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15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda the Heart of Africa

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15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda the Heart of Africa

15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda will be one of the most unique and beautiful nature and wildlife tours 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 that hosts the endangered mountain gorilla, followed by a thrilling cycling safari through one of Uganda’s national parks to see lions, buffalo’s, elephants and much more. Experience the cycling culture in Musanze and ride part of the famous Congo Nile Trail on this 15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Pick up from Entebbe airport

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.

 

Main Destination: Entebbe (City, Uganda)

Accommodation: ViaVia Uganda Entebbe

Budget guest house located in or near Entebbe

Meals & Drinks: Meals at own expense

Drinks not included

 

Day 2: Rwenzori cycle near Fort Portal

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 km ride through small villages and the countryside. On the way we will stop for drinks at one of the most beautiful crater lakes in the area.

 

Main Destination: Rwenzori Mountains (Mountain Range, Uganda)

Accommodation: Rwenzori View Guest House

Budget guest house located in or near Fort Porta

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 3: Crater lakes ride

A 35 or 62km trip along Uganda’s central location of crater lakes. These magnificent sceneries will steal your heart. We will have lunch on the rim of 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 on this 15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda.

 

Main Destination: Ndali Kasenda Crater Lakes (Highlight, Uganda)

Accommodation: The Bush Lodge (Banda)

Mid-range banda located just outside Queen Elizabeth NP

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 4: Rest day or Safari time in 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.

Optional activities at an extra cost: Game Drive, Boat Safari, Chimpanzee tracking.

 

Main Destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda)

Best Time To Visit: January to February and June to July (Dry seasons)

High Season: June to September (Peak time for Uganda)

Best Weather: June to July and January to February (Less rainfall)

Wildlife in Queen Elizabeth NP

Chimpanzee

Elephant

Lion

Buffalo

Hippo

Leopard

Accommodation:The Bush Lodge (Banda)

 

Mid-range banda located just outside Queen Elizabeth NP

Meals & Drinks:

All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 5: Cycling Safari straight 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.

 

Main Destination: Queen Elizabeth National Park (Uganda)

Accommodation: Bulrush River Camp

Mid-range bush camp located just outside Queen Elizabeth NP

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 6:Climbing from savanna 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 visited. 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 meters 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.

 

Main Destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Gorillas)

Best Time To Visit: June to August and December to February

High Season: June to September (Gorilla permits are scarce)

Best Weather: June to July and December to February (Less rainfall)

Wildlife in Bwindi NP

Gorilla

Chimpanzee

Elephant

White Rhino

Black Rhino

Lion

 

Accommodation: Bwindi Guesthouse

Budget guest house located just outside Bwindi NP

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

Day 7: Cycling the monkey trail

Another challenging day of climbing, ranging from single track through rural areas to wide dirt roads 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.

 

Main Destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Gorillas)

Accommodation: Ruhija Gorilla Friends Resort Campsite

Budget tented camp located just outside Bwindi NP

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 8: Sloping down to the lake of many tiny 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 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 take a 45-minute boat ride to the tranquil island where we will stay the night. From the veranda of your cozy wooden hut you will be in a prime position to see and hear the sounds of fluttering herons, cooing cranes and the tweets of weaver birds.

Main Destination: Lake Bunyonyi (Uganda)

Accommodation: Heritage Lodge Habubu

Mid-range lodge located in or near Lake Bunyonyi

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 9 : 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.

 

Main Destination: Lake Mutanda (Uganda)

Accommodation:  Mutanda Lake Resort

Mid-range lodge located in or near Lake Mutanda

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 10: Relax or fantastic gorilla trekking

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.

Optional activity for an additional cost: Gorilla trekking.

 

Main Destination: Bwindi Impenetrable National park (Gorillas)

Accommodation: Mutanda Lake Resort

Mid-range lodge located outside Bwindi NP

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 11:Cycling across the border to the land of 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.

Main Destination: Musanze (City, Rwanda)

Accommodation: Garden House

Budget guest house located in or near Musanze

Meals & Drinks: All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 12: Cycling 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 cozy guesthouse with a view of the lake.

 

Main Destination: Kinunu (Highlight, Rwanda)

Accommodation: Kinunu Guest House

Budget guest house located in or near Lake Kivu

Meals & Drinks:

All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

Day 13: Magnificent panoramic views from the rift escarpment

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.

Main Destination: Karongi (Town, Rwanda)

Accommodation: Rwiza Village Hotel

Mid-range hotel located in or near Karongi

Meals & Drinks:

All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

Day 14: Drive to the capital for some city sightseeing

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 organize your own tour in this extraordinary city. We will meet up again for a farewell dinner to celebrate all the climbing we have accomplished!

 

Main Destination: Kigali

Accommodation: Chez Lando Hotel

Mid-range hotel located in or near Kigali

Meals & Drinks:

All meals included

Drinking water (Other drinks not included)

 

Day 15: Departure from Kigali Airport

Please let us know your departure time so we can arrange your drop off at Kigali airport. Thus the end of 15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda.

 

Main Destination: Kigali

Accommodation: No accommodation (End of tour)

Meals & Drinks:

Breakfast (Lunch & dinner not included)

Drinks not included

End of tour (See Getting There for more details)

Additional accommodation can be arranged for an extra cost.

You’ll be dropped off at the airport.

 

Price Includes

Park fees (For non-residents)

All activities (Unless labeled as optional)

All accommodation (Unless listed as upgrade)

A professional driver/guide

All transportation (Unless labeled as optional)

All Taxes/VAT

Roundtrip airport transfer

Meals

Drinks (As specified in the day-by-day section)

 

Price Excludes

International flights (From/to home)

Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour

Tips (Tipping guideline US$10.00 pp. per day)

Personal items (Souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)

Government imposed increase of taxes and/or park fees

Some meals (As specified in the day-by-day section)

Thanks for choosing bonobos African safari holidays…. we hope to meet again!

Best of 15-Day Cycling in Uganda and Rwanda