Adventures / Remote Rides

Wild Cycling Expedition in Uganda

Pedal over 400km and cross the equator on an all-terrain gravel biking adventure into the heart of East Africa

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Trip Ref #10544

Adventures / Remote Rides

Wild Cycling Expedition in Uganda

Pedal over 400km and cross the equator on an all-terrain gravel biking adventure into the heart of East Africa

DURATION

10 nights

LOCATION

Uganda

ANNUAL LEAVE

7 days off work

SEASON

Oct-Mar, June-Aug

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Entebbe Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse · Lodge · Safari Tent · Cabin

DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You’ll need a high level of fitness, riding on mixed terrain up to 95km per day, some with big elevation gains

Ride dirt roads and wild savanna on a challenging self-powered journey, through the Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Safari from your saddle in Lake Mburo National Park, and hop on a boat in the Kazinga Channel, eyes open for elephants, buffalo and crocodile

Cycle past tea plantations and into the rainforest on a thigh-burny high-altitude ascent to Buhoma, the gorilla capital of the world

Rest your legs and stargaze at the night sky from characterful lodges and remote safari camps, then drift off to the sounds of the African bush

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

Included

Guides

Expert, local, English-speaking cycling guides

Accommodation

4 nights in guesthouses, 2 in lodges, 2 in safari tents and 2 in a cabin

Meals

10 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 9 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Equipment

Gravel bike (or MTB if preferred) and support, first aid and safety equipment

Support Vehicle

To hop into if your legs need a rest

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Entebbe Airport

Anytime on Day 1

Ends

Entebbe Airport

Anytime on Day 11

Transfers

Your host will meet you on arrival at Entebbe International Airport and transfer you to your guesthouse accommodation. On Day 11, your host will transfer you back to the same airport in time for your onward flight.

If you wish to arrive before the trip start date or stay on longer at the end, your host can arrange private airport transfers and guesthouse accommodation in Entebbe.

Travel options

There are connecting international flights to Entebbe from various major hubs in Europe.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Safari Tent · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Cabin · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5 – Day 6

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Safari Tent · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Cabin · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Lodge · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Aside from a wonderful array of fresh fruits, Uganda's staple foods are rice (maize flour dough), sweet potato, posho, beans, kalo (millet bread) and matoke (cooked green banana). These are typically combined with a beef, chicken or fish stew. The most famous street food in Uganda is the Rolex (rolled eggs), an omelette rolled in a flat Indian pancake, Kikomando (beans mixed with chapati, Indian pancake) and Nsenene (fried grasshoppers).

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Guesthouses and lodges

You’ll spend 6 nights in characterful, locally-owned guesthouses (in Entebbe and Bwindi) or rural lodges (near Fort Portal and at Lake Mburo) with twin-share or double rooms and private bathrooms. Each of these small businesses partner with our local host in Uganda and have their own unique charm. They also participate in the ongoing development of new cycling routes and sustainable tourism projects in the country.

Bush camps (safari tents and wooden cabins)

On some of the more remote days, you'll stay in safari bush camps, allowing you to get up close and very personal with nature. On Day 3 and Day 7 you'll stay in large twin-share safari-style tents with comfortable but basic furnishings. The camp on Day 3 features shared bathroom facilities. You'll also spend two nights in wooden cabins in similar bush camp style surroundings, Day 4 at Bull Bush River Camp and Day 8 on Habuharo Island. With Day 4’s accommodation also having shared bathrooms.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked throughout the full trip for an extra charge, see Optional Extras. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Uganda!

Upon arrival, you'll be met at Entebbe Airport and transferred to a guesthouse on the edge of the city. You’ll then be able to relax into the local vibe and prepare yourself for the adventure ahead. Depending upon your arrival time it may be possible to do your bike fitting this evening.

Day 2

Road trip to Fort Portal then the pedalling commences

Driving

5 hrs

Cycling

39km · 578m up · 809m down

In the morning you’ll hop in a van (approx. 5hrs) westwards towards your starting point at Fort Portal where you'll stop at a picturesque farm for some lunch. Time to get comfortable with your bike. The first ride involves some wide gravel roads through small villages against the backdrop of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. There are some short sections of non-technical single track and the ride ends with a small climb to your lodge for the night, situated on the edge of a crater lake.

Day 3

Ride across the equator

Cycling

95km · 486m up · 836m down

Today is a big one! You’ll begin with an initial downhill section followed by a pretty flat long stretch to the end. The dirt roads start wide, then onto smaller fire roads before ending on paved tarmac. Keep an eye open for wildlife today as you progress further and further into the wild. The ride starts in the northern hemisphere and finishes in the southern hemisphere, where you'll camp at a bush lodge and enjoy a star-lit dinner.

