Nathim Cairncross and Imtiyaz Ahmad Haron of Capetown, South Africa biked into Mecca for the Hajj after a nine month bicycle journey through 12 countries and thousands of kilometers.
The two young men left Capetown last February, pedaling 80 to 100 km each day through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya. At the Ethiopian border, unfortunately, they were denied entry. The pair decided eventually to fly to Turkey and continue their journey from there, bicycling across Turkey, Syria and Jordan before reaching the Saudi border.
The pair pedaled 80 to 100 km each day, taking refuge each night where they could in local mosques or in their tents.
Cairncross, who is studying urban planning, said they decided to bike their pilgrimage for the opportunity to meet and interact with different peoples in different countries. They say the only problems they encountered were purely minor mechanical issues.
Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca which all able-bodied Muslims who can afford the journey are obligated to perform.
- Cape 2 Meca photo gallery.
- Arab News: Two South Africans pedal their way to Haj.
- Al Jazeera: Pedalling to the pilgrimage