distance: 350km

7,500m climbing

95% off-road

7 days of cycling

 

Please note that all our tours in Rwanda have been moved to 2022

Due to the limited possibility to cross the Uganda/Rwanda border as a result of Corona infused travel restrictions Red Dirt Uganda can’t guarantee a well-organized and timely passage across the border into Rwanda. Red Dirt Uganda has therefor decided to reschedule all planned 2021 Rwanda tours to 2022. Still very eager to ride in 2021? Maybe the 10-day tour in Western Uganda is something for you or check one of our other tours

 

 

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 Rwanda! Our experienced drivers are waiting for you at the airport in order to transfer you, your bike and other luggage in a safe way through 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 / -1346m

 

Day 03: Undulating 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 Altimeters +877 / -967 m

 

Day 04: Let’s go to the gorilla capital of the world

Another day with some good meters going up, but also down. Around almost every corner you might be surprised with another magnificent view. On your route you will have breath taking views of Lake Ruhondo. This, topped up with 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 and will be used as a nice blanket to have a quick small picnic on. 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 steeper exponentially bring us to another 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 a training session. Dinner will be at the best pizza place in town.

 

Toughness Distance 45km
Technicality Altimeters +1193 / -989 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 also the biking capital of Rwanda. You won’t believe how many cyclists you will see pedaling on their massive single speed bikes, uphill and without slowing down. Today you will be following them up the slopes of several volcanic mountains. Check out the altimeters for today’s tour. You will gradually climb to almost 2700 meters high, 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

 

Toughness Distance 69km
Technicality Altimeters +983 / -1328 m

 

Day 06: Rough and tough 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’. In the next two days we will ride only a third of the total trail, which consists mainly single track and wide dirt roads. 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 Altimeters +756 / -732 m

 

Day 07: Lovely ride along the banks of Lake Kivu

Our last day of cycling on the Congo Nile Trail won’t be any less challenging 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 41km
Technicality Altimeters +999 / -827 m

 

Day 08: Moving to the East

Early rise and shine! Today we will drive in approximately 4 hours to Kigali and have a wonderful lunch. After lunch a relaxing, relatively short cycling ride will bring us to the wonderful Lake Muhazi where we will spend the night.

 

Toughness Distance 35km
Technicality Altimeters +600 / -500

 

Day 09: Enjoying a drive safari

Getting up early isnt’t that bad when you know you are going to see some extraordinary wildlife today. Since the reintroduction of the black rhino, Akagera National Park is the only park in Rwanda where you can spot the big five. A knowledgable ranger will join you in your vehicle and guide you around. Can’t get enough? Then a boat cruise on Lake Ihama in the afternoon is something for you. We will stay in one of the fabulous lodges inside the park.

 

Day 10: Back to Kigali

After our breakfast we’ll drive back to Kigali. If you have time before your late flight leaves you can ask your driver to tour you around the city. Feel like staying a bit longer? No worries we got you covered and will book an extra night for you at an additional cost.

What is included

This cycling adventure includes:

Transport to/from airport

Support vehicle

Basic accommodation

Breakfast, lunch and dinner during the trip

Akagera National Park entry fee

Bicycle cleaning and basic maintenance

English speaking guide and driver

AMREF emergency evacuation insurance

Snacks and water during the trip

Game drive in Akagera National Park

This cycling adventure does not 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: Comfortability 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.

 

Day 02: Unique giesthouse in tea plantation

Picture this, waking up surrounded by vast fields of green lush tea bushes as far as the eye can see. While the sun changes the colors of the leaves in 1000 shades of green while slowly rising into the sky, you sip your cuppa and enjoy the peace and quit.

 

Day 03: A room with a view

Situated on a peninsula this lodge has an amazing view over Lake Ruhondo with the backdrop of the old volcanic mountains that form the natural border with Uganda.

 

Day 04: Experience the life of an athlete

You will be sleeping in the middle of the bussling, sweaty and inspiring centre of cycling of Rwanda. Live as an athlete in Africa Rising Centre, home of Team Rwanda.

 

Day 05: Lake Kivu tented view

Basic but ideallic location in Giseny. From your lazy camping spot you have a nice panoramic view of lake Kivu. Awesome sundowners!

 

Day 06: Great place spot on the Congo Nile Trail

This family guesthouse is buid around a cosy courtyard and is located close to a coffee washing station. You can´t get any fresher coffee than here.

 

Day 07: Basic room with green garden

After your last day on the Congo Nile Trail you will be happy to be received in this guesthouse. Basic rooms but trule heartwarming staff.

Day 08: A little treasure at the lake

Relax, enjoy your hammock and sip on your cocktail while watching the sun go down in Lake Muhazi. That´s it. Nothing more.

Day 09: In the heart of Akagera National Park

Fantastic place in the middle of the park. Good food, good view, a swimming pool while watching the big five pass by.

Optional activities & services
Optional activities:

Activity
Price pp

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda*

USD 1525,-

Gorilla trekking in Uganda*

USD 725,-

Half Day Drive Akagera National Park

USD 100,-

Boat Trip lake Ihama

USD 55,-

Guided Kigali Tour

USD 50,-

Tea Plantation and Factory Tour Tour

USD 30,-

 

Optional services:

Service
Price pp

Early check-in (before 2pm) - Room

USD 40,-

Extra day Kigali - Single Room

USD 70,-

Extra day Kigali - Double Room

USD 95,-

Single room upgrade

USD 250,-

Bike & helmet rent

USD 175,-
* This activity can only be organized as an extra day in the programme. Additional fees, depening on your desired type of accommodation, will apply


Other tours that you might like:

dates & prices

group tour dates 2022

January 20th-29th

August 22th-31th

Group Tour Price PP

USD 1999,-

Private Tour Price PP

Groupsize

USD 4099,-

USD 2299,-

USD 1999,

Category
Mountainbike / XC, Multiday Tour, Rwanda, Tours
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