This is a 2-day cycling trip from Kampala, to the Entebbe ferry port (50km) and a boat trip to the Ssese Islands with a sleep over. The next day a ride across the big island to another ferry port (35KM), a hop back to the mainland and then a final ride to Lake Nabugabo (27km).
The ride was with minimal gear, so notionally ‘bike packing’ rather than back packing. Note that I didn’t pack a tent and all the other stuff that usually accompanies me on my backpacking and trekking trips, since this is Uganda and lodges/resorts with camping options abound. We opted for a provided tent (with mattress, sheets, blanket, breakfast, etc.) and local cooking along the way.
But this post also includes the world famous Lake Nabugabo Triathlon & Duathlon races. Read on for details.
I provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to additional details, photos and videos. This is a self-guided adventure on a shoestring. Follow the Maps & Facts link to dig deeper into the adventure.
After reaching Lake Nabugabo I pitched my tent, went swimming and got ready for day 3 (not officially part of the 2-day Bike Packing cycling trip).
On day 3, I did very little cycling. The venue was the Lake Nabugabo Marathon, Duathlon and other events at the Lake Nabugabo Holiday Center. So lots of people (including heaps of kids), a beautiful lake, a scorching sunny day, cold drinks and I was in my element. I relaxed and filmed the event. So for me it was a day of relaxing, socializing and munching.
Total Cost of the Bike Packing Trip
The activity around $20 spent over two days. See Maps & Facts for details.
Click to watch Video
The Ride from Kampala to Entebbe port was a mix of paved roads and red dirt. We could have done more dirt but we mixed up the options to make the ride both leisurely and interesting.
Back Packing Day 1 Photos
The car ferry was relaxing and include lots of food & drink options. 3.5 hours later we reached the Ssese Island Kalangala port. Next the port there are a number of lodges. We rode over to the Pearl Gardens Beach Resort for the provided tent on the beach.
Once our gear was stowed in out tents we set off on foot for the long uphill hike to the town of Kalangala (on the ridge line). Note that there is a short-cut foot trail on the right side of the dirt road that cuts the long winding road.
In the village I visited the Standic Bank ATM and then the Desire’s Bar & Restaurant on the next corner (excellent local meals at local prices).
Then the long downhill slog in the dark to our tents and the music and noise from the local Rotary Club event next to the camp grounds. Welcome to Uganda.
Bike Packing Day 2
Early the next morning we were woken by thunder, lightning and heavy rains. Fortunately by 7am it had blown itself out and the morning remained cool and the dust on the dirt roads was tamed.
We ate the Pearl Resort provided breakfast and set of in high spirits for the high ridge line that we would follow for most of the day.
Our goal was to reach the Lutboka Bay ferry (south side of island) by 2pm. The ferry runs every hour and is free.
Once across and back on the mainland we ate local and then enjoyed the newly paved road west for 20 km before turning off (south) for the final dirt track to Lake Nabugabo.
Day 3 Lake Nabugabo Triathlon & Duathlon
As discussed above, the third day was all about, I spent the day cycling about the area filming and enjoying the locals.
Note that these events are locally organized and all proceeds go to support SAINT, a small, local CBO in Kampala. SAINT is the abbreviation of Sexual Abuse Is Not Tolerated. SAINT provides training in self-defence for extremely vulnerable girls in slums in Kampala. In case of sexual abuse, SAINT follows up with reporting and counseling. For every 40 USD SAINT can train 20 girls after school hours for one full week.
More details on Maps & Facts
Visit the GPS tracks page for a list of GPS tracks that you can download (zipped) for use on your phone. Visit my adventure mobile apps (which include limited mapping and GPS features) or the Android Lotus app for more robust real-time GPS navigation.
Visit Travel Escapes from Uganda Summary post.
Watch other videos.
Watch combined long-play 3 minute videos.