Cycling Uganda & Rwanda: The Heart of Africa

DestinationsUganda, Rwanda
Tour MeetsEntebbe, Uganda
Tour EndsKigali, Rwanda
Fly in toEntebbe International Airport (EBB)
Fly out ofKigali International Airport (KGL)
Group Size2-12 riders
Minimum Age18 (on scheduled departures)
428kmTotal cycling distance
43kmAvg distance / day
758mAvg climbing / day

Trip Profile

This is a challenging off road ride with 95 % of the cycling on dirt terrain and 22% of that is single track. We cycle 584 kms in 11 cycling days and climb a total of 9607 m. This is a tough trip due to the amount of ascending and the dirt terrain. However, there are many options to adjust the days' ride in length and or difficulty with the region's vast network of trails. Your knowledgeable local guide will be there to assist you on route options each day.

Vehicle support, which allows cyclists the option to get into the truck, is available on all cycling days, however it will be limited on certain days. When riding on single track the vehicle will meet the group at predetermined points. This will be the case on days 2, 6, 8, 9, 12 and 13. Your guide will give a full briefing the night before the ride.

Suitability: This trip is designed for the experienced cyclist with a high level of fitness. The many climbs we’ll be doing, means that this is a tough trip, and you'll enjoy it much more if you have a good level of stamina and fitness. The distances and gradient each day are not extreme, but getting into the best shape possible for the trip will ensure you get the most from your holiday.

Biking Conditions: Dirt trails over rough terrain, through river beds, and over stony mountain ridges demand good technical skills in handling balance, steering and braking. Experience riding on single track and dirt roads is strongly recommended.

What's Included

  • SpiceRoads jersey
  • Water bottle
  • Support vehicle
  • Guide(s)
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Airport pick up
  • Airport drop off
  • Accommodation
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Ferry/boat fares
  • Trekking

What's Excluded

  • International flights
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips

Nuts & Bolts

Bikes

Because some people can't imagine going on a trip without their own beloved bicycle, we do not provide them as part of this tour. However, you can hire bikes locally for the price listed in the tour pricing section. The bikes are brand name mountain bikes with disc brakes, front suspension, and 24-to 27-speed gearing. If you bring your own bike, please make sure it is a mountain bike, preferably with front suspension, and that it is in good mechanical order.

Bike Repairs

Basic spares and tools are carried by the guide and on the support vehicle, though we cannot guarantee having spares for every conceivable problem. Carrying a basic tool kit, a spare tube and a pump while riding is recommended.

Safety

Wearing a helmet is required on all our biking adventures and is non negotiable. If you do not wear a helmet you will not be allowed to cycle. Your tour leader is trained in first aid and emergency rescue, but to a large degree you must be responsible for your own safety while riding. It is therefore compulsory that you take out travel insurance that will cover you for a mountain biking tour.

Guides

You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 9 people or more we will add another guide to the tour. All our guides are well informed in the history, culture and religions of the area where you are biking and are skilled at passing that knowledge on to you. Your guide is also medically trained and an experienced cyclist, able to handle most minor repairs en route.

The Nitty Gritty

Passports and Visas

It is advisable to obtain an East African Tourist visa for this trip, which allows travelers to travel freely between Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya at most points of entry (please note, this trip only goes from Uganda to Rwanda). To apply for an East Africa visa please go here, and select "East African Tourist Visa" under the "category," and select "Entebbe" as the port of entry, unless you are beginning your travels elsewhere.

The East African visa application costs US$ 100, and approved visas are valid for 90 days days starting from the issue date. Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

Health

For travel into Uganda, some doctors recommend getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, as well as for rabies and typhoid. Visit your medical professional to confirm what precautions you should take, specifically regarding cholera and malaria. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers over 1 year of age.

Weather

With no true winter or summer, Uganda has a relatively steady temperature all year. January and February are hottest, averaging 24-33°C up to 40°C further north. The south has rains from mid-September to November and then from March to May. December to February and June to July are “dry seasons” in that there’s less rain. With 1,000 to 2,000 mm in rain annually, it can rain at almost any time. In the north, such as around Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley, there is one continuous wet season from March to November before it goes dry season from December to February.

Food

Meals are included as per the itinerary where B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner. Ugandan cuisine draws on English, Arabic, and Asian, especially Indian, influences to cook up local produce. Matooke (green bananas) is boiled or steamed then cooked in or served with a sauce of peanuts, beans, fresh fish, or meat. Luwombo and ugali are traditional Ugandan dishes, comprising a stew of either chicken, beef, mushrooms, or fish steamed in banana leaves. We’ll make sure you get to sample a large variety of local cuisine. Vegetarians may struggle outside of major towns, but we will do our best to cater to any special dietary requirements. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Money

The official currency of Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling. US Dollars are widely accepted (make sure they are printed after 2006), but you should have some shillings handy for small purchases. There are ATMs that except foreign VISA cards in the bigger towns and cities, and make sure you plan ahead as most places outside Kampala will not except credit cards.

General booking info

Booking

If this is the tour for you here's what you need to do to confirm your place: Read our Booking Conditions

From the tour page click the 'Book Now' link. All departures for this tour will appear, just select the date you'd like to travel. There is a minimum number of participants (usually 2) required to enable the trip to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to Depart'. Once a trip is guaranteed to depart you are free to book your flights and make other travel arrangements. If you are unsure about the trip status, please email us or call our office. For the next steps you'll need to know the names of the people traveling and have either a Visa or a MasterCard. If you wish you can also provide extra details such as passport numbers, height, or you can add that later by logging into Manage My Trip (we'll set up an account for you automatically if you don't already have one). However, if you wish to get a children's discount, please do fill out the date of birth of the riders. If you are having any problems, please send us an email, or give us a call (+66 2 381 7490) and one of our travel specialists will assist you with your booking.

Deposit

For Long Tours (7 days or more) to guarantee your place we require a 30% or 500 USD deposit, whichever is the greater. For Short Tours (6 days or less) we require full payment to guarantee your place. We also require that you take out travel insurance when you book your holiday. Besides covering you during your holiday it will also enable you to claim for any money that you have paid to us, including your deposit, should you have to cancel your trip.

Balance

Full payment must be paid 45 days before the departure date with fees for any bicycle rental(s), single supplement(s) and extra hotel nights. Our confirmation will include personal details you provided us (including your flight information), visa application advice, a packing suggestion list and a detailed tour itinerary. It will also include a checklist to ensure you get everything ready for your holiday.

Cancellation Policy

On the rare occasions when we, SpiceRoads, must cancel a trip, all payments received to date will be 100% refunded, which constitutes full settlement. There will be absolutely no deductions. If you, the client, must cancel your reservation, your cancellation fee will be determined according to when you cancel. For full details, please read our cancellation policy.

Loyalty Riders Club

For those who have been on several long tours with us we reward customer loyalty by offering repeat customers a special discount off the tour price (excludes single supplement and bike rental). If this is your fourth scheduled tour or more you will receive a 5% discount. If this is your eighth scheduled tour or more we will extend a 10% discount. The discount will be reflected in your online booking, but please contact us if any questions. Loyalty discounts can not be used in conjunction with any other offer. Note: Only tours of 7 days or more will be applicable for loyalty discount.

International Flights

International flights, to and from the start and finish points are not included in the tour price. Once your tour is Guaranteed to Depart you can book your flight. Please contact us for advice before arranging flights for the best arrival and departure times. We would only cancel a trip for an extreme circumstance, but in that case, where we cancel your trip, we cannot be liable for losses incurred relating to any flight booking you have made. Please claim any losses from your travel insurance that you acquired when you booked your holiday.

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