Local and foreign tourists can now easily wind down by enjoying a ride around the country's hills thanks to cycling tourism scheme launched by Rwanda Cycling Federation (Ferwacy) over the weekend.
The federation unveiled the cycling tourism on Saturday at the Africa Rising Cycling Centre, in Musanze District, with dozens of local and foreign tourists taking part in a cycling exercise that went around the National Volcano Park.
The riders had a glimpse of scenic view of Twin Lakes of Burera and Rohondo among other destinations in the North-West part of the country.
Former Prime Minister and senate president @_MakuzaBernard took part of the reopening day of #MTBTour riding ?? around volcanoes, enjoying the scenic views of the lake Ruhondo. @arccRwanda @AbdallahMurenzi @muvalens#Cycling#Rwanda#StaySafe #StayStrong#StayHealthy pic.twitter.com/VEly7rjZBT
- RWANDA CYCLING FEDERATION (@cyclingrwanda) June 27, 2020
Among the participants at the launch was Bernard Makuza, the former senate president. Others included officials from the national Olympic and sports committee, Ferwacy president Abdallah Murenzi as well as tourists from Belgium, U.K., India and Australia among other nationalities.
Addressing journalists, Ferwacy boss Murenzi underscored that the federation launched cycling tourism in an effort to contribute to the country's development.
"After cycling was among other sectors that were given a green light to resume activities after Covid-19 lockdown, we opted to not waste that opportunity and that's obviously the main reason we came up with an idea to launch cycling tourism," he said.
"The move will enable tourists explore some other charming parts of our country."
Murenzi explained that the federation welcomes whoever needs to experience cycling tourism regardless their backgrounds and experience in cycling
"We are calling upon those who are fond of bicycle to take part in cycling tourism; we welcome those who may need to train themselves, riding professionals and non-professionals and cycling teams that may need to prepare for competitions," he noted.
The federation, Murenzi revealed, is working hand-in-hand with Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to ensure the smooth running and growth of cycling tourism.
He said that a visitor who shows up for the ride with their own bicycle pay Rwf25,000 while those hiring bicycles from the federation add an extra Rwf10,000 per individual.
"As part of the package, we provide tour guides and other equipment for visitors to have the best experience, we also arrange accommodation at our facility (Africa Raising Cycling Centre) for those who may need to stay."
Murenzi also urged local communities to play a big role in cycling tourism by warmly welcoming tourists in their respective villages.
Ruben Habarurema, the manager of Africa Rising Cycling Centre - a Musanze-based training hub for local and international riders, noted that cycling tourism was timely given that previously the centre would receive a number of tourists requesting to ride.
"Now-on whoever needs to ride is welcome at our centre, all is set. We have a summer package that will go through September and a Christmas package that will run from November to December," he said
While taking part in cycling tourism, tourists should trail Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo, Buhanga Eco-Park and some other touristic attractions in the North-West of Rwanda.
Some of the tourists from the first cohort that took part in the cycling tourism welcome the initiative, stressing that they immensely experienced the beauty of Rwanda in a way that they had never done before.
"I had a great experience; we had a professional guide from the Rwanda Cycling Team, he took us out and we started on some easier roads and once he judged our efforts he took us to some smaller roads, we got to pass by the lakes and also the small villages. It was so beautiful," said Stephanie May, an Australian who is currently living in Rwanda.
"I liked the diversity... it is nice to get out to rural of Rwanda and particularly after this coronavirus pandemic. The people of Rwanda in countryside are warm and welcoming, she added.
Valence Nyamucahakomeye, a Rwandan tourist who went for the ride from Kigali, echoed Stephanie's sentiments, stressing that he got to taste the volcano atmosphere - an experience he noted that inspired him to visit the place again in the near future.
Ferwacy provides equipment and observe strict preventive measures to ensure that tourists are safe from Covid-19.
It was a wonderful experience riding ?? around volcanoes with a nice view of the lake Ruhondo. Thank you #ARCC #MUSANZE. @rugwizangogae #Cycling#Rwanda#StaySafe #StayStrong#StayHealthy pic.twitter.com/xuu91bmJlV
- NKURANGA Alphonse (@Nkurangalphonse) June 27, 2020