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Tour d'Afrique

PART OF THE

The Experience

Due to unrest in Ethiopia, the 2017 Tour d’Afrique will avoid Ethiopia and instead travel through Uganda and Rwanda. The new route is described below. It is our intention that the 2018 edition will return to cycling through Ethiopia.

Our original trans-continental journey and flagship expedition crossing Africa from north to south, covering almost 12,000 km in four months.

This will be the 15th edition of the Tour d’Afrique and to celebrate we are including some incredible events in this year’s entry fee.

*Nile Headwates Tour Jinja
*3 day classic Serengeti safari in Tanzania
*Chobe River cruise in Botswana
*Sossusvlei Sand Dunes at sunrise in Namibia
*Exclusive commemorative jersey in Cape Town

Traveling through 11 countries in all, you will cycle along the Nile past ancient temples, through the Sudanese desert, thru Uganda and Rwanda, you will pedal past legendary Mount Kilimanjaro, to Lake Malawi, Victoria Falls, and along the edges of the magnificent Kalahari and Namib deserts, en route to the finish of your epic journey in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.

The trans-African crossing from Cairo to Cape Town has been one of the world’s epic journeys ever since Cecil Rhodes’ 19th century dream of connecting South Africa and Egypt by rail.. Since then, the route has become an iconic goal for global adventurers. Over the years individuals have attempted to complete the route using every kind of transport imaginable, with many forced to abandon their quest due to physical challenges and geopolitical complications. In 2003, the inaugural Tour d’Afrique succeeded in cycling the entire 12,000 km distance and in the process established the Guinness World Record for the fastest human powered crossing of Africa.

Starting at the Pyramids, under the watchful eyes of the immortal Sphinx, the cyclists will head south along the Red Sea and the Nile River in Egypt, visiting the famous sites of Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel, before entering Sudan via a new land crossing. After enjoying the desert climes and warm hospitality of the Sudanese people, the tour with re-commence in Nairobi with the new route through Uganda, and Rwanda then arriving to Arusha after a Serengeti safari for a rest day in the safari capital of Arusha. The tour then descends into less known Malawi, the “Warm Heart of Africa,” where the riders will savor the shore and surf of Lake Malawi and ride alongside some of that nation’s many cycling farmers. After crossing Zambia from east to west we arrive at the Zambezi river and wow at world famous Victoria Falls.

The final month of our trans-Africa expedition begins in pancake flat Botswana where you are bound to encounter elephants along the road. From there the tour spins into Namibia, one of Africa’s hidden gems, and across its harsh but stunning desert landscapes. After crossing the Senqu (Orange) river the tour enters its 10th and final country, South Africa, a land of beauty, contrast and rich history. As the tour comes to an end at Cape Town’s picturesque South Atlantic ocean harbour, in the shadow of majestic Table Mountain, we’ll look back at our amazing journey and celebrate it’s completion with lifelong friends.

The Experience

The Tour d’Afrique starts on the outskirts of Cairo at the legendary Pyramids of Giza, one of the original 7 Wonders of The World. After the opening ceremony with the enigmatic Sphinx looking on, your intrepid journey begins with a spin across Cairo, the largest city in Africa before heading into the Eastern desert.

Turning south at the Red Sea you follow the coastal highway to Safaga, before climbing inland to meet the Nile River at Qena. In Luxor, the opportunity to explore several of the most magnificent archeological sites in the world should not be missed, including the Temple of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, and the Valley of the Queens. From there, the route continues south along the banks of the mother Nile towards Aswan and Nubian Egypt.

South of Aswan you’ll cycle along the fringes of the Sahara en route to Abu Simbel, home to the famed Nubian monuments built by Ramses II. After a quick ferry ride across Lake Nasser, you enter Sudan along a new road and recently opened border crossing.

Sudan is one of the world’s most remote and least visited countries. Do not presume what you read in the western press is true for once there you will discover that the Sudanese are among the world’s friendliest people.

For many riders this is where the “real” Africa begins. With the Nile River as companion, you will spin past minarets and through palm grove villages that have hardly changed in hundreds of years. “Progress” however has come as the sandy tracks that the tour used to traverse the Nubian Desert on have been replaced by smooth Chinese funded tarmac. This section ends with a convoy ride into the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, which sits at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers. After the heat and dust of the desert, Khartoum seems to be part oasis and part mirage.