Day 4

Boat safari and into Queen Elizabeth National Park

Safari

2 hours

Cycling

76km · 354m up · 336m down

You’ll rise early for a boat safari on the Kazinga Channel where lots of wildlife come to drink at the river bank. You might even spot hippos if lucky, returning from their nocturnal grazing. The Kazinga Channel is the world's largest concentration of these marvellous animals. It is also home to Nile crocodiles, snap snap. Afterwards you’ll hop back on the bike and pedal through Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to 95 mammal species and over 500 bird species. The terrain is a flat, wide gravel road through the savanna, with the support vehicle following closely behind. Keep your eyes peeled for buffalo, elephants or even tree-climbing lions. You’ll stop at a simple bush camp located near the Ntungwe River where you’ll bed down for the night in a wooden cabin.

Day 5

Up into the jungle

Cycling

58km · 967m up · 509m down

Leave the flat savanna behind, passing tea plantations as you climb up into the rainforest to reach Buhoma, the gorilla capital of the world. The ride features some dramatic changes in landscape and scenery and will feature some extended ascents as you climb at altitude from 952m up to 1421m above sea level. Thigh-burny bliss. You’ll finish at a guesthouse run by a cycling enthusiast, where the proceeds help to fund the local hospital.

Day 6

Rest, ride or go looking gorillas

Rest your legs today, relax in your hammock and enjoy the beautiful view over Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Tomorrow is another big ride. Alternatively, if you'd like to stay on the move then there is a short but very hilly 30-40km ride out.

As an optional day trip (not included in the price, see FAQ section and Optional Extras) you can opt to go wild mountain gorilla tracking. These treks are kept to small group sizes with expert rangers guiding you through dense vegetation. It can take up to 4hrs of walking to locate the gorillas and a maximum of 1hr observation time permitted, keeping a respectful distance to minimise the impact of human presence. Note that early bookings and full payment are required in advance.

Day 7

Through gorilla country on the monkey trail

Cycling

45km · 1525m up · 630m down

Today is a short but tough climb on gravel and compacted dirt roads amidst lush green jungle. The route skirts the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, justifiably named for its thick ground cover of vine plants and bamboo. Half of the world's population of highly endangered mountain gorillas are located in this area and if you are really lucky then you may see a family near the roadside. You'll likely see other monkey species whilst cycling along. The riding involves an undulating first 15km or so and then a long climb spread over much of the remaining 35km as you gain some significant altitude to finish the day. You'll start the day at approx 1500m and end at 2300m above sea level so expect a chillier evening when the sun sets. Tonight you’ll sleep in simple canvas safari tents, with views over the forest.

Day 8

Ride to Lake Bunyonyi and Habuharo Island

Cycling

66km · 1408m up · 1752m down

The day begins with more challenging riding through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with some sharp climbs thrown in as you rise to a maximum altitude of 2522m after the first 15km. From here you’ll descend down undulating roads for the majority of the day, with a tough climb around the 50km mark. Whilst tackling the hills today you'll leave the forest landscape behind and transition into terraced hills, sculpted for agriculture. Keep an eye out in the distance for Lake Bunyonyi appearing on the horizon. Known as the lake of 1000 small birds, it is believed to be Africa's second deepest lake. The ride ends at the water's edge where you'll enjoy a 20-minute boat crossing to the tranquil Habuharo island, your home for the night.

Day 9

Lake Mburo walking safari

Driving

5 hrs

Safari

3 hrs

Leaving the island behind, you’ll hop in the van driving northeast away from the Rwanda border. By lunchtime, you'll have arrived at the entrance to Lake Mburo National Park. In the afternoon you’ll get the chance to explore the area on foot on a walking safari where hopefully you'll see zebras and warthogs before kicking back at your atmospheric lodge.

Day 10

Safari ride at Lake Mburo

Cycling

54km · 549m up · 549m down

Driving

4 hrs

Breakfast overlooking the edge of the national park provides the first wildlife-spotting opportunity of the day as animals often approach the bush camp to graze. The last ride is a comparatively shorter one along the border of the national park where you may see zebra, antelope and buffalo in the road. This afternoon there is a road transfer crossing back across the equator in to the northern hemisphere and onwards to Entebbe.

Day 11

Bye bye Entebbe

All good things must come to an end. Depending on the time of your onward flight (drop-off transfer included) you may have time to explore the beaches of Lake Victoria or visit the botanical gardens. Should you wish to book extra nights in Entebbe to extend your stay independently then contact your host in advance.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

BIKE

  • Gravel Bike (or front suspension MTB if preferred). Bikes are available in a range of frame sizes and come ready to ride, although you are welcome to bring your own pedals and seat should you wish.
  • Giant Revolt 1, with 2x10 gears and hydraulic brakes and 40mm tyres
  • Giant Talon 0 MTB, 2x10 or 2x11 gears with 29-inch wheels and hydraulic disc brakes

What do I need to bring?

