The 2017 15th edition of the transcontinental cycling flagship expedition, Tour d’Afrique will pass through Rwanda for the first time since the inaugural race in 2003, according to the organizers.
The race will cross the African continent starting from Cairo Egypt to South Africa covering almost 12,000 km in four months, from January 13 to May 19.
The expedition will cover 11 countries in all, starting with Cairo, along the Nile past ancient temples, through Sudanese desert, through Uganda-Jinja and Rwanda.
TDA Global Cycling public relations officer, Shanny Hill told Times Sport that the riders will arrive in Kigali from Uganda on March 3. While in Rwanda they will have 2 days of visiting tourism sites including to gorilla trekking before they cycle to Tanzania on March 6.
“Well there is growing interest in tourism and cycling from western countries - many people have heard of Team Rwanda Cycling and are amazed by their success,” said Shanny.
He added, “Rwanda is also gaining a reputation as a safe country and scenically beautiful place. We thought it was time to try something new because we had to cancel the section of our tour through Ethiopia due to the protests and the state of emergency that resulted in September and October.”
In Tanzania, the riders will then pedal past legendary Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to Lake Malawi, Victoria falls, and along the edges of the magnificent Kalahari and Namibia deserts, en-route to the epic finish journey in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.
According to TDA, the trans-African crossing from Cairo to Cape Town is expected to be one of the world’s epic journeys.
During the inaugural Tour d’Afrique in 2003, the riders succeeded in cycling the entire 12,000km distance and entered the Guinness book of records for the fastest human powered cycling crossing of Africa.
Due to lack of interest in the race over the last several years, this year the organizers will no longer be recording official race times and standings, starting with the 2018 tour.
Thirteen of last year’s 24 sectional participants, and 6 staff members, altogether representing 9 different countries, celebrated the completion of their incredible journey last year.
Last year finishers:
1. Douwe Cunningham 270:03:38 (Scotland)
2. Rupert Dixon 295:57:33 (UK)
3. Jason Metcalfe 324:04:38 (UK)
1. Katja Steenkamp 225:52:41(SA)
2. Emma Houterman 235:46:56 (Holland)
3. Jean Brown 344:39:24 (US)