Our new Cycle Tanzania trip has recently seen its first departure, with a group of lucky travellers heading off to pedal through the Rift Valley hoping to see the Big Five. We asked Explore Leader Whitey, who leads the trip, a few questions to help customers make up their minds – it’s one of his favourite trips to lead and he was thrilled to share his wisdom.
About the Explore Leader…
Julius White, best known as Whitey, has been leading tours for Explore for 14 years. He leads our trips in Tanzania, including Kilimanjaro, and was the first Explore Leader to take our Cycle Tanzania trip. In 2014 Whitey won our Explore Leader of the Year Award, having previously worked for the company as a porter and assistant leader on our Kilimanjaro trips.
What are your favourite parts of the Cycle Tanzania trip?
All of the days are wonderful to cycle but my most favourite days are when I am cycling within nature. My favourite rides are on day two, from Olpopongi Village to Tembo Club, and on day four, from Tarangire National Park to Twiga Camp. Here there are lots of wonderful views of landscapes and escarpments, as well as the chance to get very close to the animals. That makes me feel like we are part of the same family!
What is the terrain like for cycling?
All in all the terrain is perfect and it makes for the best cycling experience, although there are some challenges that we will encounter, particularly the hot sun (mostly after lunch!) and bumpy roads. There are some short distances on the cycling paths that are rocky and some parts that are sandy.
What animals are you most likely to see?
Lots! Many different species of animal call Tanzania home, including the Big Five. You’ll see lots of different varieties of bird, zebra, wildebeest, ostrich, giraffe, Thompson gazelle and Grant gazelle – as well as very rare elephants.
Why would you visit Tanzania by bike over a normal safari?
The adventure encountered while cycling in Tanzania is unbeatable by any other means of safari. On the bike I feel more close to the locals and in turn they feel closer to us, we are not just visitors.
What should customers pack for this trip?
Good, comfortable cycling kit including two pairs of cycling shorts and two or more cycling jerseys, so you can wash and rotate them each day. Bring a few t-shirts and warm jumpers to wear around camp, a waterproof coat for the occasional shower and sunglasses and factor 50 sun cream to protect you from the sun. You will be going on game drives so bring some neutral coloured clothes to wear in the bush. Make sure you bring comfortable footwear, including separate shoes specifically for cycling and one or two pairs for camping. You’ll need to bring your own towel, and a head torch would be useful for around camp.
How do local communities benefit from our trip?
All of the supplies we need, like fruits and vegetables, we buy from local communities, so they receive revenues from this. Some of the fees that we are charged for various elements of the tour, such as our visits to Olpopongi Maasai Village, go straight back to the community. This helps projects that are run by the community, such as health care centres, community education and the building of classes in primary school.