distance: 350-550km

6,000-9000m climbing

95% off-road

10 days of riding


15 DAY CYCLING ADVENTURE THROUGH UGANDA AND RWANDA
The trip through Uganda and Rwanda will be the most unique and beautiful nature and wildlife mountainbike trip you will ever make. You will get the best of two countries in one trip! We’ll cycle past breath-taking lakes and through the jungle of one of world’s only habitats of mountain gorilla’s, followed by a thrilling safari ride on your iron horse through one of Uganda’s national parks to see lions, buffalo’s, elephants and much more. Experience local culture by riding through beautiful African villages and meeting its friendly inhabitants, while slaloming between magical crates lakes with a backdrop of Uganda’s massive mountains: the Rwenzoris or Rwanda’s highest peak, Mount Sabyinyo. And don’t forget about the magical lake Bunyonyi and Kivu. Too much to mention!

 

But be aware, you’ll have to work for it! We’ll cycle from Fort Portal in Uganda to Kibuye in Rwanda and will cover around 350-550 km with quite some elevation meters (6000-9000 m). This is not for the faint-hearted, but very much do-able if you have an adequate fitness level. The cycling distance and can be adjusted to your personal preference. Every day you can choose to do either a long route or a short route.

Route Overview
Route Overview

Detailed itinerary

Day 01: Airport Pick-up

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 your guesthouse in Entebbe. If your flight arrives early you can explore the city, walk on the beaches of Lake Victoria or visit the zoo or botanical garden.

 

Day 02: Transport & Rwenzori Views

A long morning transfer takes us to Fort Portal, Uganda’s greenest city. Though there is no longer a fort, the town is known as the heartland of the nearby tea-growing area and sits under the majestic Rwenzori Mountains. After lunch we will test the bikes with a 25 to 50 km ride through small villages and the countryside. End the day with a sundowner at one of the most beautiful crater lakes in the area.

 

Toughness Distance 50km
Technicality Altimeters +621 / –547 m

 

Day 03: Crater Lakes

A 35 or 62km trip along Uganda’s central location of crater lakes. These magnificent sceneries will steal your heart. We will have a picnic lunch at one of the crater lakes and if it’s a hot day we can go for a swim. After lunch we will continue our way until we reach the main road. While we will experience a typical Ugandan bar and have some end-of-the-day drinks, the bikes will be loaded on the van. A 2-hour car transfer will bring us to the border of Queen Elizabeth National Park. On the way we will cross the equator where we will stop for a photo. We overnight safari-style, sleeping in tents, with animals roaming in and out of the camp and the sounds of hippos and hyenas accompanying our star-lit dinner.

 

Toughness Distance 62km
Technicality Elevation +905 / –1315 m

 

Day 04: Safari Queen Elizabeth National Park

A perfect location for a rest day in an amazing environment full of magnificent wildlife. Enjoy one of the optional activities to explore wildlife in and around the park. A game drive in the morning will give you a good chance of viewing elephants, buffalo, antelopes, track down a pride of lions, or maybe even the odd leopard. Or go on a boat safari on Kazinga Channel, which attracts a varied range of animals and birds, with one of the world’s largest concentration of hippos and numerous Nile crocodiles. Also know that Kyambura Gorge where Chimpanzees and other monkeys can be seen, is just around the corner.

 

Day 05: Ride through Queen Elizabeth National Park

An exciting day as we cycle directly through the heart of Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to 95 mammal species and over 500 bird species. We ride on a flat, wide gravel road through the savanna and have the chance to see wild animals such as buffaloes, elephants, several types of bocks and maybe even the famous tree-climbing lions whose males sport black manes. Don’t worry, our vehicles will be driving right behind you and you don’t need to worry about being lunch for any animals. Our lodge tonight is on the Ntungwe River.