The “Pharaoh’s Delight” is for those who want to feel the desert wind on their face and experience the romance of biking along one of the great rivers of the world, through the lands of the Pharaohs and the Nubian Kingdom of Cush. At times you will feel like you are one of the first travelers to come upon these forgotten lands. And on a bicycle, that’s pretty much the truth.

The Experience

Due to unrest in Ethiopia, the 2017 Tour d’Afrique will avoid Ethiopia and instead travel through Uganda and Rwanda. The new route is described below. It is our intention that the 2018 edition will return to cycling through Ethiopia.

Heading south from Khartoum, the tour passes through the Gezira region – the “bread basket” of Sudan. After the town of Sennar, the terrain becomes more difficult and you will be riding on rough “off-roads” through traditional and remote villages. As the tour approaches Ethiopia border region the countryside gradually transforms from the Arabic Muslim world of northern Africa to the more tribal and traditional nature of the Horn of Africa.

From the border we return by bus to Khartoum and make our way to Nairobi for the start of the Jewel of Africa section.

The Experience

Due to unrest in Ethiopia, the 2017 Tour d’Afrique will avoid Ethiopia and instead travel through Uganda and Rwanda. The new route is described below. It is our intention that the 2018 edition will return to cycling through Ethiopia.

After a few days rest in bustling Nairobi the cyclists head north west to Lake Naivasha, a fresh water lake situated at an elevation of over 1800 meters with 400 species of birds, plenty of hippos and other wildlife to observe before sleep time. From Lake Naivasha we head to the spectacular sight of thousands and thousands of flamingos on Lake Nakuru – one of the classic photographic sites of Africa. One can also explore 188 km of protected sanctuary around the lake with its Rothschild’s giraffes and black rhinos. And if you had enough of wildlife there is a Neolithic Museum of discoveries in the area, made by no other than the well-known Leakey couple.

From there our ride stretches around the Mau Forest Reserve, at times touching the largest indigenous montane (cloud) forest in East Africa, until we get our first look at Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. We overnight at Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, and travel onwards to the border of Uganda, known to many as the Jewel of Africa. A day’s ride will bring us to our first rest day of this section in Jinja, the historic site of the source of White Nile River and the adrenaline capital of East Africa.

After the cyclists have had the opportunity for bungee jumping, white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding or simply enjoying the wonderful and crumbling colonial architecture, we will ride on some dirt roads and through friendly villages along the shore of Lake Victoria, until we rendezvous with some local fishermen. The fishermen will take us on their boats to avoid the nightmare traffic of Kampala – an entry to the capital of Uganda like no other.

The next day, to avoid the chaotic jam of Kampala, we take a bus for a boat trip on Lake Victoria to one of the Ssese Islands for an unforgettable sunset. In a couple of days of cycling from Lake Victoria we arrive at Lake Maburo National park at what some call “compact gem of a National Park” known for its abundant wildlife.

A couple of more days riding south-east and we are arriving at Lake Bunyoni a ‘wonderful stop over to explore before heading to Rwanda and the Mountain Gorillas’. The section ends in Kigali the booming capital city of Rwanda and the site of the Genocide Memorial Centre “a place of remembrance and learning.”Here you can reflect on Rwanda’s tragic past and observe its impressive regeneration.

The Experience

Due to unrest in Ethiopia, the 2017 Tour d’Afrique will avoid Ethiopia and instead travel through Uganda and Rwanda. The new route is described below. It is our intention that the 2018 edition will return to cycling through Ethiopia.

Leaving Kigali the riders will experience firsthand why this small French speaking lusciously green country, where the banana trees are two stories high is called the country of ‘mille collines’ – a country of a thousand hills. It is less than two full days of riding to where we cross the border into Western Tanzania at the potent Rusomo Falls on the Kagera River – part of the most distant headwater of the Nile River.

There is another reason to stop and take a minute on the bridge connecting Rwanda with Tanzania. Not so long ago, during the 1994 Rwandan genocide “thousands of dead bodies flowed underneath the Rusumo Bridge, while a simultaneous stream of refugees crossed over it, fleeing into Tanzania to escape the slaughter” according to Wikipedia.

After crossing into Tanzania we are cycling through semi-continuous non-agricultural land between protected areas of various game reserves. This area is part of the wildlife corridor and it is advisable to keep your eyes open and be alert.

A couple of more days of cycling and we reach the second largest city in Tanzania, Mwanza set on Lake Victoria’s shore, surrounded by hills strewn with enormous boulders. The next day we cycle to Speke Bay named after the explorer who searched for the source of the Nile River. By the time we reach Speke Bay the cyclists will have completed about three quarters encirclement of Lake Victoria.

It is in Speke Bay that we say goodbye to Lake Victoria and begin three days of “expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat” better known as one word – safari – that will take us through the most famous wildlife parks on the planet, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. But the only hunting we will be doing is with our cameras. The section will end in Arusha.

The Experience

Heading south from Arusha, the red-cloaked Masai tribesmen will be your constant companions as you spin along roads with relatively little traffic, keeping an eye out for zebra and giraffe.

At Babati you trade the tarmac for several challenging days of ascents and descents – the Masai Steppe – mostly on rougher gravel and sandy roads, that can be treacherous in places if the rainy season has arrived. However the friendliness of the villagers, the roadside banana stands, and the sheer beauty of this unique and verdant land ensures that come rain or shine, this stretch will be one of the most memorable on tour. Two of highlights will be cycling past Rungwa Game Reserve and 1300 meters to the the ‘World’s End’ viewpoint before speeding down 800m into the town of Mbeya.

Once you set out from Mbeya, you will cycle into Tanzania’s breadbasket near Tukuyu, where undulating verdant hills teem with tea plantations and banana and avocado trees. The scenery is breath taking as you start whizzing down the long descent into the Rift Valley, towards Lake Malawi in the distance.

After crossing into Malawi the tour follows the shoreline past fishing villages to Chitimba Beach, which has been a haven for Africa Overlanders for many years. Malawi is especially well known for its skilled hardwood carvers, and here you’ll find a large crafts market with beautifully made walking sticks, chairs, “trees of life,” and other carvings. Whatever you do – be it swimming, wandering down the beach, socializing in the bar-restaurant, or just reading a book, Chitimba Beach offers a wonderful 2 day respite from the journey.

Leaving Lake Malawi you climb up the escarpment into the central plateau en route to the provincial capital of Mzuzu. Don’t be surprised to find yourself pedaling alongside some of Malawi’s many cycling farmers, as they transport chickens, grain, and just about anything between their villages and the nearest market.

After a night at the sleepy town of Kasungu, you arrive at popular Mabuya Camp in the capital city, Lilongwe, which marks a rest day and the end of this section. Here, riders can visit a nearby shopping centre, surf the net, haggle for handicrafts, or just kick back with a few delicious Carlsberg beers.

Malawi’s altitude moderates what would otherwise be a tropical climate. Riders can expect high humidity along the lake, and temperate days on the plateau, with a few heavy showers, some lighter rainfall, and periods of intense sunshine. By the time the tour reaches Lilongwe in early April the end of the rainy season should be near.

The Experience

This section starts in the Malawian capital of Lilongwe from where it’s a pleasant day’s ride west into Zambia, a country named after the fabled Zambezi River. Presently, Zambia has huge wilderness parks off the beaten track and relatively little tourism. If your ideal trip is one with few tourists, fantastic scenery, friendly people, and lots of cycling, then the “Zone” can’t be beat.

Once in Zambia you will ride across thinly populated countrysides, along the Great East Road, passing villages of huts that bespeak the humble subsistence farming existence of the local people. After crossing the Luangwa River bridge, the tour heads for Lusaka, Zambia’s bustling capital city, where one can explore a nearby mall and the National University, or just kick back poolside.

From Lusaka to Livingstone the roads are flatter and fast, passing through several larger towns with well stocked shops. Those staying on for the next section will enjoy 3 rest days in Livingstone. At our campsite, you can arrange your own Vic Falls outings, from a basic tour with drenching jaw-dropping viewpoints, to the world’s 3rd highest bungee jump off the Zambezi River bridge, helicopter rides, and white water rafting. The people, the adventures, and the natural wonder of Victoria Falls make for an amazing conclusion to and experience in the “Zone.”

The Experience

Victoria Falls marks the beginning of “The Elephant Highway,” perhaps the most popular section of the tour. After a quick spin to Kazungula, you cross the Zambezi River on a very funky ferry and enter the country of Botswana, whose mineral resources and democratic government have made it one of Africa’s biggest success stories. At our 1st campsite in Kasane, the Chobe River boat cruise – where you slowly coast up and down stream past herds of elephant, crocodiles, hippos and lots of other wildlife – is a must-do and included in your entry fee for this special 15th anniversary edition on the tour.

The next week features the longest and flattest cycling days on the tour including six centuries (100 miles) in seven days of riding. This is a pure pavement riding section, and a true test of endurance. Fortunately, you will also be riding through one of the most impressive wildlife habitats on the planet. Botswana is home to some 110,000 elephants that roam through the Kalahari and Chobe National Parks. Don’t be surprised if you have to stop on a highway to allow a family of elephants or a solitary male Bull Elephant to cross at a safe distance!

After camping near the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve you arrive at northern Botswana’s largest town, Maun, for a rest day when you can opt for a dugout canoe ride or a small plane ride into the Okavango, the world’s largest inland river delta. The cycling then continues along the Trans-Kalahari Highway, including “the Longest day” at 208 km, towards the border of Namibia, a country whose stunning arid landscapes are one of the world’s best kept secrets.

This section ends in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, a modern, cosmopolitan city that lies in the middle of the country. Here riders can enjoy fabulous beer, great restaurants, a blend of southern African and German cultures, and some amazing shopping.

The Experience

Starting from Windhoek, you will cycle southwest on dirt and sand roads, across the central Namibia plateau and then down into the Namib desert. The highlight of this section is bound to be the dawn visit to the world’s highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei, near Sesriem. As a special feature of this 15th anniversary Tour d’Afrique, the dune visit at sunrise will be included and organized for you.

Departing the dunes, our route turns south and traverses harshly beautiful and thinly populated lands, en route to the Fish River Canyon, another of Namibia’s natural wonders. From there it’s a long day’s pedal to the scenic Senqu (Orange) River and the final border crossing into South Africa. The excitement builds everyday, as full tour and sectional riders share in the emotional conclusion of this incredible journey.

Late April in Namibia is equivalent to late October in the Northern Hemisphere. Riders can expect perfect sunny days in the low to mid 20ºs C, and cool cloudless nights ranging from 7 to 12ºC.

Few countries can match South Africa’s natural beauty and wealth. After spinning along on the main road from the border of Namibia for a couple of days, the Tour heads into South Africa’s rugged wilderness – the beautiful and arid Namaqualand on quiet dirt roads – pure joy for off-roaders and a final ” hardship” for roadies. From the Cedarberg range you’ll ride into the Western Cape and head towards the Atlantic Ocean bound for our final destination in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town where joy and celebration will unfold in the shadow of iconic Table Mountain. Won’t you join us?!

2017 Tour d'Afrique
Register Now
US$3,550
Cairo
Khartoum
January 13
February 2
N/A
Khartoum
Matema
February 4
February 10
US$2,450
Nairobi
Kigali
February 18
March 3
US$1,650
Kigali
Arusha
March 6
March 14
US$2,800
Arusha
Lilongwe
March 16
March 31
US$1,525
Lilongwe
Victoria Falls
April 2
April 10
US$1,900
Victoria Falls
Windhoek
April 14
April 24
US$2,900
Windhoek
Cape Town
April 27
May 13
US$16,900
Cairo
Cape Town
January 13
May 13

A registration fee of US$150 must first be paid to hold your place on the tour. This fee is in addition to the entry fee listed above. Full tour entry fees will receive an early payment discount of US$700 if full payment is received 6 months before the start of the tour. Those coming for multiple sections get 10% off for 2 or more sections on the same tour (multiple section discount does not apply to full tour price). TDA alumni get special alumni discounts. Please contact our office for further details.