CYCLING GEAR

  • Helmet (compulsory to use - note that some are available in Uganda if you do not want to travel with your own)
  • Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
  • Pedals and saddle if you would rather use your own (these will be fitted to the bike for you - some SPD pedals are also available from the host in Uganda)

BAGS

  • Softshell duffel bag or rucksack
  • Small daypack, bumbag or frame/handbar bag to carry basic essentials while riding

CLOTHES

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Sports top or cycling jersey
  • Fleece jacket or similar for the evenings
  • Trousers/leggings for the evenings
  • Waterproof rain jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • Trekking clothes if booking optional extra activities
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Toilet kit (toilet paper, biodegradable bags to carry paper out to dispose of)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable 1 litre water bottle
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system

Gorilla Tracking Bwindi (Day 6)

Payable Before Departure

Gorilla Tracking Bwindi (Day 6)

Per Person

Single/Double/Twin Room in Entebbe

Payable Before Departure

Single/Double/Twin Room in Entebbe

Per Night

Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 493kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

It's no secret that we love cycling and many of us at HQ think it's the best way to see a country, however, we realise that organising your own trip can be a total faff. On our cycling trips, we've found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We even send a van that transports your overnight luggage and provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although they're welcome too!

This is a challenging point-to-point cycling expedition with some tough elevations to conquer on mixed terrain - elevation gains on two days exceed +1400m. To be able to optimally enjoy the experience you'll need to be fit, really fit. This means preparing for your trip with regular riding in the months prior to departure. Additional factors to take into account for Uganda are the higher temperatures, high altitudes and back to back riding days. Aside from good fitness, you don't need to have any technical cycling ability or bike maintenance skills to complete this trip, but previous experience riding non-tarmac roads on a gravel bike (rigid fork, drop bars) is recommended as is a keen sense of adventure. You'll have an attentive team of local cycling guides with you to assist and encourage with all aspects of the activity, and the support of at least one vehicle at all times.

The price includes the rental of a high-spec aluminium framed gravel bike (Giant Revolt 1, with 2x10 gears and hydraulic brakes and 40mm tyres), the perfect companion for the varied terrain that you'll be tackling in rural Uganda. The local host has a small precious fleet of imported bikes and spare parts, including a full span of frame sizes.

Should you prefer to instead ride the tour on a front-suspension mountain bike (Giant Talon 0 MTB, 2x10 or 2x11 gears with 29-inch wheels and hydraulic disc brakes), then this option is also available, just specify with the host after booking.

As an optional extra, if you want to see these incredible animals in the wild then there is the possibility to do so on Day 6 when in Buhoma. Arranging this does require a bit of forward planning, however, so please request this optional extra early on with your host to avoid disappointment.

Gorilla viewing permits are limited and therefore subject to availability, with the distribution controlled by a governmental agency. If you request a permit to view the gorillas as part of your trip, this requires a non-refundable upfront payment of the full amount. No changes can be made to permits once requested - as per the rules set out by the Ugandan Government. Therefore if you change your trip departure date, or cancel your booking you will not get a refund on your permit.

Gorilla health is taken very seriously in Uganda. This means that if you are ill (even the slightest of colds), you will be unable to visit them. The government agency does not offer refunds so if this was to occur you will need to try and claim this on your travel insurance (please check that you are covered for such an eventuality).

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. As a guideline, we suggest budgeting for approx. 5 USD (or equivalent) per guide, per day of the tour. Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The support vehicle carries large 20L water bottles that will be refilled along the route. There will be multiple stops per day during the rides where you will regroup with the support vehicles and where you can refill your bottles.

Read our MBA guide to water filter bottles here

Temperatures in Uganda typically stay around 25-29 degrees Celsius the whole year round, with very little fluctuation between seasons. It can be a bit colder in higher mountainous areas such as the Rwenzori Mountains, Bwindi and Kisoro in the West, and Mount Elgon in the East. Uganda has two slightly cooler seasons: from March to May and from September to October during which you might encounter some rainfall. The hotter months are from December to February.

Yes. You can leave any excess luggage items in the hotel in Entebbe. You should only bring one softshell bag and a smaller backpack on the tour, and plan to leave any hard cases in Entebbe.

Yellow Fever vaccination is required for all travellers to Uganda.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

No. You'll need to have a main softshell bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you in the support vehicle. In addition to this main bag, you might want to bring a smaller backpack, for ease of access either from the vehicle or to wear on your back. You might want to cycle with a small daypack if you prefer to ride with some items on your person - although this is down to personal preference.

Yes, all travellers to Uganda, regardless of nationality, are required to apply for and obtain a visa prior to travel. British travellers can see the UK FCDO Uganda Travel Advice for a link to the online application form. A single entry visa costs approx. USD50 and are typically granted within 2/3 days. Travellers are emailed a document to download or print.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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