Today we will jump on the official Congo Nile Trail named for the mountain range, not the country or river. This 227 km trail along Lake Kivu is popular with hikers and bikers and will give us a clear indication of why Rwanda is called the ‘land of a thousand hills’. We will only ride about 75 km in total of the single track and dirt road trail in two days. Cycling this remote track provides us with panoramic views of the Lake Kivu coastline, bright green tea fields and coffee plantations, and an insight into daily Rwandan life. We overnight at a paradise on the lake’s shore, complete with its own sandy beach.

 

Toughness Distance 41km
Technicality Elevation +965 / -968 m

 

Day 07: Lovely ride on the banks of Lake Kivu

Our last day of cycling along Lake Kivu won’t be any less challenging as we continue on the Congo Nile Trail as it undulates inland and then back to the lake. There are a few long climbs with a gradual gradient, but we are constantly ascending and descending. We should have views today on the Rift Escarpment. We hit tarmac for a few sections today, making the riding a bit easier.

 

Toughness Distance 41km
Technicality Elevation +1099 / -923 m

 

Day 08: Visiting Lake Muhazi

After a 4-hour transfer by car we will have lunch in Kigali. After lunch we will jump on our bikes and cycle a relaxing trail to Lake Muhazi. Lake Muhazi is 60 km long, in an east-west direction, but its width is less than 5 km. The lake is noted for its large population of spotted-necked otters and there are a number of bird species around the lake like the African fish eagles, several kingfishers, flycatchers and weaverbirds.

 

Toughness Distance 33km
Technicality Elevation +340 m / -344 m

 

Day 09: Rest day or safari in Akagera National Park

Enjoy today’s restday. Explore the surroundings of lake Muhazi on your own or just relax in a hammock. Optionally you can also have wonderful safari day in Akagera National Park. The park has a large diversity of landscapes and vegetation. From golden savannas to flowing grasslands, swamps, mountains and beautiful lakes. You can find many animal species there and even the big 5! The south of the park has giraffes, rhinos and several birds, while in the north of the park lions, buffaloes, zebras and leopards can be found. You can also find Lake Ihema in the park. In the afternoon this lakes is an ideal escape for a safari by boat. At the end of the day we will travel back to Kigali.

 

Day 10: Departure from Kigali

Depending on when your flight leaves you can do some sightseeing in Kigali or go hunt some souvenirs. Our drivers will make sure you will arrive safely at the airport.

What is included

The mountain bike adventure includes:

Transport to/from airport

Support vehicle

Accommodation

Other transportation that is not optional

Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the trip

Bicycle cleaning and maintenance

English speaking guide and driver

AMREF emergency evacuation insurance

Snacks and water during the trip

The mountain bike adventure doesn’t include:

Tips for staff

Personal health/third party/travel insurance

Drinks during and after meals

Costs for optional activities

Early check-in (before 10am) on day 1

Rental of bike, helmet and/or GPS device

Flight tickets

Costs for optional activities

Upgraded accommodation (single or self-contained)

Accommodation

Day 01: Cozy guesthouse

You will stay at a small and quite AirBnB in Kampala. This is an excellent place to slowly get used to the Ugandan vibe. It’s run by Red Dirt so technical support and feedback are within a hand’s reach.

 

Day 02: Homely feel guesthouse

You will stay at a lovely guesthouse which was the very first guesthouse that opened its doors in Fort Portal. The guesthouse will make you feel at home, not in the least because supper is served at 7pm at one large table for all the guests. The hearth-warming hostess loves to mingle with her guests and will make you feel at ease.

 

Day 03: Adventurous safari tent

You will spend the night at a luxurious tented camp. Located on the border of the national park it offers superb possibilities to view wildlife. The twin safari tents are equipped with comfortable beds and charging sockets. You will sleep peacefully with the sound of hippos on the background.

 

Day 04: Romantic bandas on the river bank

Accommodation is situated in a beautiful setting along a river. Although it’s situated just outside the official borders of Queen Elizabeth National Park you are still surrounded by wildlife such as birds, antelopes, monkeys and an occasional elephant. The wooden bandas are very comfortable and the dining and bar area offer a great view of the environment. If you’re hot and dusty, try the mini-pool to refresh.

 

Day 05: Beautiful view over bwindi national forest

This night you will sleep in a superb guesthouse located at the border of Bwindi Impenetrable NP. Its balcony offers a magnificent view of the park and (if you are very lucky) provides a first row seat for viewing mountain gorillas that come to forage outside of the forest.

 

Day 06: tents on the jungle border

We will spend the night at a camp which consists out of basic permanent tents. However its unique selling point is the magnificent view over the tropical rain forest. You will sleep with the sound of tropical birds and gorilla roaring at the background. Because of the high location of the lodge it might get chilly at night. Don’t forget to bring a sweater. The local population of red tailed monkeys will come to say goodbye the next morning after breakfast.

 

Day 07: Unique geodomes with splendid lakeview

If you are planning to propose, our overnight place in the middle of Lake Bunyonyi is the perfect place for it. The geodomes are thatched huts that are semi-open and offer a view of Lake Bunyonyi that is hard to beat. Even if you’re not planning to ask your partner for eternal commitment, this place has much to offer. Relax at the lakeside or dive into this bilharzia-free lake to wash away the red dirt. Don’t forget to taste their mouthwatering crayfish salad or chocolate rum balls.

 

Day 08: Safari tents in the park

Located at 5 minutes from the Lake Mburo park entrance, this campsite offers you a genuine safari experience. You will do some glamping and hear the roaring sounds of wildlife on the background. You might even spot some antelopes walking up the campsite during breakfast.

 

Day 09: Great guesthouse near Lake Victoria

Your last night in Uganda will be at a very cozy guesthouse with a spacious terrace overviewing a beautiful green garden. The rooms are basic, but self contained. An ideal location to unwind and relax and brag about your adventure at the campfire.

Optional activities & Costs
Optional activities:

Activity
Price
When

Boat safari*

USD 90,-
Day 09

Full day game drive*

USD 125,-
Day 09

Half day game drive*

USD 100,-
Day 09

Gorilla tracking

USD 1525,-
Day 05

Night game drive*

USD 95,-
Day 09
* Price reduction of USD 50,- if in combination with other safari activity

 

 

Other tour costs

Service
Price

Bike and helmet rental

USD 175,-

Accommodation upgrade to single room

USD 250,-

Backpack or Camelbak rent

USD 40,-

GPS device rent (Garmen Etrex 20)

USD 40,-


tour dates 2020

Jul 23th - Aug 1st Sep 3rd - Sep 12th Nov 5th - Nov 14th

Group Tour Price PP

USD 1999,-

Private Tour Price PP

Groupsize = 1pax USD 4099,- Groupsize = 2pax USD 2299,- Groupsize = 3pax or more USD 1999,-

Category
Mountain bike, Multiday Tours