New tourism offerings make destination Rwanda even more attractive. Rwanda Tourism has now opened up additional cycling routes across the country, none as extensive as the Congo Nile Trail but challenging for cyclists nevertheless in 10 more locations. By Dr Wolfgang Thome



Rwanda after all has the reputation to be the safest country on the African continent and progressively did the tourist numbers rise, tourists coming to traverse the trail or part of it and take in the great landscapes as the trail moves from the lake shores up into the hills and back down to the shores again.
When the Congo Nile Trail, a 224 kilometre long stretch along Lake Kivu between Cyangugu and Gisenyi, was launched in late 2011 did neighbouring countries wonder what that was all about. A trail, to be hiked, biked or boated – or of course traversed by car – of this length, would that bring tourists to Rwanda, given the perception about safety and security in rural Africa? Today, more than 5.000 tourists came to bike and hike this particular trail last year and numbers continue to go up.
Rwanda after all has the reputation to be the safest country on the African continent and progressively did the tourist numbers rise, tourists coming to traverse the trail or part of it and take in the great landscapes as the trail moves from the lake shores up into the hills and back down to the shores again.
Tours into rural Rwanda proved to be a winner and visitors kept coming in ever growing numbers to see more of the country and enjoy a part of Africa not too many tourists had come to see and experience before.
The 2018 Tour D’EAC too has decided to make the Congo Nile Trail part of this year’s cycling tour across the region and participants are in for a pleasant surprise about the sights they will encounter enroute.
Tourists can now enjoy riding on 11 different trails across the country. The trails, which offer a combined distance of 760 km’s and give cyclists a chance to discover Rwanda from a different perspective, are found in every province in the country. The diverse trails cater for all skill levels from beginners to professionals.
To give cyclist a rewarding experience, RDB has ensured the maintenance of the different cycling trails and designed and put up signposts along the routes to guide cyclists. In addition, RDB has trained specialised guides and bicycle mechanics to ensure that that the cycling experience is as problem free as possible. Secure campsites and other accommodation options are found on the cycling trails as described in the articles mentioned above.
Commenting on the launch of mountain biking across the country, the Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board, Belise Kariza said, “Rwanda is the best destination for adventurers seeking memorable, sustainable tourism experiences in Africa. We are happy to unveil mountain biking, our new tourism experience. Visitors can now experience the vibrancy and beauty of our country in a fresh way. Visit Rwanda and discover just why our country is the new cycling mecca of Africa”.
Events such as the Tour du Rwanda, Rwanda Cycling Cup and the Mountain Bike Race are positioning the country on the cyclist map. The Union Cycliste International (UCI) recently announced that Tour du Rwanda would become a 2.2 grade race in 2019; this new classification is expected to attract renowned cyclists to the country.
In order to further the growth of cycling as both a sport and a tourism experience, the Government of Rwanda has announced a 25% tax waiver on the importation of mountain and racing bicycles.