Day 160: Rwanda! Nyakahura to Rusumu

Date: 23.03.17
Blog entry date: 23.03.17
Distance: 66km
Odometer: 8 356km
Avg speed: 15.1km/hr
Time on bike: 4h23min
Problems: Tear in back-rim
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at a local “lodge”. After seeing the small dark stuffy rooms that reminds of a bad movie, we got permission to pitch the tent in the beautiful garden.

We started early, prepared for the prequal to Rwanda-hills proper. There was indeed a lot of climbing, but subsequent to the route around Mt Kenya we have a different perspective of hill-cycling. Today was tough, but very manageable.

The route was really stunning. A lot of natural scenery, very green and of course hilly. A rain shower also added a fresh feeling to it all. Just before border control we crossed the Kagera river. Here the Ruvuvu flows into the Kagera and an impressive waterfall, Rusumu, is a beautiful sight.

The road surface from Runzewe to the border (past 2 days) is in a bad condition. We expect this to improve in Rwanda.

Rwanda! The land of a 1000 hills. We arrived in our last country unceremonially. The final border crossing and for us an incredible milestone.

At some point we were worried we might have an issue with the East Africa visa (Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda) but this worry proved unfounded, all went smoothly. We were however stopped by a guard with AK47 at the perimeter of border control. He wanted to see our passports and contents of our bags. We briefly opened them and he instructed Eva to discard a plastic bag, it is not allowed in Rwanda (they only use paper bags). I believe this is consistent with Rwanda’s “clean” image for which they have become famous.

Rwanda introduces various practical changes. Right-hand side traffic, time shifts back an hour (again same as SA), currency Rwandan Franc and the local language is Kinyarwanda (French & English are also official and most people still understand Swahili). I was hoping we would cease to be called “mzungus”, but this remains the same 😁.

After today we have one last goal, to reach Kigali, our final destination. If all goes well we hope to arrive on Monday the 27th. I cannot believe I just wrote that 😁.

With tomorrow our 1st full day in Rwanda we look forward to explore the 1000 hills.

Thanks for following and especially the donations received for Josiah Trust! Our target is R50000 and we are now at R39096.

Willem & Eva

Scene along route. Today was some of the most beautiful scenery of our tour.

Not always easy to capture these scenes on a cell phone camera. The early morning light helped to create great scenery.

Nice perspective of part of the route.

The road we came on is visible just underneath the horizon.

Almost on top of another long climb.

Looking down into the valley towards Rwanda.

Approaching the border down at the Kagera river.

Rusumu falls.

Beautiful camp site for the night. If only they had proper ablutions.


Day 159: Runzewe to Nyakahura

Date: 22.03.17
Blog entry date: 22.03.17
Distance: 99km
Odometer: 8 290km
Avg speed: 19.3km/hr
Time on bike: 5h07min
Problems: Tear in back-rim
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at the “Unique Lodge”. Cold bucket shower and toilet, shared with the other rooms, yes quite unique 😁. Honestly I really enjoyed the cold water, very refreshing after a dusty day.

Sleeping in Nyakahuru, we also passed Nyanatakora, Nyakanazi and tomorrow will pass Nyakasanza. Wow, be careful asking directions to get the name right 😂. We also notice that names are sometimes spelled with “r” and “l” interchanged.

We cycled on about 20km brand new road today, but the rest was in bad condition. They resurfaced some parts in gravel to fill up the potholes. When a truck or bus pass us we get completely covered in dust 😁.

After 50km we stopped at Nyakanazi and enjoyed chapati and tea at a local restaurant. We enjoyed this very much!

The scenery was beautiful with green forest hills. Hills make the cycling harder, but the scenery is usually very impressive, so it’s worth the effort.

There were a few short showers late afternoon, but we were already at our accommodation.

We plan to reach the Rwandan border tomorrow, so this should be our last night in Tanzania. It feels unreal to think we are finally so close to Rwanda. The plan is to finish in Kigali, another 170km from the border. Strange to think the end is quite near.

Thanks for following and all the support!

Willem & Eva

The road today.

Chapati and tea, our new favourite. 👍

Dont miss this if you ever get to Nyakahura 😁.

Road in front of the guest house.

Day 158: Bwanga to Runzewe

Date: 21.03.17
Blog entry date: 21.03.17
Distance: 51km
Odometer: 8 191km
Avg speed: 16.7km/hr
Time on bike: 3h02min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at a Catholic convent. A sister of German descent was very friendly and helped us, obtaining permission from all the relevant persons. They have a beautiful property and as I write this we are enjoying uplifting songs from their choir practice. Very grateful!

Today was the last planned gravel road of our tour. We expected 45km gravel, based on our map (2016 ed.) and information gleaned from locals, but Africa is full of surprises. Today was a good one. Half of the road has been tarred and for another 10km we could cycle on the newly prepared very smooth road. This left us with only about 13km bad gravel, having expected 45km’s. My back-rim also came through without additional damage. I’m now carefully optimistic it will last until Kigali.

