Tour D’ EAC – looking back and looking ahead


(Posted 22nd October 2017)

John Balongo, organizer of the Tour D’ EAC, true to form provided his read recently on the 2017 edition of the cycling event, which did, against many odds, leave Kampala / Uganda to criss cross all the four other East African member states. Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda all played host to a greater or lesser degree to the tour which eventually returned to Kampala, worse for wear undoubtedly but proud of their achievement and rearing to have another go next year.

Said John in a message to this correspondent: ‘On behalf of Campfire Logs Guild and the entire Tour D EAC 2017 Team, I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate the positive influence you have on our lives. We shall forever be grateful for your support.
You really saved motivated and inspired us during a difficult time, when we needed spares, food, water, shelter, medication and words of encouragement, or even someone to listen to us. You don’t even know how much your help meant to us. We are incredibly fortunate to have met someone like you. We couldn’t have done with without you. Thank you so so much. John Balongo For Tour D’ EAC 2017
Yet all I did was to give regular – though admittedly very widely read exposure for the event, which was first brought to my attention during the Pearl of Africa Travel Expo earlier this year.
Narrating some of the team’s challenges, let me share the messages which came in after the tour had crossed into Uganda and attempted to navigate across sections of Bwindi Forest.

When I said Kigali to Ruhengyere trail was the most beautiful on the Tour D’ EAC 2017 trail, I never knew Kisoro to Kabale existed. I must then invite you colleagues to prove me wrong. Am confused and need help‘ before later on adding ‘And now, Rubanda to Kihihi is the most challenging route. Yesterday, we left Kisoro as early as 6:00am, got up and down the hills, enjoyed the well build roads of Kisoro – Kabale, up to about 46km, we had to get off road through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, that’s what its called, but there so many ways you can describe this thick forest, some call it it a rain forest, others called it foggy forest, others said its a tyre buster forest because I’ve seven bikes had punctures, others said its a tiring forest, the coldest forest ever seen, and so many descriptions as everyone felt. We covered 25km in not less than 4 hours. We were supposed to have lunch at Ruhigya and proceed but then because we had to fix some bikes, that ate much of our time. We decided to stay for a night. That was also another nightmare, it rained all night, no lights, very dark, and more worse, all phones ran out of battery, so no communication, and the life started hurting.
Now, thoughts of how we will make it through to Kihihi and the through Queen Elizabeth National Park
[The road from Ishasha to Katunguru is a public road though leading through the park]. But now as true East African patriots and heroes, we have decided to set camp at Kihihi and then so early in the morning move on determined to through the scary forest for Queen Elizabeth to Kasese‘.
And when finally seeing the finishing line, still beyond the horizon, did John share the following messages: ‘Hello good morning, am sure you are enjoying the East African sceneries as we are. We make sure you tour the region on line.
We just couldn’t cross the sweet Kazinga Channel without stopping. Kazinga channel is the meeting place of two water bodies, Lake Edward and Lake George. I wonder it was named the George and Edward, hope we can come together as East Africans and rewrite our own History, name our own natural beauties etc. At Kazinga, we had a chance to interact with the hippos. Enjoyed the sights of elephants, hyenas, buffalos. It was so cool wait for our memory packs with lots of pics and videos
‘ before later adding: ‘We are happy to inform you that Kampala City Council Authority has organized a welcome breakfast for Tour D’ EAC 2017 on Friday 15th. Sept 2017 at the Independence Monument in Kampala – Uganda. The guest of honor is The Right Honorable Jacob Oulanya, Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament. On that note we wish to you all to join in the ride. There two sections, From Muduuma 30km to Kampala or Busega round about 8km. Come with your bike and some water or water can‘.

And then John gave a preview of what is to come in 2018 when he wrote just days ago: ‘The most exciting hit high spot of Tour d EAC 2018 is the hoisting the EAC flag at the highest peak in East Africa. Tour D EAC 2018 seeks to mobilize all East African Citizens, organizations, companies, leaders, and everyone to join in the hoisting of the EAC Flag at the Highest Peak of East Africa. Our intention to hoist the EAC flag at the highest peak in the East African Community is simply to signify the heights at which we want to see the integration turn into a reality. We are very much ware and we know that, It requires, patience, determination, self belief, sacrifice, discipline, motivation to climb a mountain. These are same characters we need if the integration is to be realized. campfire logs guild believe that if the community learns about its history, we can realize this goal
Am sure you wouldn’t want to miss being part of the 3rd East African Bicycle Tour. (Tour d EAC 2018). There is a lot of challenges, too much fun, a lot of adventure. The tour will start in Tanzania with a 7 day hike up the Kilimanjaro Mountain. You must be part of the 1st East Africans to Hoist the EAC flag on the Highest peak in East Africa. Sign up now

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