Rwanda will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I got to know my wife when I lived in Kigali for a couple of years and it’s where I dreamed up the idea for The Slow Cyclist. At weekends I would explore its endless network of red roads on my bike, getting more and more excited about sharing the place with people from back home.
Last year, during November’s short rainy season, photographer Chris Joubert joined a group of Slow Cyclists as they travelled through the Land of a Thousand Hills on electric bikes. He has captured the country beautifully.
Kigali to Kinihari
Our journey begins in bustling Kigali, one of the world’s cleanest cities with tree-lined streets and a variety of museums. The two highlights of our visit are meeting the dedicated staff and pupils at the Kinamba Project, an inspirational organisation offering after-hours education to children and adults in the Kamutwa communities; and a sombre – but utterly vital – couple of hours at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum.
The city is nestled between Mount Kigali and Mount Jali, the latter representing the starting point of our journey northwards on bikes. We reach the tea fields of Kinihira by late afternoon and the views from our guest house are extraordinary.
Approaching the chain of volcanoes that form the border with Uganda and, further east, the Democratic Republic of Congo, we pedal alongside volcanic lakes that are among the deepest in the world. The views are spectacular, not least from our guest house high above Lake Ruhondo.
The final stretch of our journey sees us traversing a chain of volcanoes, bamboo forests and banana plantations. We pause for lunch at the former home of humanitarian Rosamund Carr, set on the fertile lower slopes of Mount Karisimbi. Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is our final destination.