For part of the route we continue to see beautiful lush green vegetation. Most of the road was also quiet and made for pleasant cycling conditions.

We expect the hills to start again from tomorrow, all the way into Rwanda.

Thanks for following and continued support, especially donations received for Josiah Trust!

Willem & Eva

For about half the day we cycled on a beautiful newly tarred road.

Dense vegetation along route.

Then some gravel.

A scene along route. I love all the green.

We took a break shortly before Runzewe.

Our camp site at the convent.

Day 157: Geita to Bwanga

Date: 20.03.17
Blog entry date: 20.03.17
Distance: 66km
Odometer: 8 140km
Avg speed: 19.1km/hr
Time on bike: 3h27min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at a local guest house. No running water. Cold bucket shower, but they have satelite TV, crazy! 😂

Today we cycled past beautiful forest. We are also starting to see more green hills, a promise of what is to come.

Yesterday I noticed a tear in the side-wall of my back-rim. This is the 2nd-hand one I got in Arusha after the original started showing cracks. Bad news! After some consideration I decided to try and complete the last km’s of the tour as is. I deflated the wheel to about 3 bar and avoid using the back-brake unless in an emergency. Also moved some weight away from the back. This will require more carefull cycling avoiding obstacles. After today the rim still looks ok. Hope it lasts!

Thanks for all the support! We are extremely grateful for new donations received for the Josiah Trust. Whenever we see a message to inform of this, it really makes our day. Thanks so much!

Willem & Eva

We saw these cattle with massive horns along route. They remind of Nguni cattle but I’m not sure if it is the same species.

While trying to get the pictures, Eva took this, giving a nice perspective of the scene.

Beautiful indigenous forest along route.

Eva pondering the road ahead.

Look carefully and you will see a hut behind the vegetation.

Beautiful tree along route.

Tear in back-rim under valve I hope it lasts the rest of the tour.

Day 156: Sengerema to Geita

Date: 19.03.17
Blog entry date: 19.03.17
Distance: 61km
Odometer: 8 074km
Avg speed: 21.9km/hr
Time on bike: 2h46min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at a local hotel.

A relative short and eay day. Scenery remains green the road good. Only issue is around most settlements the tar surface is scattered with “rumble strips” as a means of traffic calming. The catch is that trucks and cars do not slow down, but the poor bicycles shake like mad when crossing them.

In Geita a friendly local saw us while looking for accommodation. He approached and was very helpful, taking us to the market for fresh produce and assisted to find accommodation. There is a gold mine close to Geita and it is the regional capital, so we managed to find a relative decent place with hot water.

Thanks for following.
Willem & Eva

Day 155: Mwanza to Sengerema

Date: 18.03.17
Blog entry date: 18.03.17
Distance: 85km
Odometer: 8 013km
Avg speed: 16.8km/hr
Time on bike: 5h03min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at a local guest house.

We are excited to be on the road again and look forward to complete the last phase or our journey.

Leaving Mwanza the first 15km was chaotic. It was very busy, as expected. Fortunately this changed quickly once we diverted from the main road that connects Mwanza to the interior. Suddenly it was quiet and good cycling conditions prevailed through the rest of the day.

About half-way we reached Mwanza Gulf where we had to do a 20min ferry crossing. We did not have to wait long and everything was done in a very efficient manner. 

We were both wondering when last we were on a ferry and agreed it must have been Saxony-Switzerland on the Elbe, good memories 😁👍.

Once back on land it was not long before Sengerema. As we entered town we reached one of our last major milestones, 8000km’s!! This is the last full 1000km’s of our tour and we are very excited and grateful! Sometimes we still cannot believe where we are. Those 2 bicycles used to carry us around the Cape roads. Feels unreal to see them standing here.

Once we enjoyed the moment we had to find accommodation. This proved difficult and we cycled around to and fro. At least it was worth it as we found a clean, quiet place in the end (as I write this, someone just fired up his sub-woofer. Let’s hope for a power cut 😁).

Thanks for following.
Willem & Eva

Once on the Sengerema road the conditions were very good.

At the ferry crossing. It was about a 20min ride.

Eva enjoying the moment.

8000km’s! With the sun in our eyes 😆

Sengerema, our location after 8000km’s since leaving the Cape.

Days 153 & 154: Mwanza

Date: 16.03.17 & 17.03.17
Blog entry date: 17.03.17
Distance: 0km
Odometer: 7 928km
Problems: None

We’ve decided to take another 2 days in Mwanza. 

As a last luxury we are spending more time close to the lake at Ryan’s Bay. We are relaxing and preparing ourselves for the last part of the tour to Rwanda and Kigali. 

We are seeing many mzungu’s at Ryan’s Bay, something strange for us at this stage, but nice to blend in again 👍😂.

We estimate 9 more days of cycling to reach Kigali. With approximately 550km to go this is a conservative estimate but we will take it easy, especially with lots of climbing as we approach the land of a 1000 hills.

Yesterday while relaxing around the restaurant/pool area I imagined I heard some Afrikaans. Listening carefully I heard it again and saw 2 gentleman having a discussion in my mother-tongue.