 

Toughness Distance 76km
Technicality Elevation +204 / -220 m

 

Day 06: From savannah to jungle

A marvelous change of scenery today as we leave the flat savanna behind and climb up to the rainforest. On the way we will pass by a lovely tea plantation that can be visisted. Expect a challenging ride with just under 1,000 m of ascending ahead of us. Considered the world’s capital of gorilla tracking, our destination Buhoma lies at 1,500 metres above sea level. In the afternoon we can go for a short hike along the river and through the village to visit some local projects.

 

Toughness Distance 60km
Technicality Elevation +931 / -395 m

 

Day 07: Monkey trail

Another challenging day of climbing, ranging from singletrack through rural areas to wide dirtroads straight through the rainforest. We will be on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, thusly named for the thick stands of bamboo and ground cover of ferns, vines, and other plants that severely hinder direct access on foot. This is also home to half the world’s population of the highly endangered mountain gorillas. As we will be high we have some stunning views to take in. It is very likely that we will encounter a monkey or two, and if we are really, really lucky a family of mountain gorillas. We will start our day at 1,500 m and end it at 2,300 m, so expect a chilly evening when the sun goes down. Our cottages will be basic tonight, but with a superb view over the forest.

 

Toughness Distance 56km
Technicality Elevation +1535 / -735 m

 

Day 08: The lake of the 1,000 small birds

We will cycle straight through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in order to reach civilization again. Though we descend more overall than we climb, it doesn’t mean we won’t still have some major hills to tackle today. Once out of the forest we will see some impressive terraced fields where the locals grow a variety of crops. Be sure to look out for island-dotted Lake Bunyoni in the distance. Meaning “the place of little birds” the lake is believed to be Africa’s second deepest and has 29 islands of all shapes and sizes. We will have lunch on the shore of the lake and afterwards take a 45-minute boat ride to the tranquil island where we will stay the night. We will have lunch on the shore of the lake and afterwards you have a choice – take a 45-minute boat ride to the tranquil island where we will stay the night, or continue riding for 20 km more to another boat landing. This boat ride will be just 10 minutes. It will be a treat to sleep in open-air geodomes crafted from local materials. From your veranda you will be in a prime position to see and hear the sounds of fluttering herons, cooing cranes and the tweets of weaver birds.

 

Toughness Distance 40km
Technicality Elevation +692 / -1056 m

 

Day 09: From lake to lake

After a refreshing swim in the morning we’ll take the boat 45 minutes to the mainland. Today we cycle to another lake, but there are a few hills in our path. We will be riding up and down most of the day as we pass many villages and farms growing on primarily red dirt roads. The Virunga Volcanoes tower around Lake Mutanda. Six of the volcanoes are dormant, but two erupted as recently as 2010.

 

Toughness Distance 40km
Technicality Elevation +692 / -1056 m

 

Day 10: Relax or hike?

Have a wonderful relaxing day in your hammock and enjoy the beautiful view over Lake Mutanda. Or do something that you will remember the rest of your life: go track the wild mountain gorillas in their natural environment. Due to the nature of tracking wild gorillas, who move throughout the forest in small family groups, tracking is tricky and is conducted based on where rangers believe the groups are and will go that day. To minimize impact of human tourists on the gorillas, tracking group size is kept to a minimum. The rangers are expert trackers, but in some cases it can take some time to find the gorillas. The hike through dense vegetation can take up to 4 hours. Once they have been located, trackers are allowed to observe for a maximum of 1 hour.

 

Day 11: Crossing the border to the land of the 1000 hills

We leave our peaceful retreat behind and start cycling along the lake towards the Rwanda border. We again ride on dirt tracks and have some slow and steady climbs ahead of us, but we also have a descent to the border and our overnight in Musanze. From Musanze we will have a front row view onto Volcanoes National Park, where zoologist Dian Fossey had her base. Our guesthouse is centrally located so feel free to walk around and explore town.

