Rwanda is a land locked country in east Africa popularly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ because of her various gently sloping hills and mountains. With spectacular views of nature and true African wilderness, the country also has flat lands, lakes, rivers, forests, swamps and above all a cool environment and very welcoming hospitable local people. All these give tourists visiting the country a feeling of home away from home. For so many years now many tourists have been visiting the country to the various national parks in 4X4 wheel drives and others even using charter flights yet the place of a thousand hills can be well explored on just a bike or a cruise on one of the water bodies in the country especially lake Kivu.
The country has several hills and 5 outstanding mountains that can be hiked by physically fit tourists in just few days; additionally, Rwanda also has many biking trails which are very safe and can enable an adventurous tourist to explore the Rwanda’s major tourist attractions in just days. Biking and cruising in Rwanda is very cool and relaxing and there also many stopping areas where tourists especially bikers can rest and get some refreshments. The following are the major biking trails and cruising area one can explore while on a Rwanda biking safari.
The Congo Nile Biking Trail
This is a 227 kilometer trail extending from Rubavu through Rutsiro to Rusizi along Lake Kivu. On this trail, there are beautiful hilly and valley landscapes, evergreen forests, banana and coffee plantations and most interesting the bilharzia and crocodile free Lake Kivu where bikers can swim and relax after a trek. The Congo Nile trail includes both uphill and low land biking across the tarmacked roads as well as the dusty village roads in the remote areas of Rwanda.
This trail can be hiked in only 10 days if one is physically fit and has bike in a good mechanical condition. TheCongoNile trail includes a boat ride and has many stopovers which include the L’Esperance fruit farm, the Muslim market village and Nyungwe forest national park as the outstanding attraction. Tourists can visit the national park for chimpanzee tracking, birding, canopy walks and many other safari experiences. The Congo Nile trail biking experience can however be done in sections by those travelers who do not have the entire 10 days to hike who can do it in five days.
Biking From Kigali to Burundi Border
This is a 40 miles ride south of Kigali on the well tarmacked Kigali Nyamata road. While biking, one gets a chance to feel the cool weather of the country, view of the green vegetation, a view of some hills and large banana plantations. Taking this biking trail will enable one to visit the Nyamata church where many Rwandese were killed during the genocide, a visit to Gashora village and interact with the local Rwandese if interested and a visit to Lake Rumira for birding activities. Tourists on this trail can have an overnight at Nyamata about 30 miles from Kigali or in Gashora at the la Palisse hotel. Tourists are however advised not to cross the border to Burundi because it might be insecure.
Gisenyi to Ruhengeri Biking Trail
This biking expedition covers a distance of about 114.1 kilometers and gives a tourist a chance to view and hike some hills as well as nature walks in some valleys plus a visit to the local communities. This biking experience may take around 7 days.
Gisenyi to Kibuye Biking Trail
This covers about 80 kilometers with great views of Lake Kivu, hills with coffee and banana plantation terraces and a capability of returning to Gisenyi on a boat ride on the fresh waters of Lake Kivu. Tourists can have an over night at the coffee washing station and learn more about coffee growing and processing and probably a visit to the local Rwandese villages.
Gishwati Forest Biking
This may only take about 35 kilometers and can be covered in 2 days depending on the cyclist’s preferences. This biking trail is easy when one is riding from Gisenyi to the Gishwatiforest reserve. On the first day one can ride from Gisenyi and have an over night near the forest reserve and the next day visit the reserve for birding, forest walks and other activities and then ride back to Gisenyi.