This was a big surprise here in Mwanza and I had to go and introduce myself. 

Francois and Andre are on a business trip. Involved in the mining industry their jobs require relative frequent travels into different parts of Africa. 

It was great to meet some South-Africans, understanding what it is to travel in these parts. We had interresting discussions about our tour and their jobs. After having a beer together they offered to pay for it 👍😁. 

We plan to be back on the road again tomorrow, to daily chip-away those last kilometers.

Thanks for following, for all the messages and especially support received for Josiah Trust.

Willem & Eva

Mwanza is one of the largest cities in Tanzania. We found a shopping mall with good infrastructure, including this ramp. We cycled right up to the entrance.

View over Lake Victoria from Ryan’s Bay. A comfortable place and real treat. Everything worked and we could even have a hot shower with adequate water pressure 😁. Here we could relax and recuperate before the last stage of our journey.

Was great to meet Andre and Francois who kindly bought me a beer. Almost felt like a “kuier” at home 😁. Eva was relaxing in the room.

Days 151 & 152: Magu to Mwanza

Date: 14.03.17 & 15.03.17
Blog entry date: 15.03.17
Distance: 69km
Odometer: 7 928km
Avg speed: 20.4km/hr
Time on bike: 3h23min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying at the Lahe hotel.

What was supposed to be an easy odd 65km, became a difficult 69. That happens when you let your guard down, thinking tomorrow will be easy. When your mentally not in he right place. We were again reminded that not one single kilometer comes for free. Even those downhills are paid for in uphills.

Mwanza is our last stop at Lake Victoria and a bigger town. We need to attend to some chores and are taking a rest day, maybe more than one before the last days to the Rwandan border. We also want to give ourselves a last treat before Kigali with good accommodation here.

The road was quiet with good cycling conditions until about 15km before Mwanza. The scenery remains about the same, except at Mwanza with many rocky hills around town.

On our next cycling day we expect to reach 8000km’s. The last full 1000km’s and one of our last big milestones of the tour!

Thanks for following and for recent donations received for the Josiah Trust. Our goal is to raise R50000, we are now at R33980.

Willem & Eva

The scene just as we departed from Magu. The Marabou stork was scouring around for food.

Scene of the road. Closer to Mwanza we encountered many rocky hills.

A local cyclist passing us while taking a break in the shade. Eva the photographer 👍😁

View from around Mwanza. The lake in the distance.

Day 150: Serengeti stop-over to Magu

Date: 13.03.17
Blog entry date: 13.03.17
Distance: 74km
Odometer: 7 859km
Avg speed: 23.6km/hr
Time on bike: 3h08min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Staying in a local guest house in town.

5 Months! Wow we cannot believe it. Sometimes it feels like yesterday since our departure, other times it feels like a lifetime ago.

We are encountering many local cyclists. Once we pass them some like to tag along behind us. This is all fine and normally we do not mind it. Today however we had a tail and were going relatively fast on the flat road. Suddenly in front of me was a cyclist who wanted to cross the road. I had to swerve right to avoid him. Eva behind me served left and applied her breaks. Our local tail could not stop fast enough and his front wheel hit Eva’s bicycle. Fortunately Eva kept cool and managed very well to stay on her bike. The local also did not fall, but at some point his foot went off the pedal and he stopped completely. We just continued, Eva was a little shaken, but very proud that she managed to stay on the bike.

Otherwise all went well, but at this lower altitude (around 1200m) it gets very hot after 12:00 and we try and be done by that time. We are still very close to the lake and can see it along route occassionally. Magu is however not on the lake. The environment is still very green and today we saw some rice fields.

Thanks for all the support!
Willem & Eva

Typical road today. The condition deteriorated a little after the Serengeti. We did not always have a shoulder.

Rice fields (I think?)

Refilling our water along route.

Day 149: Musoma to Serengeti stop-over camp

Date: 12.03.17
Blog entry date: 12.03.17
Distance: 91km
Odometer: 7 785km
Avg speed: 21.6km/hr
Time on bike: 4h13min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 3
Max speed of tour : 72.1km/hr (Day 142)
Longest day: 215km (Day 48)

Camping at the Serengeti Stop-Over Lodge. It seems when you include the name Serengeti prices double, $20 for camping for the night. They wanted $26 but we objected and they lowered the price.

The road today continue to have little traffic which is great. It was green with a lot of agricultural land.

There were however many people along route and we continue to attract a lot of attention. If you ever wondered what being a celebrity must feel like, cycle through rural Africa, but be warned, it might overwhelm you 😁.

Our route today skirted past 10km of the western end of the Serengeti. We had some nice views onto a plain with wildebeest.

Thanks for all the support and messages! Especially thanks for recent donations received for the Josiah Trust / Klipheuwel fundraiser!

Willem & Eva

The route today.

Looking into the Serengeti. Somewhere were a few wildebeest. Not sure if you can see them on the picture.

Eva looking out for lion 😁