 

Toughness Distance 60km
Technicality Elevation +931 / -395 m

 

Day 12: On the Congo Nile trail

We start today with a transfer of just over an hour to the start of our ride, 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 ride about 100 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 it’s own sandy beach.

 

Toughness Distance 60km
Technicality Elevation +931 / -395 m

 

Day 13: Views from the rift

Our last day of cycling 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. Look forward to a swim in the lake from our hotel.

 

Toughness Distance 60km
Technicality Elevation +931 / -395 m

 

Day 14: To the capital

This morning we say good bye to Lake Kiyu and transfer approximately four hours to Rwanda’s capital of Kigali. After lunch you will have all the time to do a tour in this extraordinary city. We will meet up again for a farewell dinner to celebrate all the climbing we have accomplished!

 

Day 15: Departure from Kigali

Please let us know your departure time so we can arrange your drop off at Kigali 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 (optional)

Personal health/third party/travel insurance

Drinks during and after meals

Costs for optional activities

Rental of bike, helmet and/or GPS device

Flight tickets

Visa costs

Upgraded accommodation (single or self-contained)

Accommodation

Day 01: Cozy guesthouse

Your first night in Uganda will be at a very cozy guesthouse with a spacious terrace overviewing beautiful green garden.  The rooms are basic, but self contained. An ideal location to unwind and get used to all new impressions.

 

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 and 04: 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. Bathroom is shared with other guests. You will sleep peacefully with the sound of hippos on the background.

 

Day 05: 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 06: 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 07: 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 08: 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 09 and 10: 100% relaxing at luxurious cottage

Maybe one of the highlights of the tour. This magical place seems to come straight out of a fairy tale. Spacious and luxurious lodging with great food and a beautiful view over the lake. There is a reason that we are staying here for one extra day. Just relax in your hammock and unwind. No pressure, no stress.

 

Day 11: Lovely room in small guesthouse

A great guesthouse with self contained rooms. You will experience the heartwarming hospitality of the British/Rwandan couple who have been running this place for quite some years.

 

Day 12: Lodging on te beach

Watch the sun go down in Lake Kivu while sipping on a cocktail in front of your tent or cottage. Does life get any better?

 

Day 13: Hospitality at the lake

This basic guesthouse has a nice view over the lake and good food. A great place to end our ride along the Congo Nile trail.

 

Day 14: Comfortable stay in the capital

Great spacious self contained rooms in the capital of Rwanda. Conveniently located near the airport and a superb location to explore Kigali’s highlights from.

Optional activities & Costs
Optional activities:

Activity
Price
When

Hike caves & waterfall

USD 30,-
Day 03

Boat safari Kazinga Channel

USD 40,-
Day 04 or 05

Night game drive QENP

USD 100,-
Day 04 or 05

Chimpanzee tracking Kyambura Gorge

USD 125,-
Day 05

Full day game drive QENP

USD 125,-
Day 05 or 06

Half day game drive QENP

USD 100,-
Day 05 or 06

River hike and community hospital visit in Buhoma

USD 5,-
Day 06

Tea plantation tour

USD 25,-
Day 06

Gorilla tracking

USD 725,-
Day 07

Boattrip Lake Bunyonyi

USD 40,-
Day 08 or 09

Visit Batwa Tribe

USD 40,-
Day 08 or 09
Other tour costs

Service
Price

Bike and helmet rental

USD 250,-

Accommodation upgrade to single room

USD 250,-

Accommodation upgrade to room with private bathroom

USD 400,-

Backpack or Camelbak rent

USD 75,-

GPS device rent (Garmen Extrex 20)

USD 75,-








Tour dates 2020

Feb 16th - Mar 1st
Jun 14th - Jun 28th

Group Tour Price PP

USD 3345,-

Private Tour Price PP

Groupsize = 1pax USD 5710,-
Groupsize = 2pax USD 3715,-
Groupsize = 3pax or more USD 3345,-

Category
Multiday Tours, Tourbike