Embarking on a 3-day mountain biking journey along the Congo-Nile Trail, our adventure started in Kibuye and concluded in Gisenyi. Despite not being seasoned bikers, our decent physical fitness and familiarity with biking in Belgium equipped us for this memorable expedition. Experienced mountain bikers might accomplish the trail in just 2 days. If you are not used to ride a bike, it is better to hike it, because the hills are quite steep sometimes.

Day 1 (Kibuye – Bumba)

  • Distance covered: 25 km
  • Elevation: 800m
  • Effective riding: 3h

Renting our bikes from Responsible Travel Africa in Kibuye, the kick-off point of our adventure, we were greeted by our extremely friendly guide ‘Jado’ at Kivu Rebero Lodge at 7.30 am sharp with 3 high-quality bikes. We wanted to skip the initial 5km on the main road and experience island-hopping activity (as Fernanda, who was part of the group, had not done this yet). Therefore, we did the first part by boat. During the boat trip, we encountered small islands and even shared the boat with a curious monkey

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After being dropped off at the shore, the real work was about to start…

Crossing Musogoro River and ascending the northern slopes of Sakinnyaga mountain to Matyazo center, we meandered through banana plantations and closely interacted with local farming communities. Along the Congo-Nile Trail, encountering children in villages was, as always during the CN trail, a common sight.

The day concluded with a challenging climb to Bumba Basecamp, where Ernest, the owner, warmly welcomed us with fresh water, beers, and the local specialty “ROLEX” (= Rolled Eggs 😊).

The view from Bumba Basecamp is absolutely rewarding and stunning.

Day 2: Bumba – Cyimbiri

  • Distance: 42.32 km
  • Moving time: 5h
  • Elevation gain: 922m

Our second day began with a visit to Bumba TVET school, adjacent to the basecamp, catering to around 120 children aged 3 to 12. Donations of English books, writing materials, and games for children are greatly appreciated.

This day was physically demanding for us, covering marathon distance.

We crossed – with the bikes on our back – a river flowing into the lake where we observed a boat departing for Congo.

Besides this, we passed waterfalls, a coffee washing station, and various community activities like beekeeping and banana beer making. We didn’t do these activities during this trip because there was not enough time, but it is, of course, possible to do them.

We ended in Cyimbiri, which is a school that also provides accommodation. We were just on time for a beautiful sunset over the lake 😊!

Day 3: Cyimbiri – Gisenyi

  • Distance covered: 26.84 km
  • Moving time: 3h
  • Elevation gain: 672m

The final day, while less intense than the previous, required us to cover around 25 km to reach Gisenyi. Passing Rwandese women carrying bananas, we marveled at views of the active volcano ‘Goma’ across the border in Congo.

Conclusion:

Our 3-day mountain biking adventure on the Congo-Nile Trail was a challenging yet rewarding experience, filled with breathtaking landscapes, cultural interactions, and memorable encounters. Personally, I prefer to hike it, as it gives you more time to look around but this is a personal preference. It is, anyway, a wonderful journey that I can highly recommend!

If you are interested in doing the Congo-Nile trail bike bike, don’t hesitate to contact us: info@responsibletravelafrica.com

Categories: Blog posts

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