21 Aug

There is a network of highways connecting all thirty districts of Rwanda. However, I don't always use tarmac roads. Sometimes, I prefer off-the-beaten paths. The roads less traveled, in the remotest parts of the country, enable adventurers to discover hidden gems. 

I had exhilarating off-roading experiences from Bugesera to Ngoma, Kirehe to Kayonza, Gakenke to Burera and Musanze to Ngororero. Between Rubavu and Rutsiro, I decided to ride along a short stretch of the Congo Nile Trail before curving to the Kivu Belt Road, en route to Karongi.

Named after the divide separating the drainage basins of Africa's longest rivers, the trail is popular with cyclists and trekkers from all over the world. It spans the distance of more than 200 kilometers from Rubavu to Rusizi. 

Different tour operators offer ten-day and five-day walking and cycling packages respectively. The whole passage is marked. That means, one can embark on the physically taxing journey without a guide. Getting lost is not a concern whatsoever. Guest houses and campsites are strategically located along the way.

I had covered stretches of the Congo Nile Trail before. Last year, I walked from Nyamyumba Beach to a lakeside village known as Cyimbiri. This time round, I covered the same stretch on two wheels. 

Along the way, I experienced life in rural Rwanda and developed new skills. In addition, I pondered the mysteries of the Albertine Rift and other geographical features. I will share a detailed account of this memorable ride and its stopovers through the next post. Stay tuned.