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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.