Travellers' Tales: My African adventure

Cycling UK member Ewan Wilkinson cycled 400 miles across Uganda and into Rwanda

We left the guesthouse in Entebbe, Uganda in the cool of the morning and dropped down to the shores of Lake Victoria. Our bikes were loaded into a small boat and we puttered across the bay. We reassembled the bikes and set off down the dirt road on our journey to Kigali.

There were three of us: me, from the UK; and two Ugandan friends – Bosco, a driver, and Isaac, a computer science student.

Avoiding the busier, more dangerous routes, we used a mixture of dirt and tar roads to weave our way southwest across Uganda. Most of the tar roads were good, many with a metre-wide shoulder, making us feel safer from the occasional bus roaring by.

Some of the dirt roads were hard going: rough with loose grit, and with some steep hills. But we saw so much of rural life away from tourist routes. Children were excited to see a ‘mzungu’, a white person, cycle past. 

After a rest day and some maintenance, we headed off for our last leg. A gradual ascent up the valley became a stiff climb over the ridge. Then it was on to the Rwandan border and a steady slog, with 3,000 feet of climbing, up to our accommodation.

We relished the glorious, 20-mile descent the next morning. The views over the valleys were great. We shared the road with men on bikes laden with 40 litres of milk on the carrier, all heading to Kigali. 

Then we turned a corner and, in the distance, saw a group of multi-storey buildings on a hilltop: Kigali, our destination. Eight miles later we were there.

We celebrated with a banana split, having seen nothing like that for days! We’d ridden 403 miles with no punctures, no hassles and no security problems.

It was a wonderful way to experience rural Africa.

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