Cycling Uganda & Rwanda: The Heart of Africa

Day 1 Arrival in Uganda

Welcome to Uganda! We will pick you up from the airport and transfer to our nearby hotel in Entebbe. We meet tonight for a trip briefing and dinner.

Viavia Guesthouse

Day 2 Entebbe – Fort Portal

A long morning transfer takes us to Fort Portal and to the edge of Uganda's rainforest. 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 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.

Ruwenzori View Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 25km

Day 3 Fort Portal – Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today is a beautiful and scenic cycle past several volcanic crater lakes and along the Kibale Forest National Park, home to large communities of chimpanzees, over 600 of which live in nests in the tree canopy. 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. One highlight today will be crossing the equator and we will stop for a photo op. We transfer two hours in the afternoon and cross over the Kazinga Channel, a natural waterway that links Lake Edward and Lake George. 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.

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 35km

Day 4 Queen Elizabeth National Park Safari Day

A perfect location for a rest day in an amazing environment full of magnificent wildlife. In the morning we will head out early to do a game drive where we have a good chance of viewing elephants, buffalo, antelopes, track down a pride of lions, or maybe even the odd leopard. We head back to our lodge to rest and in the evening we will go on a boat safari through the 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.

Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 QENP – Ishasha

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'll have the option of another game drive in the morning or afternoon in addition to the day's ride. We'll 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.

The River Ishasha
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 39km

Day 6 Ishasha – Buhoma

A change of scenery today as we leave the flat savanna behind and climb up to the jungle. It is a challenging cycle with just under 1,000 m of ascending ahead of us. We will take a break at a tea plantation on our way up to Buhoma. Considered the world’s capital of gorilla tracking, Buhoma lies at 1,500 metres above sea level. Though the day's ride includes plenty of climbing, the support vehicle will always be available to have a rest. In the afternoon we will go for a short hike along the river and through the village to visit some local projects. Our guesthouse was originally the home to the founders of the community hospital next door. The guesthouse now frequently houses volunteers at the hospital, but also intrepid travelers.

Bwindi Guesthouse
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 60km

Day 7 Buhoma – Ruhija

Another challenging day of climbing, ranging from single track 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. Another big climbing day, but rest assured the support vehicle is nearby if you need to take a break. 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. We overnight at a community-run camp where proceeds go to water projects and a local orphanage. Our cottages will be basic tonight.

Ruhija Community Rest Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 56km

Day 8 Ruhija – Lake Bunyonyi

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 -- bananas, pineapples, maize, sugarcane. Be sure to look out for island-dotted Lake Bunyonyi 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 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.

Byoona Amagara
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 40km

Day 9 Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Mutanda

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.

Mutanda Lake Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 43km

Day 10 Lake Mutanda

A highlight of the tour, today our group will go to track wild mountain gorillas in Rushaga, a 1.5 hour drive from the resort. 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, so there's a chance our group will be split to track separate family groups. Tracking can last anywhere between 1 to 4 hours- remember, these are wild animals moving on their own free will! The rangers are expert trackers, but in some cases it can take some time to find the gorillas. Once they have been located, trackers are allowed to observe for a maximum of 1 hour. You don't get many chances in life when it comes to tracking wild mountain gorillas, so the key to this day is to be flexible and ready to go with the flow!

Mutanda Lake Resort
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Lake Mutanda – Musanze

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. The park remains a haven for the endangered mountain gorilla and golden monkeys. Our guesthouse is centrally located so feel free to walk around and explore town.

Musanze Garden Home
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 65km

Day 12 Musanze – Kinunu

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’. Today's ride is 25 km through the beautiful hills of the Congo Nile Trail, followed by a short transfer to the hotel. You have the option of cycling an additional 21 km the evening's accommodation. Cycling this remote track provides ius 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.

Rushel Kivu Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 25km

Day 13 Kinunu – Kibuye

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 into the town of Mabanza, followed by a short transfer to our accommodation for the night. We should have views today on the Rift Escarpment. Look forward to a swim in the lake from our hotel.

Bethany Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Ride 40km

Day 14 Kibuye – Kigali

This morning we say good bye to Lake Kiyu and transfer approximately four hours to Rwanda's capital of Kigali. After lunch we'll have a city tour to give you an orientation and then the remainder of the afternoon is yours. We will meet up again for a farewell dinner to celebrate all the climbing we have accomplished!

Chez Lando
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15 Departure from Kigali

Please let us know your departure time so we can arrange your drop off at Kigali airport.