Five South African Muslim men aged 24-33 (3 Ulama, 2 Huffaaz) undertook the journey for Hajj by land using public transport this year. It took 23 days. Here is a brief look at how they faired:
Day 1: Left Johannesburg by bus for Gaberone, Botswana.
Day 3: Crossed the Zambezi river into Zambia. Saw the Victoria Falls.
Day 6: Left by train for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Cost: R300.
Day 9: Took a ferry to Zanzibar.
Day 11: 17 hour bus journey from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi, Kenya.
Day 12: Saw Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day 14: After discussion, safest option was to travel to Khartoum, Sudan by air (South Sudan experienced years of war). 3 hour flight.
Day 15: Saw the Two Niles. Booking for ship from Port Suakin to Jeddah needs to be made in Khartoum.
Day 16: Took luxury bus from Khartoum to Port Suakin (1,200 km). Mostly dessert terrain. 200,000 Sudanese used Port Suakin this year to go on Hajj.
Day 17-22: Waiting for bookings on a ship leaving for Jeddah.
Day 23: Reached Jeddah with 3,000 other passengers on a ship. Officials processed passports, then travellers were taken to Madinatul Hujjaj, an area for sea passengers going through immigration.
Day 24: As it was 1st Zul Hijjah, travellers could not go to Madinah but proceeded to Makkah by bus.
Read the whole experience and listen to radio excerpts on the Hajj Backpacker’s blog: