Arrival of South African pilgrims marks the start of Hajj season

October 28, 2008

The first group of pilgrims arrived yesterday at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jiddah for the 2008 Hajj, the Arab News reported today. The Cape Town-to-Jiddah flight via Dubai brought nearly 200 South African pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.


Abdulwahid Saifaddin, chairman of the Establishment of Pilgrims from Non-Arab African Countries, and Mahdi Basadien, South Africa’s consul general in Jiddah, greeted the visitors.

Saifaddin said that his organization will take care of nearly 180,000 non-Arab African pilgrims this year, a marked increase from 2007.

Basadien predicted that 5,000 South Africans will participate in the 2008 Hajj.

The arrival of the first group of pilgrims heralds the start of the 45-day Hajj season.